42e législature, 2e session

L055B - Thu 7 Apr 2022 / Jeu 7 avr 2022


Report continued from volume A.


Retiring members of provincial Parliament / Députées et députés du Parlement provincial sortants

Continuation of debate on the motion that this House take note of the distinguished service of retiring members.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Mr. Bill Walker: I want to say a quick thank you to the government House leader for this opportunity for all of us to have this today. I also want to just point out that I’m sure it was only a coincidence that he was actually looking at me in the Speaker’s chair when he asked for leniency on the length of the speeches. I am a bit of a project, as my colleague from Perth–Wellington would say, and I’m proud of that.

I want to begin by sharing that I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be the member of provincial Parliament for the great riding of Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound. I pinch myself every single day that little Billy Walker could stand in this august House of democracy.

First and foremost, I want to thank my family—Michaela, Zach and Ben—for their unwavering support and love and the sacrifice of time they made to allow me to do my job to the best of my ability. I think they have become much more in tune with politics over the last 11 years and are truly my most fervent supporters. I don’t really get too excited about all the stuff on social media and all the things that people say, but I’ll tell you, they certainly take a bit of an offence to it at times. And I’ll be truly forever grateful for their support and their dedication to what I was able to do in this House and outside of this House.

To my siblings, my cousins, my nephews, my nieces, my great-nieces and -nephews and many cousins who helped on my campaigns and voted for me—or at least I hope they did—the benefit of having a big family is a cool thing in politics.

To my staff, Sandy and Susan, a.k.a. Crafty Clara; Julie and Lisa—Lisa and Susan were both my schedulers, and they both enjoyed immensely telling me where to go and when to be there. Karen, Chris and Ana Banana—Ana Banana was like my work wife; she taught me everything here. She wrote every single word that I ever spoke in this House—many of which I never turned the page to and just started ad-libbing—so to Ana, thank you for everything. I wouldn’t be here doing what I’m doing without how well you trained me.

To George Goettler of G.G. Goettlers of Dublin, Chad Richards, Manish Sawhney, Michelle Stock and Thomas Staples—who almost killed me as my driver; my chiefs of staff Katie Locke, Aaron Silver and Dominic Roszak, and all staff at every single level in both ministries I was honoured to lead.

To those who I followed in the footsteps of: Eddie Sargent, Murray Elston, Ron Lipsett, Gus Mitges and my most recent predecessor, Bill Murdoch—and our thoughts go out to Bill and his family as he struggles right now with cancer.

To the retired MP who is in attendance, Larry Miller, my no-neck friend—you’ll probably be able to pick him out if you just look up there; to Alex Ruff, the current MP, and my campaign managers Jim McKane and His Honour Justice Clayton J. Conlan, who are both in attendance—my first two campaign managers; and to Rick Byers, who was my third campaign manager and is not able to be here today because he’s out banging on doors, and I am going to do everything I can to make sure he takes my seat here.

To my riding association board members and presidents, Paul Boulter and Rick Byers, and long-time CFO Scott Kocher, their spouses and their families—because every moment that they gave to me was a moment they didn’t spend with their families.

To the riding association and campaign volunteers and members, donors and voters.

To all members of the ministries, public service and those who supported cabinet while I had the privilege of sitting at that table.

To the OLIP interns, including Tori Llewellyn, who was in my office just recently in 2021.

To the pages, who are always a great part of our day, and make me proud just to be here.

To Todd, Trevor and the team at the Clerk’s table and the legislative affairs team—they’ve definitely earned their money, especially when MPP Todd Smith and I were whip and House leader sitting behind them. They referred to us jokingly after a couple hours as Statler and Waldorf. And now, Speaker, they definitely are earning their money every single day that I sit in the chair.

To Jackie Gordon and her security team, and Dennis Clark before her: Thank you for keeping us safe, and for the stellar job at all times, including the occasional time when you would even run for ice for injuries of some of our colleagues.

To broadcast and Hansard for making me look and sound good. Special thanks and an apology to Hansard transcribers and translators for my auctioneer’s pace of speaking and often lack of notes. I have to share one story. I was doing a member’s statement, and Ana, I think, thought she would try to see how many words a person truly could get in in five minutes. It was technical—you can’t really ad-lib that stuff. I’m looking down, and I look up and there was a sign-language interpreter over here. Well, they were just doing the funky chicken. All I could think of was them and the poor people at home who were trying to pay attention. I could not cut a word out. I went to the Speaker, and I said, “Speaker, you’ve got to give a guy like me a heads-up if you’re going to do that.” Hopefully we’ve made an improvement in that area.


To Speakers Dave Levac and Ted Arnott, Gloria and Maggie Head, who is also in the crowd—I look forward to your books—and to Monica and Rachel who serve now.

To the cafeteria and catering, and especially the staff in the In Camera dining lounge.

To the cleaners and maintenance crew.

To all members of each ministry and all members of the public service, no matter where or when you’ve served.

To the stakeholders, lobby groups, agencies and not-for-profit agencies for all of your engagement and efforts. I commend everyone who gets involved to make their communities better.

To all candidates who put their name on a ballot at all levels of government, and those who help support their campaigns.

To Inge Juneau and Don Jackson and all the team at PCCS services for all of your support, and a special shout-out to John in IT because, as they know, that is not my forte.

To Premier Ford and cabinet for the privilege to be part of the executive council and to sit at your table.

To MPPs and MPs in other provinces and countries and their staff who I have had the privilege to work with—those are great relationships that will transcend the time any of us spend in office.

Special acknowledgement to seasoned MPPs in caucus who took me under their wing: Jim Wilson, Ted Arnott, John O’Toole, Christine Elliott, Norm Miller, Jerry Ouellette, Ernie Hardeman and many others too numerous to mention.

To municipal and First Nations politicians across our great province.

To all leaders of the PC Party, including Tim Hudak, who is here in the audience today—he took the gamble on me; we’ve never really had that conversation, but maybe now we can—Patrick Brown, Vic Fedeli, Jim Wilson and Doug Ford.

I am as humbled and honoured today as I was on the day I was elected, June 6, 2011. I was proud to have made my mom proud when I was elected, and although she passed in 2013, I’m hopeful I made her proud each step of the way on this special journey. It truly has been the experience and challenge of a lifetime, and I will cherish this opportunity and the responsibility of service always.

I want to thank the Premier for the privilege of being in his cabinet and on his team.

I want to thank everyone for the opportunity to be part of that opposition team where we hold the government to account. It is a job, and I took it very seriously—a necessary responsibility and a great learning opportunity.

I was nuclear caucus chair my entire tenure here, and I’m very proud of that. I served as chief government whip, and the two who are here now are doing a fabulous job—much more efficient than me. I was privileged to be Minister of Government and Consumer Services, Associate Minister of Energy and, most recently, Deputy Speaker of the House. Some 1,932 other people have stood in this House as MPPs, and I’m one of 96 presiding officers—thank you, Speaker Hatfield, for that little bit of information.

But why did I come here? Like every one of you, to make a difference. I’m most proud of a few things that I brought down:

—the Markdale hospital was pledged to get built many, many, many times, but I’m proud to say that today it’s rising out of the ground;

—five long-term-care facilities, more beds approved in Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound approved than the previous government built across the province in 15 years, and that is something that will serve as a legacy;

—four schools and three daycares;

—a new $6-million mental health facility and programs—thank you to the Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions for making us a priority;

—significantly increased funding to rural and multi-site hospitals in rural and northern Ontario;

—millions of dollars in infrastructure funding for roads, bridges, water and sewer. You may not see it, but that’s the difference in our communities, and it will make a difference;

—broadband significantly expanding across Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound, with a total of $27 million approved to allow people to be interconnected in our rural community; and

—child care funding that we’ve just signed, and thank you to the Minister of Education for standing your ground and getting the best deal for the people of Ontario, as opposed to the first deal—and it’s not only that; it’s public and private. I met with private owners who were very concerned it wouldn’t happen, so they give you kudos. It was not the first deal, but is the deal that we wanted.

To the Minister of Labour, for all the work you’ve done for our apprenticeships: We are rebuilding Ontario, and we’re going to need every one of those young men and women to be there, so thank you for that.

The nuclear commitment that I’m just so excited about: isotopes and small modular reactors. I can’t say enough of what the future holds for that industry, and I’m one of their biggest champions.

And something I’ve always held near and dear, long before I got into public service, I was part of the grant review team for the Ontario Trillium Foundation—the millions of dollars to support new facilities, upgrades, programs, services and rehabilitate those small little community centres that are truly the fabric of our communities.

People always say, “What’s your legacy going to be?” A couple of things that people have shared with me—one was that I was told just recently by an elderly person in our riding who has followed politics, has been very involved: “You’ve brought more cabinet ministers to visit the riding, the most money and funding the riding has ever received and the first time that the Premier of Ontario ever visited Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound.” For that, I’m very proud.

Something that may not be as much of a legacy, but for me it is, and it’s one of those ones that worked out a little bit differently—it wasn’t planned. It happened in this House. Madam Speaker, I hope you will take note of this: I was asked to leave the chamber once in my career, and that was over the closing of 600 rural schools across Ontario. It just kind of happened and it kept happening, and I just couldn’t turn the tap off, and they asked me to take a little bit of a break for a day. You wouldn’t believe the people who came up and shook my hand and patted my back and said, “You’re doing exactly what I sent you”—


Mr. Bill Walker: It was not you, Madam Speaker—we won’t get into that.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Do you want me to throw you out too?

Mr. Bill Walker: Well, preferably not for a few more minutes.

Most importantly is every single person me and my team were able to help, whether that was with a permit, licences, access to a program, funding or a facility program, any of those things that we did—that was the true reason why all of us are here.

Two highlights out of hundreds and hundreds: One is Brock F. I fought very hard while a member of the opposition to get him a new prosthetic. He was fought by the bureaucracy. They said no and no and no, and it took us almost three years, but we got Brock a new prosthetic in the last year. That has changed his life and allowed him to be a contributing member of society, and, most importantly, for his wife and his son.

I also have one we helped, Robin G.—Ana did the bulk of the work here to get her nephew access to SickKids hospital. They have sent me a couple of notes to say how grateful they are and don’t know if he would be here today. Those are the things that all of us have stories to share, and it’s the reason we truly are here.

One of the things, when I got involved—one of the few things, I think, in politics that we can control are our work ethic, our effort and our commitment. I’m proud to say that every year I attended over 300 events in my riding, and that’s with us here, typically, most weeks, from Sunday to Thursday. So we were moving, and I’ve got a pretty big riding—75,000 clicks on my car a year. It didn’t sit at home very often. Thank goodness it’s not the price of gas that it is today. I attended virtually every reception invitation, whether in this building or at home possible. Some people accused me of attending a stamp-licking.

I’m referred to reverently by some of you not as a project but as Energizer Billy, and I wear that with pride. In Ontario Monitor, which, frankly, I didn’t know existed when I got here—I didn’t, probably, for three or four years. I think it was Bob Bailey, the member for Sarnia–Lambton—I know I have to use the name of the riding, Madam Speaker—who shared with me that I was the top speaker in the House. I think the numbers were 127,862 words, give or take a couple, and they never ever qualified how many were intelligent, and we’ll just leave that alone as well. But why I’m proud of that is that I came to work. If someone said, “Could someone speak?” I stood and said yes, because I figured it was the best way for me to learn, it was the best way for me to represent the people, and it’s really what they sent me here to do: to make sure I was here debating and representing the people of Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound.

I tried my hardest to balance between local and Queen’s Park needs, and it is a tough sled to haul sometimes when you’re in two different places and expected to be in different places. Then when I was given the privilege of adding on a cabinet role and fulfilling those roles—the provincial and the local and the Queen’s Park duties—and not dropping anything, because once you set the bar high to go to those 300 events, nobody really forgives that you miss one out of all of those other ones. So I tried my hardest to do that.

As much as the last two years have been a burden and a challenge and a struggle for all of us, I have to say that sitting at the cabinet table during the pandemic—I’m honoured and proud to have been at that cabinet table with all of my colleagues and the people that supported us at that table. There were huge decisions, challenging decisions, the burden for the safety and well-being of the people—and COVID-19 was a huge burden to bear—but I can be proud to say that each one of us at that table did what we thought was best for the people, and the safety and the well-being of Ontarians who had given us the privilege to serve.


I’m very and most proud, I think, of all the things here—and many of them are sitting around me—of the relationships. And I tried to be a friend, although I might have been raucous at times as an opposition member or even maybe now in the government at times, across the aisle. But that is all in good, respectful, civil debate.

People like John Fraser and his assistant, Grace; David Orazietti; Brad Duguid—and I remember Brad. I chased him for a million bucks for the emergency duties training centre at Georgian College. The president of the college told me this after. She said he went to her and said, “MaryLynn, tell Walker he’s getting the money. I just can’t take it anymore. The guy is like a dog after a bone.” Again, I was respectful. I was very, very consistent. But we got that money.

Reza Moridi: The only thing him and I really share other than being MPPs is a little bit of nuclear. He really is the nuclear physicist; I’m just the nuclear guy.

Jim Bradley, who was really the senator of the House—even though he sat across the aisle, he taught us a lot, and, frankly, he taught us how you could be civil, do debate, be respectful and get things done; sweet Lou Rinaldi and good old sleeping Joe Dickson.

On the NDP benches, God bless Rosario Marchese—God bless.

Madam Speaker, Jennifer French comes up. And thank you for your leniency of my clever heckling at times when I sat in the House.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Order.

Mr. Bill Walker: France Gélinas: We were on tour for health care all the time. We were like the Donkey Kong show walking around the Legislature at times.

And of course, Peter Tabuns, my Political Blind Date, and a special shout-out to his mom, who I think likes me almost as much as him now.

Monsieur Michael Mantha, the other half of the big canoe: It has been an absolute pleasure.

Johnny Vanthof and Uncle Ernie: How could we forget the two of them?

Paul Miller—Paul Miller—and Percy Hatfield and his wife, Gale, and a special shout-out to the Do Good Divas, who I was given the privilege to be able to go down to do some auctioneering and raise money for programs in their community for health care—and that’s what it should be. People in this House can do things outside of here and the partisan stuff and do good work.

I had a huge compliment paid to me just a couple of days ago—it was actually down in the cafeteria—by a member of the NDP the member for Spadina–Fort York. We were down getting lunch, and actually, Johnny from Timiskaming–Cochrane was there, again. He said something just off the cuff. We were standing. He said, “You know, you’ve always got a smile on your face. You’re one of the most positive personalities in here, you and”—he did say Mr. Vanthof. So I wear that as a badge of honour as well.

I gave a few nicknames while I was here: Milo the Mennonite—Lisa MacLeod still doesn’t know whether Randy Pettapiece is truly a Mennonite or not; Flunky Jim McDonell; Yak Attack; Smitty the Big Plug; Mulligan—now, there was a project; Sly, Action—or Missing-in-Action—Jackson, I might have called him; the Duke—I think I’m the only person who actually had the nerve to call him the Duke “the Duke,” knowing how many guns he truly has; LMac; L.T.; Chiclet, my first seatmate—your hair looks like a wonderful bouquet today; GQ One and Two, Mr. Parsa; PMB Bob and, of course, his boy, Montague McNaughton; Percy the Poet; Schnicholls.

I have special fondness for the class of 2011, of course, but that doesn’t mean that I care any less about those of you who have come in after or those of you who might have joined us for a while and left. It’s just too numerous to mention, or it would be a three-hour speech.

And, of course, the independents: Lots of the independents I’ve had fun with. I just haven’t had time to get to know as many of you as well, and I have to act a little more mature now that I sit in the chair occasionally, so I’ve had to clean up my act.

Something that just may be unknown to many people—it’s something pretty practical—the little coasters. For 100 years almost, we let water drip all over these beautiful antique desks. I did that.

A countdown clock in the In Camera dining room—

Mr. Robert Bailey: It’s really handy.

Mr. Bill Walker: It was very handy, Bob. You’re down there and you’re socializing. You’re maybe having a tea and then all of the sudden the bells start to ring and the lights go and you never knew whether you had 30 seconds or 12 minutes. And why would you ever leave a full glass of tea on the counter when you didn’t have to? So I’ve saved the government oodles of money and, actually, the people who pay for it, the people at the receptions who actually pay.

And Madam Speaker, this one is kind of interesting, and a few might remember this or recognize it: I’m not certain—I’ve never really done the homework—but I believe I may be the only person to have a drink named after me in the Legislature. We’ve all enjoyed a couple of Billy Walkers, and if we haven’t, we’ve got a few days left to be able to do that.

To the servers in the reception area: Richard—you know you treat people well when he retires and brings you back a bottle of rum to the Speaker’s Christmas party—and I’ll always remember the smile. Richard was just the most class-act guy in the cafeteria, in In Camera. I’d say, “Richard, what’s the soup today?” “Mr. Walker, chicken with rice—no rice.” I’m like, “Richard, what the heck do you mean, no rice? Why don’t you call it chicken and no-rice soup?” So he and I always had this banter back and forth and had fun.

And I trained a lot of people to drink chocolate milk in the cafeteria. I brought the Milk Marketing Board up in Queen’s Park big time.

Like my colleague from Windsor–Tecumseh, who won an award from the OLIP interns, I too was “best on tour.” I think that was because we liked to have a little fun occasionally if we’re allowed out of here.

Most important are the friendships that I’ve earned, and will continue to try to earn, that will last a lifetime and are truly highlights of my experience. I’m so very, very grateful. I’m indebted for the sacrifice of family and friends, for the opportunity to have served, to have stepped up and tried to make a difference, to be in the heat of the battle and to make a change. I believe being a politician is a noble profession, a calling, a vocation. Some would say it is in your blood, and I am truly grateful to have had the privilege to have served.

It was kind of interesting when I woke up today and found out that we were introducing the Vimy pin. I wore my Vimy tie. I had travelled there not as a parliamentarian, but because of an interest, with one of the class of 2011, Michael D. Harris. We went to the 100th anniversary of Vimy and I bought the tie, and it will help me close off.

I am so very respectful of the institution of government, of democracy, of everyone who serves, and mostly of those veterans who fought, many who paid the ultimate sacrifice, to give us the privilege of free speech and liberty, the right to vote and participate in a free democracy.

I commend those who have served in the past, those who are currently serving and those who will step forward to serve in the future.

Thank you to everyone for the honour, the privilege, the challenge and the experience of a lifetime. Projet de loi.


The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Before we continue on, I will also acknowledge that in the Speaker’s gallery we have Tim Hudak, who served in the 36th Parliament as the member for Niagara South, as the member for Erie–Lincoln in the 37th and 38th Parliaments, and Niagara West–Glanbrook in the 39th, 40th and 41st Parliaments, and of course the former leader of the then official opposition. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Further debate?

Hon. Jane McKenna: I’d like to start by saying how heartbreaking it is to see what’s happening in Ukraine. Women, men and children are standing up to Putin’s tyranny to protect their democracy under attack. Six weeks ago, the people in Ukraine were taking their kids to school, eating out in restaurants, planning for their future—simple things we often take for granted. What’s happening in Ukraine right now shows just how fragile our democracy is and how strong the Ukrainian people are.

In the words of a Holocaust survivor, Tom Lantos, “The veneer of civilization is paper thin. We are its guardians, and we can never rest.”

All of us have a next chapter after the writ drops in 27 days, and while I’m not seeking a third term as the MPP for Burlington, let me be clear: I am not retiring. In fact, quite the opposite: I am going to run for Halton regional chair.

What we learn and experience as children and youth can have a lasting impact throughout our lives. My mother passed when I was 10, and every single morning that I can remember, she used to say, “Go out and make a difference.” At the time, we used to think it was so odd that she would say that, but then, that’s where I got my strength and I used to say it to my children. And amazingly enough, they all say it to my grandchildren and their children.

I remember when I ran, I was 50 years old and I decided to run for ward 1 councillor. Ron Joyce, who used to own Tim Hortons—who has passed—before we turned the TV on, he said, “Jane, you’ve already won, because the difference between and a winner and a loser is that a loser never tries.” So, regardless of the outcome—I was dead last—it was a wonderful experience and I loved every minute of it.


I remember the first time I came here, under the leadership of Tim Hudak. My knees were shaking. I was absolutely petrified. I sat where my good friend Percy Hatfield is sitting, and my first seatmate was Minister McNaughton. I was never so nervous. All I thought to myself was, “My gosh, am I going to be able to do this? Am I going to understand what exactly is expected of me?”

But I want to just reminisce on a few things. Everyone will remember John O’Toole, the MPP for Durham. He sat in here from 9 to 6. He never left his seat, except he would hide a cookie in one of the drawers for fear that somebody would eat one of the cookies and he didn’t have a chance to eat it. He was a wealth of information. I learned so much from him. He honestly would have newspaper after newspaper. It didn’t matter what the topic was, he would get up and talk. He was just a phenomenal person, and I want to thank him for all he gave to me while I was here.

My good friend Frank Klees: When he took his glasses off, you knew that it was go time for Frank.

And I want to also talk about Lady Munro, as we affectionately called her, the late Julia Munro. I was so touched that she was in our lives, and I learned so much from her. She sat beside me. I was proud to introduce the Magna Carta Day Act in her memory, and it was an honour to see the bill passed.

And I still go to YouTube to look at Minister Fedeli’s blank pieces of paper that were so momentous. It was a wonderful opportunity, all the things that we did as opposition.

Of course, Elizabeth Witmer worked tirelessly for her constituents and the people of Ontario at Queen’s Park, and yet she always managed to drive home every day when the House rose and never missed going home every day.

I always say to my kids, “When you work alone, you make progress. When you work together, you make history.” I can say this: The PC caucus as a team, during our time as opposition, certainly made a difference. I’m very proud under the leadership of Tim Hudak to be able to say that.

For those watching at home, after each election, elected members have their name engraved on the granite walls at Queen’s Park forever, which all of us have spoken about today, and it’s an honour. In the 40th Parliament, my name appears below the former Premier, the Honourable Dalton McGuinty, and I always chuckle at this time because I remember the time that I asked him if he could put his big boy pants on and show some leadership.

All of us elected members have had incredible experiences here at Queen’s Park, experiences that have also impacted our families. My oldest daughter, Jennifer, who lives in Windsor, and my two grandchildren, Charlie and Georgia—my grandson came to me and said, “Nana, I’m going to run for the Prime Minister of my class, and I’m going to do it because of all the things that I watch you do.” It’s moments like that touch your heart and soul, and remind you that your work every day isn’t about us. It’s for our kids. It’s for our grandkids and their kids. The work we do and the sacrifices we make as parents is always about looking to the future.

In 2018, I was one of two MPPs to make a comeback. People often ask me how being in government is different from the opposition benches. For me, the difference has just been positive in our system of government.

As parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, I was proud of the work we did to encourage young people to pursue a career in the skilled trades. I had four girls, and my son was the last. I got all my grey hair from him. I think I’ve told this story numerous times: He said to me, “Mom, I can take your money and go to university, but I’m just going to party and do whatever. Or you can jump in the car, get a steeped tea, and we’re going to go up to Georgian College because I want to get into the skilled trades.” I’ve said this numerous times: I was gobsmacked. I had one son. I wanted him to go to university. He was always a free spirit. What the girls did, he always did the complete opposite. Anyway, nevertheless, we drove up. It was the first time in my life that I never had to wake him up in the morning to go to school. He ended up with 90%. Today, he’s 26 years old. I’m proud of all my kids, but he has his own company, Mac Barging, and he’s been extremely successful. I swallowed that because it was my issue and I’m so glad I encouraged him to be the best he could possibly be.

So considering my time as opposition critic for children and youth, it has been very rewarding to serve as Ontario’s Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues. I’m proud of the work we’ve done in many important areas, including the continued rollout of Ontario’s five-year, $307-million anti-human trafficking strategy to combat human trafficking and child sexual exploitation.

Holding our ground with the federal government and negotiating a better child care deal for Ontario families will also go a long way to help women, children and families over the next six years and beyond. I want to acknowledge and thank Minister Lecce for his work, not only on getting a deal with the federal government, but on all the investments in child care that have taken place under your watch.

I also want to thank our finance minister for recognizing the economic barriers faced by women and for working women with the task force on women and the economy.

The people who come in and out of our lives can forever change us. All of us in this place have formed lifelong bonds: friends who have become like family that you can’t imagine life without. Regardless of which side of the House you sit on—so many of us have friendships that go beyond the colour of our election signs.

We’re not supposed to say the names of other members in the House, but I’m hoping the Speaker will indulge me so I can thank a few people by name.

Percy Hatfield, the member for Windsor–Tecumseh: When I lost in 2014, he was the first person to call me. Percy, your friendship has meant the world to me and will always be near and dear to my heart. And thank you for keeping my seat warm over there.

Paul Calandra, our government House leader and the member for Markham–Stouffville: You have been a mentor and a confidant, and I’ve learned so much from you. Thank you for your kindness and friendship over the past four years—this is going to make me cry.

I also want to recognize and thank Premier Ford. Your genuine, honest and compassionate leadership has inspired so many of us. There has never been a Premier in the history of this province who has dealt with the level of unprecedented challenges we have all faced as a result of this pandemic. Your ability to tell it like it is has endeared you has endeared you to so many Ontarians. Premier, I want to thank you for the confidence and trust you’ve placed in me, for the opportunity to serve in your cabinet and for always encouraging members of our PC caucus to represent the views of our constituents within your government.

As I look around this place, there are so many people who have made a difference to my life. And while I cannot mention everyone, the friendships that we’ve developed will last forever. I want to thank my very dear friend Donna Skelly. We had a very good time up at the cottage with Jill Dunlop, Christine Hogarth and Robin Martin, and those memories I will cherish forever. I have known Donna Skelly, we were just saying, probably 24 years now, so it’s been a very long friendship.

I have the privilege of standing here today on the floor of the Ontario Legislature because of my family: my girls, Jennifer, Courtney, Meghan, Taylor—and Carrie, who has turned 50 today; happy birthday, Carrie—and my son, Mac; and my grandkids Charlie, Georgia, Beau, Crue and Finnigan. My daughter Courtney is due in June, and she’s calling her little guy Ford because of the legacy of Doug Ford. Thank you for understanding when duty called and I had to miss some important moments—and believe me, I did. Thank you for showing up to canvass, put out lawn signs and for many other things you’ve also done for me. Thank you for loving me, though, because I love all of you. I get my self-worth looking in your eyes.

Speaker, when you’re 25 or 75, it’s never too late to fall in love, to find the one person you can’t imagine life without. I want to thank my partner Hugh for always being supportive and for wanting to be part of anything I set my sights on, even when his golf buddies were not speaking to him because we closed the golf courses through the pandemic. Though we found each other later in life, our journey together has brought me such joy and happiness.

In February, I told the Premier my decision not to seek a third term. It was the most difficult decision I have ever made, but I knew it was my time for change. I remain committed to getting things done for the people of Burlington and Halton. That’s why I’m running for regional chair in Halton in the fall, this municipal election, October 24. So if you live in my area, make sure you vote. I’ve appreciated the support of the Premier, my colleagues and my friends in our PC caucus and across the aisle, and I’ve been humbled by the support I’ve received throughout Halton region since I’ve announced.

Serving the people of Burlington as MPP, and the people of Ontario in cabinet, has been a tremendous honour and privilege. Getting up every day and having the opportunity to help make my community and our province better has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. I want to thank the people of Burlington for lending me their support and for giving me the opportunity to represent our community in government.


As a mother of four very strong women, the words of wisdom that forever changed my life are, “Go out and make a difference.” And while the runway ahead of me is shorter than what I’ve already travelled, I’m looking forward to what lies ahead, and I’m ready to embrace the next challenge.

I want to thank, first of all, who are watching today, in my constituency: Ken, Peter and Dan. Dan came out to help. He said he was going to stay a week; it’s been two years he’s come part-time. Thank you, Dan. I always say I hope you don’t find another job, because I can’t imagine not having you in my life. And I want to say thanks to my team here: the best chief of staff Alexandra, Jaymee, Fizza and Paulina—and C.B., who has just left.

I bid you all a farewell. Thank you very, very much.


The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Mr. Daryl Kramp: It’s a wonderful afternoon to be here with friends, colleagues and members in the entire Legislature.

As has been mentioned by other colleagues, this really is, in one way, a bit of a bittersweet moment. As Shakespeare said—a lot of you know I like quotations and other sayings. You would all remember this from back in your high school days: “Parting is such sweet sorrow.” Well, sorrow in that, of course, I will miss our daily interactivities, variable they may have been at times, but sweet with the memories of the times that we have shared together. Whether it was in the Legislature here, whether it was during a social moment downstairs at an event or at a reception where we might have even—I’m not sure if it was tea, milk, coffee or a Billy Walker, but it could have been one of those—and of course, in my office, where we know what it was.

I can say without a doubt that the role of serving as an elected member is and has been an absolutely awesome privilege. But after nine elections where I have been proud to serve municipally, federally and provincially, my family and I now believe it is time to move forward to embrace new opportunities. That said, I counsel members in this House on both sides to continue to be kind to me, as I prepare to put my thoughts into print in a book that I am writing. And I have a long memory, so let’s make sure that your thoughts are positive.

But whether it was municipal, federal or now provincial service, I truly believe in our democratic processes. Are there and have we all experienced trials, tribulations and challenges? Of course, but in retrospect, the benefits and accomplishments have done justice to the time-honoured simplicity of a singular question: “Why?”

Why do we, or why have we made this commitment to public service? Well, for me, I believe the simple response would be that it is an incredibly rewarding experience to be able to help people: to assist them, to provide guidance, support, counsel. Whether we were assisting constituents in so many ways, providing, as I mentioned, counsel to our local municipal partners or helping establish and shape the template for a caring, sharing society, it has been an absolute honour to work with so many talented people.

And I can say without exception I’ve worked with a pile of people at the different levels, and this group that I’m working with, both across the aisle and certainly on my side here, are wonderful, wonderful, talented people. You’re a credit to our province and our country, and I thank you.

From my long-ago past when I was a young man—very young—as a police officer with the Ontario Provincial Police, where the motto was “To Serve and Protect,” to my many years of business in the hospitality field where I really learned how important and critical personal care is and attention matters, these experiences helped shape my personal priorities for my 20-years-plus of service in politics at the different levels. As a result, very simply, then, our introduction to every constituent, whether it’s myself or every one of my staff, has always been consistent, because it’s been shaped to legitimately and meaningfully say, “How can we help you?” And really, that’s what we’re here to do, colleagues. We’re here to help our friends, our constituents—even our enemies—and, of course, our province and our country.

As most of you know, it is tremendously satisfying to know that you have made a positive contribution, whether it be to an individual, a group, an organization, a municipality, and, certainly, though, to our province and our country. Surely, that is our raison d’être.

Many years ago, when I was first elected to the House of Commons, a wise old mentor called me and said to me, “You know, Daryl, there’s only been a few thousand people ever elected to there. When you walk through that curtain, you’re one of the very privileged people in the Legislature that have ever done that.” I didn’t think too much about it until I walked through that curtain, because of what he said: “You know, Daryl, you’re about to join one of the most exclusive groups in Canada.” I thought, “Hey, that’s pretty good. Sounds neat.” He said, “It is exclusive in its perks and privileges”—but in a very, very sombre voice, though, he pointed his finger at me and said—“but don’t you ever, ever forget: It is exclusive in its responsibility.” That was truly a very humbling moment for me. That, to me, was sage advice, and formative in my sense of accountability and my actions.

From a personal philosophy—I won’t get into all of them today, because that could be rather challenging—but I believe there is great strength in our diversity of thoughts and opinions. While undoubtedly, we as a party here, as members, feel we offer the best solutions. That is generally why we are in government, because people have agreed with our thought process. But I have recognized and understand that we do not all think alike. But that’s to be expected, colleagues, as we are a diverse collection of people who come from or represent a complete consortia of interests and regions. Sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but I have always believed respectful dialogue is more productive and beneficial than any narrow-minded political rant.

Personally and meaningfully, I want to thank all that I’ve had the privilege of serving for and with. I will not name names here, because if I go through everybody here, it’s going to eat too much into my time. I see so many people that I have the greatest respect for here that have now become friends for life—all of the years we’ve served, my goodness. But as I said, I won’t take names right now, but I can honestly say that I now have a number of new lifelong friends.

I would like to express my personal gratitude to Premier Ford and my colleagues, of course, for all the co-operation since I’ve been here, for their respect and their dedication as well to the people of Ontario.

I’ve been honoured to take on the responsibilities as Chair of the justice committee, Chair of the finance committee, and the operations and liaison role as government caucus chair, and in the most trying of COVID times—thank you, Minister Elliott—as the Chair of the Select Committee on Emergency Management Oversight, dealing with the realities of the COVID challenges that we’ve had.

Also, let me thank the entire legislative staff that we have here and the support teams. Whether its security, whether it’s legislative staff, whether it is housekeeping, whether it’s hospitality, they have all been absolutely competent, caring and very, very professional.

Please know when I look across the aisle in here, whether you are a friend or a political foe, I value our relationship and I value our conversations. That stated, please remember, my door is always open for your thoughts or reflections or, as has been known, even a timely social moment when it is very important that we express our personal thoughts of either satisfaction or delight.

Of course, to borrow a quotation—as we all know, I do like those—from the poet Helen Steiner Rice. She simply said, “Strangers are simply friends that we have not met.” So to all my colleagues here, please, don’t ever be a stranger. Whether it is here in the Legislature, in our offices or, when I’m not here, at our residence on the shores of Moira Lake in Madoc, you’re all welcome.

Throughout this journey, I have been blessed with an incredible and dedicated staff. They have and continue to provide unparalleled service to our community—the same staff I started with, the same staff I end with—wonderful, wonderful people. Without their caring attention, I could not have achieved many of our local successes we’ve had. I’m not going to list all of them, because, once again, our riding and our people have been blessed by the co-operation and service that we have had from our government, from our ministers, from my colleagues, and I thank them for their support. But very simply, then, to my staff, Denise, Bill, Anita, Bob, Kim: Thank you.


Just to bring some familiarity into the situation with some of my staff: Denise, my main gal back in the riding, first worked with me when she was a server in our restaurant business when she was 15 years old. Years later, after raising her family, she returned to work with me during my entire terms serving federally and provincially for over 16 years—loyal, dedicated, hard-working and, I truly believe, maybe one of the best if not the best caseworker in Canada. She does not take no for an answer and gets results for the constituents, and that is absolutely wonderful. That served our purpose of being here.

Bill, who I have up in the chair: Most of you, of course, know Bill from our activities here. Bill volunteered on my first campaign, back in 1997. That was when I first got to know Bill. He has served with me here in Toronto, doing caucus meeting prep and ministerial relations as well as, of course, setting up the situations where I’m—“Minister, I need to talk to you for a second.” As Paul, the House leader, said the other day, “I don’t really want to see Daryl, because I know he’s going to come and bug me about something.” But Minister, please, let me apologize now, but I do believe that’s just my job, my responsibility: to try to deliver results for our riding.

Bill manages the constituency office in Madoc—excuse me, not Madoc, Napanee as well, so he does double duty. And I might add, if you ever go into the office, in his office, he might be listening to only one thing: Bruce Springsteen. He’s the most passionate, diehard Bruce Springsteen fan that I’ve ever known or seen.

Anita, back in my office in Madoc, is a bubbly, bubbly soul, who handles casework in our Madoc office and always works with a most welcoming smile and one who sets a very, very high standard for public service, loyalty and efficiency.

Bob, a retired civil servant that I met later in life when he was a councillor in his retirement in our local village, in Madoc, has become my friend. He offered highly technical counsel on many, many of our complex cases. That is his background, and he’s very, very good at it.

And, of course, I have Kim and her parents, Lloyd and Muriel, and her husband, and her family, who for many years, both federally and provincially, have been my eyes and ears in all matters in the north extremities of the riding. You need that connectivity throughout your riding—mine is huge; I can drive from Toronto to Ottawa faster than I can cross my riding from the northwest to the southeast—so you have to have representation that knows the people and knows what their issues are and what their challenges are and how to deal with those.

It goes without saying that I extend my ultimate love, affection, eternal gratitude to my family. I tend to be a rather strong family person, as you know, and as the parent, father, of three very successful daughters and seven devilishly adorable and accomplished grandkids. My daughters: Dr. Kari Kramp, a research chair; Taryl, with us here today, a senior executive at Sun Life; Shelby, not here, but she’s serving in Ottawa right now, a federal MP, who shares with me the distinction of being the first father-daughter MP and MPP in Canadian history. There have been a few father-son combinations—the MacKays and the Trudeaus and that—but never the father-daughter, and I think it’s so fitting that we have Conservatives fill that position. I’m not only immensely proud of their professionalism and their accomplishments, but, most importantly, the kind of people they’ve become, their genuine consideration, their respect and the kindness that they show to everyone regardless of who they are.

To my wife—and I have to be careful, or I’ll start blubbering. I’m a bit of a big suck, as you know. But to my wife of 51 years—it’s hard to believe. Carol Ann, you are my heart, my soul’s inspiration—my apologies to the Righteous Brothers for that, but, literally, she is the love of my life and the most caring person that I have ever known. I went through some serious challenges, as we all know, but without Carol Ann’s dedication and devotion, my recovery from that major health challenge probably would not have happened, wouldn’t have been possible. But what I would also never forget: Never underestimate the power of a woman, because she’s the only person in life who ever scares me, other than the good Lord up above.

To all the good citizens and supporters in our riding, our communities, our province and in this great country, I think we all collectively thank them for their years of continuous support and guidance. They have not only supported us to be here, but their thoughts and opinions help shape how we act and respond to the challenges and responsibilities of government. Because we are not the people, we represent people, and that is a very important thing.

To my colleagues, of course, who are also retiring—a number of you here today—I’m glad you could all become good friends, which is wonderful. So if you don’t end up down on our dock at some point, making sure that the ice cubes are cold, I’ll be deeply disappointed.

But certainly, we have shared a most challenging period in our province’s history. This COVID reality, literally—whoever would have expected? Nobody. But it has been a real, real, workload for everybody and highly contentious. I congratulate you across this House on your efforts and commitments during the past two years, along with your prior years of service, and I look forward to all of our paths crossing in the future.

To all who continue to serve and will go on serving, I’m tremendously confident in your capacity and capability to be able to provide the results that this province, your riding and our country needs. And as Jane—or we can collectively say, when we take a look at this world and we see the challenges that are out there and we see how fortunate we are, well, democracy is not free. It takes participation. It takes commitment. It takes love and passion for what we do. That is why we’re here. As my old mentor said, recognize the responsibility of that. So, please, let us all take our responsibility seriously. It matters. It matters very, very much.

I wish each and every person retiring and coming back here to do yeoman’s work great success. Health and happiness to each and every one of you. God bless.


The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Miss Christina Maria Mitas: I’m pleased to have the opportunity to address the House today in what I’ll label my departure speech, as I’m not quite retiring yet, like some of the other members.

It’s truly an honour to speak alongside my fellow members who are not seeking re-election. Among us are ministers, long-serving members—titans among us—and those of us who have dipped our toes in the water, great friends and, of course, Ontario’s first female Premier. Speaking of her, I feel no pressure whatsoever going right before you. I’m kidding. I absolutely do, but thank you for paving the road for women to be able to follow in your footsteps.

It has certainly been an honour these last four years, serving as the member of provincial Parliament for Scarborough Centre and doing so as a member of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. There have been highs and lows, there have been great friends and unremarkable adversaries, victories and losses, passionate speeches and withdrawn articulations, boundless joy and profound worry, and the realization of dreams, alongside the complex truths of the Canadian political system.

I can easily say that my time here has enabled me to have a clearer understanding of what it is that countries like Canada—and by this I mean countries with strong democratic institutions and systems—stand for; what countries such as ours mean in a world where democracy and individual freedoms are increasingly at risk—but I digress.


I’d like to tell you a little bit about my journey here, going back to high school. I’ve always been a spirited individual: someone who fights hard for what she believes in and is considered relentless, for better or for worse. I recall a high school debate on free will where our teacher divided our class into two groups: half fighting for the existence of free will, half against. I was, as is to be expected by anyone who knows me, very committed to proving my side. I also happen to firmly believe in free will. By the end of the big debate day, our teacher decided that she wanted to continue the debate the next day, this time with the entire class fighting against free will, and me fighting for free will alone. So I showed up to school the next day wearing pyjamas and two different shoes, my visual indicator that free will does, in fact, exist, and argued passionately that day. A good day for free will, I thought.

A year or so later at my high school convocation, the father of the first young man I dated told me he looked forward to voting for me for mayor one day. His prophecy didn’t completely come true, but he pegged it a little bit. So I just wanted to say thank you to Mr. Maxwell for recognizing my desire to serve from such a young age.

Fast-forwarding to 2018, I vividly remember knocking on doors in my riding, as I would get to two or three doors before having to run to my car to puke. And then I would start the cycle over again, going to doors, running back to my car. Not exactly what I had pictured when I thought about getting elected—the puking part, that is. You see, no one except for my family and my campaign manager knew at the time, but I was pregnant with my first. Not only was I pregnant, but I had terrible morning sickness. So I pushed through, knocking on doors, going to debates, getting to know my great team of volunteers and mentally preparing for what everyone told me would be a very tight race in Scarborough Centre.

On election night, I was incredibly fortunate to be one of the victors and join all of you here, an honour that I have never taken lightly. It has been a true pleasure to serve with so many extraordinary people who love their province and work every day to make it better. To the people of Scarborough Centre, I thank you for choosing me. It has been a true honour.

Here I would like to pause and mention three people who are no longer with us. The first is Colleen Mason, who served as my campaign manager. She passed away during this term at a young age. I hope she is now resting in peace. She’s a woman who lived life to the beat of her own drum. She was a very gifted political animal, the picture of discretion when it came to my pregnancy and was always supportive of me and my dreams. Thank you, Colleen.

The second is my grandfather, John—Yianni—Mitas. He was my biggest fan and cheerleader from the day I was born. I loved him, and continue to love him, more than words will ever express. During the campaign, he told my mom numerous times that he just wanted to live long enough to see me win, and that he was ready to go. She told him he was being ridiculous and he had many more years with us. The night we won, he told her that he had seen all he needed to see, that he knew I was on my path, and that being elected meant the world to him, a Greek man who came here uneducated from his village in Greece with nothing. He died on June 14, a week after we were elected, and no one saw it coming other than him. I was shattered, but a few months later my previous sorrow was eclipsed when the third person, my grandmother Garifalia—Litsa—Mitas passed away to be with my pappou.

In my very Greek household, yiayia and pappou—grandma and grandpa—were essentially parents to me. They played a large role in raising me and providing for me. Losing both of them within months of being elected and while pregnant with my first-born is something that will always stay with me and that further shaped me into the woman I am today: a woman who is fierce in her convictions, will stand for what is right and will always put God and her family first. Thank you, Yiayia and Pappou, for everything. I would not be here today without you and your sacrifices.

Speaking of family, I would be remiss if I did not take the time to speak of my beautiful little family. As all of you know, I have been pregnant not one, but three times, during this term. My team and I tried to look it up and we’re pretty sure I’m the first one to do this, so Guinness Book of World Records, if you’re listening, I may be in touch.

Three babies—Cressida Yianna Litsa, Sebastian Arthur John and our new little guy Barnabas Ioannis Thomas—my three angels, most of the time, arrived in quick succession, three in three years. Cressida is my strong-willed, confident, outgoing first-born. She is already a force to be reckoned with, which is exciting and terrifying, as her mother. I know she will do great things. Sebastian is the sweetest boy in the world and melts the hearts of all of those around him. We have been conjoined at the hip since the day he was born. A quintessential mama’s boy, I wouldn’t have it any other way. My golden-haired boy lights up the world. Barnabas is a carbon copy of his sister Cressida in terms of his appearance, but more relaxed by far. Not yet two months old, he’s already cooing and talking to us, and I’m proud to say he laughed for the first time yesterday. I can’t wait to see the young man he will grow into, but for now, I’m enjoying baby snuggles and the peace he brings to our house.

Here, I want to acknowledge the other moms who brought babies into the world while serving: Andrea Khanjin and Bhutila Karpoche. I salute you both, and I’m proud that we showed other women that family and politics can mix. I hope that more women are inspired to serve because of your examples.

On governing, I am especially proud of our government’s work on scrapping the carbon tax, right-sizing Toronto city council and our contributions to education and child care.

It was an honour to introduce my two PMBs on genetic discrimination and not allowing sex offenders who are convicted to change their names. I hope that someone carries the torch, if everyone’s listening, and ensures that they pass in the next term, as I think they are very important things that we should accomplish in this province.

I also want to give a special thank you to certain colleagues and I’ll name them—Sam Oosterhoff, Prabmeet Sarkaria, Will Bouma, Greg Rickford, Monte McNaughton, Doug Downey and Premier Doug Ford—for their support and friendship during times when I needed it most. Thank you to all of you.

I now look forward to serving my community and those around me, and you, in different ways. Whether I return to elected life will ultimately be up to the voters, so I will say so long but not goodbye. Perspective is important in this place, as I think we often get caught up in the Queen’s Park bubble. I am proud of the perspective that I brought to Queen’s Park. Perhaps another day, when the time is right for my family, I will once again bring my perspective to the political arena.

On this note, Patrick, thank you for your constant love and endless patience with me, and mom, dad and Thalia, thank you for your support and for always taking care of my kids so that I can come to work.

Until I return or until I see you again, goodbye and good luck. It has been a heck of a ride, and thank you, everyone, for serving with me.


The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate? I recognize the member from Don Valley West.


Ms. Kathleen O. Wynne: Thank you so much. You’re going to make me weep before I even start.

Thank you so much. It’s really an honour and a pleasure to be able to address you today. I want to thank the government House leader, Madam Speaker and all of the deputy Speakers. If you could pass this along to Speaker Arnott, thank you for his even hand on the tiller for these past four years. And to all of you, thank you so much.

Tim Hudak is here. I started my morning hearing you giving me a positive shout-out on the radio. That’s not always how I start my morning, so thank you very much, Tim. I really appreciate that.

I do so appreciate the opportunity to address the Legislature, possibly for the last time. Thank you for allowing us this time and the leniency, and for letting us share our emotions and our memories.

I stand today on the traditional territory of many peoples who were here before most of our ancestors arrived, most recently the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples, and I recognize the enduring presence of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. I acknowledge my settler status.

I also acknowledge the painful reality of the war in Ukraine and in so many other parts of the world, and the toll that COVID-19 has taken on people across the globe. We live in fraught times.

I have walked into this building—I was trying to calculate exactly how many times—but it’s hundreds and hundreds of times since my election as the MPP for Don Valley West in the fall of 2003. And every single time, if only for a moment, I am struck by the significance of the responsibility that we elected officials all bear.

So, as I begin to thank the people in my political journey, let me begin with the people of Don Valley West—wise, involved, hard-working people. Thank you for the faith that you have vested in me for 19 years. Thank you so much.

And when I walk into this building, I’m struck by the diligence of all of the people who make this place run, and I want to thank every single one of you. You keep us functioning. You keep us on track. Thank you so much. Right to the hundreds of pages who have passed through this chamber: Thank you, all of you, so much.


I’m also struck by the constant presence of the press gallery, the fourth estate, who watch us, listen to us, and listen to the messiness of the democratic process. Thank you so much.

To two Lieutenant Governors, His Honour David Onley and Her Honour Elizabeth Dowdeswell: Thank you for your calm and for your counsel.

My seat in this chamber has moved around. I actually started right back there, in the Liberal rump in 2003. So I’ve sat in this Legislature as a member of government without a ministerial portfolio, I’ve sat here as a minister and I’ve sat here as the Premier. And for the past nearly four years, I’ve sat as a member of the third party without even that official status. But in each one of those roles, that sense of responsibility to the people who elected me, to the democratic process, and to the common good in Ontario has been the same. I can say that, having sat in all those chairs. It is the same responsibility to get up in the morning and do the right thing.

I know Mary Rowe is in the gallery. She has for years been telling me: “Just don’t cry. Just don’t cry.” I’m doing my best, Mary. I’m doing my best.

Very few people in our history ever have the honour of serving here. So when the heckle rang out to me a couple of years ago from a new member—“Why are you even here?”—while it stung for a moment, as it was intended to do, the answer is very clear, and it’s very simple: I have been sent here for nearly 19 years to represent the interests of the people I serve. I’m here because I believe that there’s dignity in political office, there’s dignity in serving as a politician. And so I say to those candidates who seek to be elected for the first time and who might think that the disclaimer, “I’m not a real politician,” is something that might enhance their image, I ask you to think again. Because denigrating the very office you seek seems to me to be a very short-term strategy, destined to do damage to the office.

As I leave political office now, I’m acutely aware of the legion of characters that have surrounded me, that I have met, that I have admired along the way, and who have helped me enormously. Their voices echo in my head. Some of them are gone.

Sheila Ward was a school trustee and a political warrior who set me on the path to this room in 1992. She started telling me in 1992 that I could be the Premier, and I could not hear that. I could not hear that, but she helped me to get here.

My dad, John Wynne, who knocked on thousands of doors, using his bedside manner with all the middle-aged and older ladies in the riding during my first provincial election in 2003—he was out pretty much every day.

But many of the people who I’ve encountered continue the fight. John Sewell gave me the space to grow my activism as part of Citizens for Local Democracy.

The voices of my riding association—again, some of whom are here: presidents Jim Head, Paul Robert, Mahreen Dasoo and Ali Baig. And, not the president, but Maralynn Beach: always the bedrock upon whom we depended the whole time. Thank you so much to all of them.

And to every member of the army of Don Valley West volunteers, I thank them. I remember having a pretty heated debate with Dave Gene one year about the efficiency of knocking on doors and having volunteer teams. I leave this place absolutely convinced that it is the volunteers who knock on doors and have personal conversations that get us all here. I just want to thank all of them. Many of you are here today. Thank you so much.

My campaign managers: Andrew Bevan, Pam Gutteridge, Emma Wakelin, Tom Allison, David Herle and Pat Sorbara—different elections, different levels, local and provincial, but thank you all so much.

My rule has always been to surround myself with people who are smarter than I am. I know what’s going through your heads: “That’s not a high bar.” But, never mind, that’s been my rule and I’ve been blessed with brilliant, caring staff in the riding and here at Queen’s Park.

Afie Mardukhi and Aafaaq Shaikh, who are both here, have been so strong and have served the people of Don Valley West for so long, managing the parade of young people who have learned with them in my constituency office, right through to, most recently, Hakan Balpinarli, who is now helping me to pack up my political life. Thank you to you. I owe you a debt of gratitude for being the face of my work and to being fundamental to me being elected five times. Thank you so much.

My Queen’s Park staff teams led by Steise Caswell, Tom Teahen, Dave Penfold, Guy Bethell, Shelley Potter, Monique Smith, Michael Keegan and Andrew Bevan worked literally around the clock with compassion and intelligence every single day.

I owe a debt of gratitude to the secretaries of cabinet with whom I worked, Peter Wallace and Steve Orsini, who advised me as Premier. I will always be thankful for the wisdom of their entire teams and of the deputies and their staff.

And then there are the people without whose love I simply could not never gotten here. My mom, Pat Wynne, and my sisters Evie, Ann and Marie—Evie died a year ago, but Ann and Marie are still with us. Well, they’re still with us; they will tell you they’re much younger than I am. I’m the eldest. And Christopher, my son, who has been an essential part of every single one of my campaigns, starting in 1994 when I first ran for school trustee. I didn’t win that one, but he’s always been there. Thank you, Chris.

My daughters, Jessica and Maggie Cowperthwaite, and all of my kids’ partners: Theo Hug, Stan Wesley and Dan Hambly. My grandkids, Olivia, Claire and Hugh Wesley, who were born into a world where their grandma was weirdly recognizable in their neighbourhood. They didn’t get it. “What? Grandma, why do they know you?” And baby Violet Hambly, who will only know her grandma as a politician because of the picture on these walls.

As I think about the after-time and I tell these stories, I’m reminded of the story told by former Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, Kathy Dunderdale. She told the story of a shopper in the grocery store who approached her after she had left office and said, “Didn’t you used to be Kathy Dunderdale?” I think that’s coming.

I am deeply grateful to all of you who have loved me and have supported me through the good and the pretty rough times. All of you who have been my staff, who have been part of my team, thank you so much. This is a team sport if there ever was one, and without all of you, I wouldn’t be here and we wouldn’t have been able to do the work together that we did.

On this particular day, I’m aware of my colleagues in this chamber. I don’t know if any of you have seen the movie, The Man Who Invented Christmas, but there’s a scene in it—it’s the story of Charles Dickens when he was writing A Christmas Carol—when all the characters, the imaginary characters that he’s writing about, are in the room with him. He’s trying to finish the book, and they’re there, all talking at him; a cacophony of voices. When I was thinking about this next part of my remarks, it feels like that. Being in this room, it’s like I can hear all the people who I’ve been here with for nearly 19 years, so it was pretty daunting to figure out who I was going to be able to echo.

I’ll always think of Dalton McGuinty as the boss. His decency and his calm were a model to his team. I watched Dalton from the backbench and then from across the cabinet table. He was unflinching in his commitment to the children of this province. He was unyielding in his determination to leave the province in better shape than we found it. The greenbelt, a rebuilt school system and clean, coal-free air—they are all his legacies.

I hear my own voice striving to extend that good work for children and for the adults they will become. I remember the pain of acknowledging and apologizing for the injustice and deep harm done to Indigenous children robbed of their childhood and sometimes their lives because of residential schools.


I hear myself apologizing to the people sent to the Huronia Regional Centre for the neglect, abuse and exploitation they suffered.

Je me souviens de m’être excusée pour l’oppressant règlement 17, qui a été en vigueur pendant plus d’une décennie et qui était conçu pour interdire l’enseignement en français dans les écoles primaires de l’Ontario au début du XXe siècle. C’était une mauvaise loi et une loi discriminatoire. Une francophonie ontarienne forte et florissante nous rend tous plus forts.

I cannot do justice to all of those echoes that I hear as I stand in this place, but I clearly hear the voice of Jim Bradley calling out to Howard Hampton from over there, brandishing a copy of Public Power before being shut down for using a prop—again.

Peter Kormos is on his feet on a point of order, challenging the House on standing order who-knows-what, partly to prolong the debate but mostly because he knows he can and he has it right.

George Smitherman is on a rant over there, no notes, 19th-century syntax in full flight.

Sandra Pupatello is pointing a long finger of admonition across the width of two sword lengths.

Deb Matthews is rising to her feet, once again, to disarm the opposition with her smiling intelligence.

Liz Witmer is rising slowly, delivering her searing question with infuriating calm.

John Baird is just furious, red-faced and outraged—and then not, smiling in his seat, leaving us wondering what switch got flipped.

Rosario Marchese is calling me “Madame” in a good-humoured, withering rebuke with flair, implying, “Kathleen, shouldn’t you know better?”

And Dave Levac, Speaker and school principal embodied in one, is rising to calm the grade 7 class.

Ernie Hardeman, John Vanthof and I met the king and queen of the Netherlands—uncle, nephew and Premier: three party stripes, one sense of awesome occasion.

John Fraser, steadily, loyally leading our crew for the past four years—John has a piece of my heart. He created space for me. He helped our tiny team coalesce. He helped us to punch above our weight with the very best good humour. I actually believe that Ted Lasso is fashioned after John Fraser. I actually believe that.

And now he’s passed the torch to Steven Del Duca, whose strong, articulate voice has been here in the past and will be here again.

There are so very many of you. You are all passionate about your work in your own ways. You bring your constituents’ voices here, and you’ve brought your constituents themselves here time and again in a pre-COVID world: the advocates for Indigenous people, for children with autism, for better housing, for LGBTQ rights, for municipalities, for businesses; support for farmers, nurses, education workers and PSWs; and all the people who hold our communities together and make them thrive. There are so many things to care about. And you do that. You do care, regardless of party stripe. You care about your constituents’ lives. You care about their work, their children, their health, and I love you for that. I mean that. You mean the world to me, though we so often disagree.

Our job is to shine some light. The extent to which we divide rather than shine that light is the extent to which we fail.

As Dalton always said to us, “People can despair all by themselves.” Our responsibility is to spend our years in office finding ways to give the people of this province hope. Tearing each other down, distorting reality for political gain serves no one. There may be short-term political benefit, but no lasting good comes of generating more anger and hostility.

I’m under no illusion that I have made the best decisions at every turn in the past 19 years. I know that I have made mistakes. I know I have failed sometimes to shine that light, and I have been quick to judge my opponents. You only have to look at my social media feeds to gauge just how many people see me as a deeply flawed human. But here’s the thing: We all are. That’s the point. We are all here trying to find the best way forward. You work long hours, but we all know that our constituents do too, and often in much, much harsher circumstances. Many of them struggle to look after themselves and their families. They need our attention and they need our support and they need us to care every single day.

To the young MPP who shouted at me those few years ago, here is my more complete answer: I’m here because I believe that government exists to do the things that people cannot do for themselves. I’m here because governments should be a force for good in peoples’ lives. I’m here because this institution, with all its weaknesses and flaws, the rules that govern us and the debates in this Legislature, are actually the stuff of peace, order and good government. That’s how it gets done. I’m here because I believe in the people of Ontario and the strength of us all together.

This is the best place in the world to live and Ontario is at its best when we’re not divided. “One Ontario” is not a slogan to me. It’s what we are at our best. Not just diverse, but inclusive; united, not divided, and full of opportunity for every child. Lifting each other up is not only the moral path, it is actually the smart political path.

So I leave this place happily and with sorrow in the same breath, and I wish all of you who return and all who come after great success in stewarding this strong, beautiful province we call home. Thank you so much. Merci. Meegwetch. Nia:wen.


Ms. Kathleen O. Wynne: Point of order, Speaker.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): I will recognize the member on a point of order.

Ms. Kathleen O. Wynne: I’m so sorry. I just realized, as I was reading my speech, that I missed a line or two. I really need to acknowledge my partner, Jane Rounthwaite. Oh, my God. I swear to God. Now you all get to see what my son has done for me all these years, because he just was giving me the daggers from the gallery. Of course, Jane was in my speech, and, as I have said so many times, there’s no Kathleen Wynne in politics without Jane Rounthwaite. Thank you for your love and support, and I’m really sorry I missed that line. I love you.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): I’m also going to take this opportunity to acknowledge that we have another former member in the Legislature joining us today: Deborah, or Deb, Matthews, who served as the member for London North Centre in the 38th, 39th, 40th and 41st Parliaments. Welcome back to Queen’s Park.

I recognize the government House leader on a point of order.

Hon. Paul Calandra: I seek unanimous consent to recess the House for 15 minutes.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): The government House leader is seeking unanimous consent to recess the House for 15 minutes. Is it agreed? Agreed.

Therefore, this House stands in recess for 15 minutes, until 4:15 this afternoon.

The House recessed from 1600 to 1615.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate? Further debate? There being no further debate, I declare the debate concluded.

Orders of the day?

Correction of record

Mr. Michael Mantha: Point of order, Madam Speaker.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): I recognize the member from Algoma–Manitoulin on a point of order.

Mr. Michael Mantha: This morning during the debate, I had indicated some improper information. I want to correct it. At the end of my debate I talked about an author, his name being Rick Prashaw, who had lost his son who had donated many of his vital organs. The book that he had wrote is Soar, Adam, Soar, and the individuals who he had helped were actually four individuals. He donated his heart, his two kidneys and his one liver. So the author is Rick Prashaw and the book is Soar, Adam, Soar.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): All members have the opportunity to correct their record.

Green Shirt Day Act, 2022 / Loi de 2022 sur la Journée du chandail vert

Resuming the debate adjourned on April 7, 2022, on the motion for second reading of the following bill:

Bill 112, An Act to proclaim Green Shirt Day / Projet de loi 112, Loi proclamant la Journée du chandail vert.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate? Further debate?

Mr. Parsa has moved second reading of Bill 112, An Act to proclaim Green Shirt Day. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? I declare the motion carried.

Second reading agreed to.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Pursuant to standing order 101(h), the bill is referred to the Committee of the Whole House, unless the member would choose another committee. Okay, so it is referred to the Committee of the Whole House.

Orders of the day?

Mr. Michael Parsa: Committee of the Whole House, please.

House in Committee of the Whole.

Green Shirt Day Act, 2022 / Loi de 2022 sur la Journée du chandail vert

Consideration of the following bill:

Bill 112, An Act to proclaim Green Shirt Day / Projet de loi 112, Loi proclamant la Journée du chandail vert.

The Third Deputy Chair (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Are there any comments, questions or amendments to any section of the bill? And if so, to which section?

Seeing no amendments, shall section 1 of the bill carry? Carried.

Shall section 2 of the bill carry? Carried.

Shall the short title, section 3 of the bill, carry? Carried.

Shall the preamble carry? Carried.

Shall the title of the bill carry? Carried.

Shall Bill 112 carry? Carried.

And finally, shall I report Bill 112 to the House? Then I will do that.

Orders of the day?


Mr. Michael Parsa: I move that the Committee of the Whole House rise and report to the House.

The Third Deputy Chair (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

The Committee of the Whole House begs to report one bill without amendment and asks for leave to sit again.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Shall the report be received and adopted? Agreed.

Committee of the whole report adopted.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Orders of the day.

Green Shirt Day Act, 2022 / Loi de 2022 sur la Journée du chandail vert

Mr. Parsa moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill 112, An Act to proclaim Green Shirt Day / Projet de loi 112, Loi proclamant la Journée du chandail vert.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Mr. Michael Parsa: I just want to take this opportunity to thank the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the member for Ottawa Centre, the member for Algoma–Manitoulin, the member for Thunder Bay–Atikokan, and also the government House leader, Minister Calandra, for helping me with this bill today, for this very important bill, for us to be able to get this to the House and expedite it.

I also want to thank Ethan Bos. Ethan, thank you very much for your advocacy to be able to raise awareness about Green Shirt Day across the province: at the municipal level, in city halls, at the Legislature. Thank you for the great work that you’re doing, Ethan.

Colleagues, to pass this bill and to build on what’s known as the Logan Boulet effect across the province and across Canada, it’s a very important step forward. We talked about the stat of 90% of Ontarians who are supportive of the idea of being an organ or tissue donor, but only 32% are actually taking the step in making sure that that happens. So I want to just reiterate the point once again for people that would like to do this—and you should—to go to beadonor.ca and register.

Finally, Madam Speaker, I would like to thank Logan’s parents, Toby and Bernadine. Thank you so much for everything that you’re doing, and I want to promise you that the work that you have done and Logan’s work and legacy will never be forgotten.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Mr. Michael Mantha: This morning, when we first started debating this bill—first I want to thank the member and recognize the member from Aurora–Oak Ridges–Richmond Hill. We just spent the last two hours listening to some of our members who are going to be departing from this place. They talked a lot about the engine and the cordialship and the things that make this place work. What we’re seeing here today is one of those examples: that when we all believe in something, when we firmly put our hearts into things, we can be that engine. As the member from Don Valley West just indicated, we are one Ontario, and we can move things forward.

Trust me, when I woke up this morning, I didn’t know this was what I was going to be talking about, but I love talking about this particular subject. Because you were right: So many people have the opportunity throughout this province to provide that gift of life, provide that miracle, to provide that hope that so many others are waiting for. I talked a little bit this morning about Kim Cloutier from Elliot Lake and what she went through. I only went on the tip of the iceberg, is what I provided the scope to the House this morning as far as what she had gone through, the roller-coaster ride and the ups and downs of waiting for that particular organ, for that miracle of life.

But this morning I ended off, and I just couldn’t believe that I had forgotten to talk about Adam. I’m glad that we’ve got this opportunity. It’s just amazing how this bill got through committee as we were talking this afternoon, and here we are talking again, and we witnessed—actually, what we witnessed here this afternoon is the second time in 20 years that this has happened, Speaker, and you were part of that history. That was quite incredible. I witnessed this for the first time last week, and I’ve been here for 11 years. I was watching and I’m—“How is this happening?” The wheels are turning. But when we want something in here—and I say “we,” all of us in this House—we can make things happen. I look at some of the previous speakers who got up through the commemorations that we had and the departing speeches that we had. When we set that partisanship aside, when we walk across the aisle and we actually listen to understand instead of listening to respond, we get a lot of things accomplished here.

I do really want to touch on Adam and some of the things that he brought. His dad was Rick Prashaw. I met him through Tony Martin. Tony Martin was the federal member for Sault Ste. Marie. Rick Prashaw entered into my life when I was running in my first election. When I was successful in my first election, Rick Prashaw picked up the phone and congratulated me. I said, “Hey, Rick, did you ever think of coming back into politics?” Because I was looking for someone to help me out. Rick introduced me to his niece, who was Claire Prashaw. For those of you who don’t know Claire Prashaw, she was my right arm here who—I have to say, for a very long time, Speaker, I had a hard time referring to myself as a politician. I really had a hard time my first few years when I was here. We talked a bit about those that—the class of 2011. A lot of you would understand, because there are a lot of stories that we shared amongst ourselves. It took me a while to actually finally get into the ability to refer to myself as a politician, and I’m proud to do that now. I’m very proud to say that, because I understand what my job is now. I really do, and I’ve stepped into it.

So I had had Rick, and Rick declined. He said he wanted to go into another field, which was starting to write a book. Claire polished me up—I have a hard time saying that, because I still have many rough edges around me, but Claire really helped me out in my initial five, six years in my role as an MPP.


But I never lost contact with Rick and his son Adam, who had many seizures as he was growing up. On this one given evening, he was enjoying a hot tub. It was while he was in the hot tub that a major seizure caught him and he succumbed. He ended up drowning. They brought him into the hospital and, unfortunately, there were no signals, no life from his brain; however, they were able to keep his organs alive and well. The family took the decision and looked at what Adam’s wishes were. Adam wanted to donate his organs.

I touched on this a little bit earlier, but he did provide the gift—the miracle—to four other individuals, by providing them with his liver, his two kidneys and his heart. Can you imagine how those people felt receiving that gift? I won’t disclose the names of the individuals who received these organs, but I will tell you that Rick Prashaw met the person who received Adam’s heart. He got to put his hand on his chest, got to hear his son’s heart in somebody else’s body. Just think about that for a second. That’s incredible, and that’s what this bill will do. The Logan Boulet effect will have that effect on a lot of people across this province.

This is a thing that we really need to do. As the member said earlier, 99.9% of people across this province are very much in favour of this, but only 32% of individuals have actually signed their donor card. We have the ability now, and we should be challenging ourselves to have that discussion when we’re sitting down with our family and loved ones, as far as, “Do you want to do this?” “These are my wishes.” “I do want to give my organs,” or, “I don’t, and these are the reasons why.” “These are the organs that I want to give.”

We want to have that ability. Green Shirt Day will provide us with that opportunity to continue having those discussions, and it’s too bad that it’s only one day. We need to really have this day, and many other days, as a reminder to us that we have within ourselves the ability to provide that miracle of life.

I often think of Kimmy. Like I said earlier this morning, Kimmy was the glue of the Cloutier family and that whole nucleus as far as keeping them together. They still get together, but it’s not the same thing. It’s not the same thing, because Kimmy is not there anymore. But she does have two beautiful boys, and her husband still remains in Elliot Lake.

I do want to touch on an afternoon where I walked in—by that point, Kimmy had secured herself a place with her sister and her family members. It was just up on the Danforth here. She finally held an apartment. She didn’t like the fact that she was troubling me with my home. Funny as it be told, she wanted to free the opportunity up for somebody else in case somebody was in need—a child or something. Because, as I said earlier, I often take guests into my place, especially when they come in to SickKids—and some of the joy that that’s brought me.

So I walk in to see Kimmy the one day. As I’m walking towards her, as I was saying earlier this morning, you see that glow in Kimmy’s face just going down, down and down and that worry going up and her keeping her spirits up. It’s tough, but she was keeping that smile and her chin up until that smile was just too tough for her to bear. I just watched her fade away little by little, and then you’re wondering, is it going to happen? Is that miracle going to come? Is that call going to come for her? You walk in, and it’s just—I can’t explain the feeling, the happiness and the joy of getting that call that a person is expecting, whether it’s a liver or a heart or lungs. I don’t know if you’ve ever witnessed it, but I’ve witnessed it a couple of times, just that happiness, that sense of hope: “I’m going to live; I’m going to breathe,” or “My heart is going to beat again.” It’s incredible, and it’s something that we should have the ability to share with others. I’ve benefited, again, a couple of times from doing it.

Kimmy, as I said earlier this morning, did receive her lungs, and she had that ability to breathe. Then we went through the roller-coaster ride that her body started rejecting the lungs, and then you go through that other process, as I talked about this morning, and it’s worth repeating—hey, when did you guys get in? I’m actually talking to you, because you all have the ability to sign on the back of your driver’s licences to be a donor. You’re the individuals who could be the miracle providers. Today, we have this ability, and I’m sure you heard about the story. This is the piece of legislation that we’re talking to today: It’s An Act to proclaim Green Shirt Day. What we’re talking about today is that tragic event that happened in 2018 on April 6, when the Humboldt Broncos bus crash happened, and the outcome of that bus crash—sorry, I should be talking to the chair. Sorry.

But I’m glad you’re here listening to this, because a lot of what we’re talking about is really specifically targeting family members, young individuals who are driving, because you’re in the prime of your lives. I would never, never wish any harm upon you, but we just never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. This is something that I’ve learned very early in my career, not only as a politician, but as a father, as a community member: Cherish every day you have. Cherish the time that you have here today. Cherish your friendships that you build.

I look at my friend across the way, and I cherish every moment that we have here. We’re going to always have some fun, and we’re going to agree to disagree. That’s part of it. But I do cherish every opportunity that we have to sit down and have a coffee and find those common goals, and today is one of those common goals.

I challenge you, next time you renew your driver’s licence or you’re talking to your family, talk to them about organ donation. Have you had that discussion? Have you talked to your family about it, your co-workers, your loved ones? If you haven’t, you should. I talked this morning about how I’ve experienced two miracles that have happened. I’m just putting that out there. You should. It’s so important. It’s a good idea, right? But there are only 32% of Ontarians who have signed on their donor cards to actually—if something tragic was to happen, they’ve informed their family and given them consent to giving their organs.

I talked a little bit earlier about Rick Prashaw. He’s an author. He wrote a book describing how he dealt with the trauma of losing his son and how he made the decision to provide his son’s organs, which were a heart, two kidneys and a liver. Four people are alive today thanks to the actions of Rick Prashaw and the donation of the vital organs from his son Adam. By the way, the book is called Soar, Adam, Soar; the author is Rick Prashaw. You might want to read that book. It’s pretty incredible.


Speaker, I wish I could go on more and more and just keep going on, because we don’t talk about these issues enough in this House where we can significantly have an impact on somebody’s life and in such a great way. There are many laws that we can bring into this House—and we have, some that have benefited individuals—but this is something significant.

Again, I want to thank Logan’s family, particularly Toby and Bernadine Boulet, Logan’s parents, and Logan Boulet and the effect that he is going to create and the awareness that this is going to bring to this province. It’s something that we can all be proud of.

Again, I want to congratulate the member from Aurora–Oak Ridges–Richmond Hill.

I wish I could go on more and more. There is not enough time for me to express how I feel, how important this is and how it has touched my life. I’ve witnessed it, from the highs of highs to the lows of lows, to the happiness, to the frustrations, from the despair, from the negatives, to the highs. How do you go through such a tragic incident, where some people are grieving, and then turn that into a miracle? That’s what we have here.

So again, this is a good bill. It was my pleasure to stand in my place and talk about it today, and I hope we can see this through.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Ms. Peggy Sattler: It is a pleasure to rise today to speak in support of Bill 112, An Act to proclaim Green Shirt Day. I want to thank the member for Aurora–Oak Ridges–Richmond Hill for bringing this bill forward. I also want to recognize the government House leader for providing this opportunity to have this important debate on this bill.

I want to recognize two residents of London West who have been very powerful in terms of the messages that they convey in our community about the importance of organ donation.

Doug Ferguson is a Western University law professor. He is the director of Community Legal Services at Western, highly respected and a long-time resident of the city of London. He actually ran for the federal Liberals in London West; I think that was about 15 years or so ago. Anyway, he is well known, well liked and highly respected.

He came very close to death in 2014. He had a liver condition that caused chronic inflammation for a number of years and was put on a transplant list in 2014, because at that point he was unable to continue without a transplant. He managed to get a transplant available and was rushed to hospital for the operation.

Unfortunately, the liver transplant failed. He talks about the fact that the physicians in the hospital hadn’t seen this before. The surgeons took the liver out twice, rinsed it off, put it back in, and it still didn’t work. The surgeon, as I said, had never seen that before, but the surgeon told the family that there was only 24 hours to get a second transplant before Doug would pass away.

So the physicians, the surgeons put him into an induced coma. He was in an induced coma for 10 days between his first and his second transplant, but they managed to find a matching liver to do the second transplant.

Doug has become an incredible advocate for organ donation. He joined the board of the Trillium Gift of Life Network. We had a reception back in the pre-COVID days, when we used to have receptions downstairs, when Trillium Gift of Life Network had come to Queen’s Park to talk to MPPs about the importance of organ donation, and Doug was one of the featured speakers. I was so pleased to see him here, and I know many of the MPPs who are in the chamber right now perhaps were at that same reception and heard Doug speak about his experience and his advocacy to encourage people to donate their organs and literally give the gift of life.

I also want to recognize another resident of London West, Jillian Best. Jillian is also a liver transplant recipient. In fact, her mother had also been a liver transplant recipient. Jillian, as a young woman, had a hereditary liver disease and ended up needing to go on the transplant list herself. The transplantation was successful. Jillian is now in her mid-thirties and she started a foundation. It’s called the Move For Life Foundation, and the purpose is to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation and to encourage people to donate, and also to raise funds for London Health Sciences Centre’s organ donation program.

Jillian is an athlete and so, to raise funds for her Move For Life Foundation, she swam across Lake Ontario in the summer of 2020—actually, sorry, I think it was the summer of 2021. Through this 18-hour, 52-kilometre swim that she made across Lake Ontario, she raised $150,000 for transplant equipment at London Health Sciences Centre. So that is really incredible, to have that kind of support shown by the community, for Jillian Best and the Move For Life Foundation to raise those critical resources that are necessary at London Health Sciences Centre.

She credits the organ transplant unit at LHSC for saving both her and her mother’s life twice. So she feels an obligation, a responsibility, a desire to give back because she was able to get that transplant that saved her life, and she wants to give hope for people who are on a transplant waiting list.

With the funds that Jillian raised through the swim across Lake Ontario, the organ transplant unit at the hospital became the first hospital in Canada to use the equipment for a practice called abdominal regional perfusion to preserve donated livers to keep them viable longer, because we all know that that is one of the issues around organ donation: the speed with which the donor organ has to be shipped or travelled to the patient. So this machine, this equipment called abdominal regional perfusion will make a big difference in terms of preserving those donated livers until the recipient is available.

The hospital states that ARP, abdominal regional perfusion, has been done in a few places in the world, but LHSC is the first hospital in Canada to use this kind of equipment. LHSC has a goal to create a clinical and research program and to use the practice for other organs, including kidneys and hearts. The funding that Jillian raised, that $150,000—some of that money will be going toward this clinical research program.


Jillian’s foundation, Move For Life, is committed to continuing to raise funds to support LHSC’s organ donation program. She has a goal of an additional $250,000 and she’s planning a 1,600K swim, bike and run relay across Ontario. So you can take from that, Speaker, that the transplant was very successful. She is in great shape to be able to undertake that kind of activity. I really want to recognize the efforts of Jillian Best and the Move For Life Foundation in raising that kind of awareness in our community and supporting our London Health Sciences Centre.

I’m very proud of the organ donation program at London Health Sciences Centre. The first transplant was done in 1973, so the organ donation program has been at the hospital for decades now. Since that time, 6,278 recipients have received transplants at LHSC. That is from kidneys, liver, heart, pancreas, kidney-liver, liver-heart, liver-bowel, bowel, lung, heart-lung and multi-visceral. I am also very proud of the fact that London has a higher than average donor registration rate. In Ontario—this is from the Trillium Gift of Life Network—about 36% of Ontarians are registered for organ donation. In London, we have 44% registered for organ donation.

That raises the concern that hopefully this bill will help address, because even though London’s rate of 44% is higher than the Ontario average, we know that at least 90% and more of Ontarians, when they are polled, say that they support organ donation. And yet not enough Ontarians are registered to donate their organs. This bill, An Act to proclaim Green Shirt Day, will help raise awareness of the importance of organ donation and hopefully will help encourage more people to register for the donation of their organs.

Speaker, we see this all the time, in the fall and as we approach the spring, with all of the walks and runs, fundraising runs, for cancer, for ovarian cancer, for breast cancer, for ALS, for heart and stroke. I know that MPPs participate in these walks and runs. They are very important to our communities. In many cases at these walks and runs, they have people who speak about the importance of the Canadian Cancer Society or the ALS Society of Canada or the ovarian cancer society, the importance of those organizations in helping people channel the grief that they have experienced at the loss of a family member, and take that grief and do something positive.

That is really what this bill does. It honours the memory of Logan Boulet, who succumbed to his injuries following that horrific crash with the Humboldt Broncos. I remember my husband and my son putting the hockey stick out and leaving the light on on the front porch when that accident happened. We all grieved for the loss of those 16 young people who were injured in that crash. How wonderful it is that we are able to honour Logan Boulet’s passing by proclaiming April 7 as Green Shirt Day.

As we talk about Green Shirt Day, as we talk about Logan Boulet and the number of people that his life has affected following his death because of his family’s decision to donate his organs—six lives were saved with his donation. Having this proclamation of Green Shirt Day provides that opportunity for us to talk about the importance of organ donation, to encourage our constituents to think about the importance of registering to donate their organs and the impact that they can have, the living legacy they can leave behind when they donate their organs.

The other issue that I did want to raise—this is from a comment from Doug Ferguson, the constituent that I mentioned at the beginning. He said that one of the biggest take-aways from his experience of 2014, of going through not one but two liver transplants and being literally at death’s door—he was asked what’s most important to him as he reflects on that experience. He talks about the gratitude that he’s had after the surgery, the feeling that he has for his family, recognizing that it could all be taken away at any time. He says, “Don’t wait to do the things you want to do. If you want to travel, travel. Don’t wait till you retire. Do what you can while you can.” He says he appreciates his family more. His family was there for him, took great care of him. His kids were there with him every day of his life. I think you come out of an experience like that with greater appreciation and gratitude for the people who are around you.

But his final reflection is about the critical importance of maintaining our health care system. He says, “Our health care system, especially our system in London, is one of the best multi-organ transplant units in the world. I don’t think Londoners know that or appreciate it.” This bill will help us promote that fact, I think. He goes on to say, “I suspect that if I had been somewhere else, I would not have survived. As for our Canadian health care system, if you need care, if you’re seriously ill or injured, you get care immediately. We’re very lucky as Canadians that we get that.”

Speaker, it’s so important that we provide the resources that hospitals like London Health Sciences Centre need to be able to continue to perform these life-saving transplants so that people like Doug and Jillian have access to those services. But we also need to make sure—Doug’s comment that if he had lived in another community, maybe he wouldn’t have survived, maybe he wouldn’t have been able to make it through that sudden urgency of needing that transplant. We have to look at equity in our health care system. We have to ensure that no matter where you live in this province, you are able to access those life-saving surgeries and procedures that every Ontarian should be able to rely on.

We have just gone through—we are still going through—one of the biggest health care crises that we have ever seen. I would say it’s the biggest health care crisis that we have ever seen. It has certainly given us all much greater appreciation for the heroic, amazing efforts, the tireless efforts, of our front-line health care workers: the nurses, the PSWs, the RPNs, the hospital cleaners, the dietary aides, the respiratory therapists—the list goes on.


All of these people who were there, without question, to support Ontarians, to do whatever it took to make it through the pandemic, working through weekends—remember the first Christmas? They were working through all their Christmas holidays. They are burnt-out and exhausted. Without the human resources that our health care system needs, our health care system is at risk.

We have to recognize that. It’s not just raising the $150,000 to buy new equipment; it’s ensuring that the health human resources are there to run our hospitals, to staff our beds, to provide that outpatient care so that we have a home and community care system that is able to provide the care that patients need on discharge from hospital, to deal with wound care and aftercare and physiotherapy and all of the other kinds of supports that people need when they are discharged after surgery.

And so I hope that this government remembers that. There’s a budget coming up. I hope it will include a significant investment in health care. I hope that the NDP will be sitting on that side of the House, so that we can make those investments in health care that are necessary to ensure that our hospitals are stable and able to continue to provide the services people rely on, and that the staff are treated with the respect that they deserve.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate? Further debate?

Mr. Parsa has moved third reading of Bill 112, An Act to proclaim Green Shirt Day. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

Third reading agreed to.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Orders of the day?

Ontario Cadets Week Act, 2022 / Loi de 2022 sur la Semaine des cadets de l’Ontario

Mr. Barrett moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 45, An Act to proclaim Ontario Cadets Week / Projet de loi 45, Loi proclamant la Semaine des cadets de l’Ontario.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Mr. Toby Barrett: Our army, air and sea cadets are part of our country’s proud military history, standing alongside those who truly understand the sacrifices made. I say that on a day when our Legislature has formally, through the wearing of pins, recognized the 105th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

As all in this House will know, across Canada a dynamic cadet program exists, with numerous cadet corps and squadrons across our province of Ontario. The Air Cadet League, Ontario Provincial Committee; the Army Cadet League of Canada, Ontario branch; and the Navy League of Canada, working in partnership with the Canadian Armed Forces, provide programs for air, army and sea cadets aged 12 to 18. In addition, the Navy League also sponsors the Navy League cadets, a separate program for young people aged nine to 12.

Some here may recall that last November 4, 2021, I introduced a private member’s bill entitled An Act to proclaim Ontario Cadets Week. The week would commence the first Saturday in October of each year. Working with the various organizations that I’ve just mentioned, we determined that October would be an appropriate month. It would free up the cadets and gear up the cadets, essentially, to be in a position to provide support for so many of the very important ceremonies that occur the following month, in November, to honour our veterans. And, of course, our cadets across the province, day in and day out, perform many, many other duties for our benefit. That was the first reading, and I do thank those present for all-party support.

Cadet programs are really helpful for young people, and really helpful for society in general. As someone, myself, who completed the basic training when I was 17, I can attest that programs like this provide experiences not found elsewhere. I do know that there are members here, on both sides of the House, who went through basic training. There are members here who were cadets, who have children going through cadets. I have specifically drawn on advice over the past months in preparing this bill—again, legislation that came from the organizations that I mentioned and has been passed elsewhere in a couple of other provinces.

Our cadets, these young people, are active in their communities. They make valuable contributions to our society daily. Proclaiming Ontario Cadets Week will honour these outstanding young Canadians whose personal and collective development through cadet programs help them be successful in Canadian society, as well as recognizing those who support the programs directly and indirectly, the volunteers who help make these programs as successful as they are.

To wrap up, Speaker, many of us here who attend armouries and Legions and military ceremonies understand the importance of being brief when you’re with some of these people in uniform. They don’t tolerate people like us, who maybe speak a little longer than they should. But I do wish to thank my long-term friend Rick Brown. He is the Army Cadet League of Canada’s Ontario president. He suggested I bring this legislation forward. We have an ongoing connection through the 56th Field Regiment, the regiment I was connected with before, and our local 69th battery. President Brown and his colleagues in the various leagues that I’ve mentioned have put an awful lot of thought into this, both provincially and nationally. A lot of emails have gone back and forth. I feel that I have the support of these various organizations, and I would essentially lay this out on the table for any further discussion or debate.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Mr. John Vanthof: It’s always an honour to be able to rise in this House, and today to speak on Bill 45, An Act to proclaim Ontario Cadets Week. It is an honour, because I think we all have different relationships with cadet corps, but the one that I think we can all relate to immediately is at a Remembrance Day ceremony where the cadets, at least in my riding, are standing at the corners of the cenotaph. I think it’s something that sticks in your mind, rightfully so.


I think of the 355 Polaris Squadron air cadets from Englehart. We used to go to all their spaghetti supper fundraisers, and they’ve also had a tough time during COVID. I’ve been to their reviews, and I can remember Remembrance Day—and I’m sure it’s the same across the province, but Remembrance Day in northern Ontario, you never know what the weather is going to be. Actually, it’s kind of like the people who served to keep our country free fought and served in all types of weather.

A few years ago, in Englehart—the cenotaph is in front of a big row of spruce trees, and it had snowed a lot the night before, and, as the ceremony was going, the cadets were standing around in their chosen places and they didn’t move a muscle. It was heavy, clumping snow, and the snow fell off the tree right onto that cadet and he didn’t move a muscle. I will never forget that, because the training he had already had, the pride he already had in what he was doing, you could—it was like slow motion, because you’re standing there and you’re watching, and you see it and you go, “Oh. Oh. This is not going to”—I will never forget that. He just stood there. I didn’t know him personally, but he made me, and I think everyone watching, incredibly proud to be a Canadian.

I was at another Remembrance Day ceremony in Cochrane, and the cadets were doing the same thing. The weather got so cold, and it wasn’t really snow; it was ice, but it was cold. They tried to convince the cadets perhaps not to stand at their stations, and they stayed there until basically one passed out. Again, you could see him collapse, but he stayed there until that happened. Again, it’s something that you don’t see in a lot of people, but you see it in cadet corps’—it shows that there’s the training, the comradery, I’d say, in those corps.

My son was in cadets for two years, and if anybody ever looks at my shoes they’ll know I was never in cadets. I will go back to my son and his shoe polishing, but I’ll tell you a little story about shoes. Before I was elected—-things haven’t changed a lot, but, before I was elected, I gave a scroll on behalf of my federal member at an event in Engelhart, my hometown, and the entertainment was a ventriloquist. So I gave the scroll, did my thing, and then the entertainment and the ventriloquist—can I say his “doll”? I was going to say—we’ll go with doll, anyway. He wasn’t a dummy. Anyway, he said—I can’t believe I’m telling this story—“This guy here who just gave out the scroll, he acts like a big shot, he’s got a tie and everything, but just take a look at his shoes.” Because it’s all gravel roads and all my shoes were pretty dusty. And I have never been able to live that down in my hometown, and I’ve never been ashamed of having dusty shoes either.

Mr. Sol Mamakwa: They still look the same.

Mr. John Vanthof: They still look the same.

But my son’s shoes gleamed. My son’s a hard worker, but I can’t name very many things that my son was as proud of as being a cadet, having his shoes clean, going on exercises, on camping trips. One of the leaders in cadets in our area, Mr. Kerry Stewart, took them on backwoods camping trips—incredible places. He put a lot of time into those kids. And I think anything that we can do to put a spotlight on the cadet program is a good thing.

In Iroquois Falls, we have the 792 air cadets, and they have a glider program. They have to work really hard to keep it up. There is an airport in Iroquois Falls. Iroquois Falls used to be the main airport for the Timmins area, and then they built the Timmins—I might have my history a bit—but I’m pretty close. The Timmins regional airport was built and the air traffic moved from Iroquois Falls to Timmins. So it’s a really nice airstrip, really, and they have the cadet program there. I have been invited a couple of times to participate in the glider, and I haven’t done it yet. I don’t think I would pass that part of cadets, quite frankly.

Mr. Robert Bailey: Shine your shoes first.

Mr. John Vanthof: Yes, I think I’d have to buy a new pair to go there. Farmers aren’t famous for clean shoes, just to let you know now.

My wife used to hate it when we—how do I put this? When you’re on a farm, right before you have to go someplace, like church or a wedding, there’s always something that you should just check before you go. There’s a cow calving or there’s something. Ria didn’t like it at all because the shoes never came back clean. Sometimes, you’d have to—you’d be half an hour late, because you’re not going to go into a barn with the suit, so you’d strip it down—anyway. But no, farmers aren’t known for clean shoes; cadets are.


But anyone who has been involved in cadets knows how much work the leaders put in. In the cadets in Iroquois Falls, Major Bill McCarthy, it’s amazing the things that that man has done to keep that corps going. I’m sure I’m missing a few cadet corps that I haven’t spoken about. But I’ve got to go back to the look in my son’s eyes and how he focused, how it was so important to him. It wasn’t a chore to him. Farm kids are used to chores, but this wasn’t a chore to him. This was something he really wanted to do. I’d like to give a shout-out to Major McCarthy, to Kerry Stewart, Daniel Desilets and all the other cadet leaders who make such a difference in those kids’ lives and who create cadets—who create future leaders. I truly believe that. It’s not the only way to become a leader obviously, but it is certainly a way to learn.

I’m trying to think of a way to put this. I find—and believe me, this is not scientific. But now that we’re so focused on being digital—actually, I have never played a video game in my life, but people play. You can play, but you’re apart. With something like cadets, you learn how to organize together, and it’s different than sports. In sports you learn that too, but it’s different. There’s a precision to it. Again, I’m going to go back to my son. He was involved in lots of sports, but cadets brought out something different in him, something that I still see and something that, as a parent, I couldn’t give to him. Cadets did that, and I think cadets can do that, and has done that, for many young people.

I truly wish I had more time to prepare for this, but I am very grateful that we have the opportunity this evening to talk about it, and specifically now. Cadets is part of our armed forces, and there has never been more of a focus on what our armed forces mean to us, I think, in our generation. Obviously, armed forces protect in natural disasters, we all know that, and we speak about this many times in the House, and of the peacekeepers in the armed forces, who served in Afghanistan, gave up their lives in Afghanistan and in Korea and on peacekeeping missions. But I think for many people, what’s happening now in Ukraine is the first time that they’ve really taken a look and said, “This is something that we just can’t skate around anymore.” We have to take this seriously, all our countries, to see what we invest in, how we invest, to see the risks they take.

I always remember—and you all know this: I often relate to things that happen to me in my personal life. Just after I bought the farm, the Canadian Armed Forces did military manoeuvres in our area. It was a military exercise. There were two teams, and they asked to use our farm. They landed tanks, they landed road graders from planes. They dropped paratroopers. It was amazing to watch. The one that struck me: Across the road from our farm, there was another farmer, and he didn’t agree to let them use his farm. When they dropped the paratroopers—it’s like the movies, but this was real. So you see a whole bunch of parachutes come out of the plane, and the one guy, he got blown with the wind, I think, and he landed on the other farmer’s barn—the parachute on one side and the guy on the other side—and he was there all day. If this wasn’t an exercise, I don’t think he would have survived that day. I watched that, and I thought, as a young person—I was a farmer then. But you see that and say, “Okay, even when they’re practising”—right? And we have—not in this House; no one who has anything to do with government discounts the military, but some people do in public, the Canadian military. I saw that day the skill, the bravery. When you’re a farm kid—I was an adult then, but I was still a farm kid—and when you see somebody land 10 tanks in your field with parachutes, that is impressive, because a tank is bigger than a tractor, and you’re thinking, “Wow, now that is cool.”

Mr. Sol Mamakwa: Do you have it on your phone?

Mr. John Vanthof: I didn’t have a phone back then.

But if you think that when you’re a cadet, you have access to talk to people who know how to do that, imagine that. We had—and I can’t remember his rank, but he was fairly high-ranking—and his driver. They came the day before, and they ended up sleeping in our basement. They spent a couple of hours at our kitchen table talking about how things worked in the military, and I just sat there and listened in awe. Imagine if you had the opportunity to join the cadets and you’re a young person and you have access to people like that who—and just the way they explain, just the way—it was amazing. It’s kind of like what pages learn about politics here, because they’re right there. Well, cadets learn that about military precision, about military planning.

So I am happy and proud to support An Act to proclaim Ontario Cadets Week.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Mr. Michael Mantha: I was just doing a little bit of research here. I want to make sure I get all the Legions in my riding, because I have quite a few of them.

It’s a pleasure to stand and talk about recognizing cadets. Surprise to everyone in this House: You’re looking at Kiwanis member, squadron 10 from Timmins. I was the first francophone leader of flight 5 air cadets. I’m told I’m one of the first ones to actually provide guidance to my entire flight troop in cadence in French. So that was interesting, and I want to go back to that day, because it’s quite fun.


Unfortunately, I don’t remember who our squadron commander was, but we had just left from the base. We had spent two days out in the field doing a wide range of—just learning things out in the field. We got to load our rifles, do some target practising, do some building, survival stuff and so on. But what happened is we were late in coming back. It kind of reminds me of that old movie—is it Red Dog? No, not Red Dog with—

Mr. Robert Bailey: Red Dawn?

Mr. Michael Mantha: No, not Red Dawn. The comedian—oh, my goodness. Oh, I don’t remember.

Anyway, we came back and we were all filthy in our clothes, but we didn’t have time to go to our barracks and change. So here we were, this French flight commanding team, and I remember being just filthy dirty in the middle of the field and just ordering the troops around. We came in second. We didn’t win, but we came in second. I always say that we lost those good, valuable points on judgment because we didn’t have proper attire. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

As an MPP, as everybody else in this room, I have been out to many of those cadet review opportunities that we have, and it’s remarkable the talent that is there. What these young cadets are actually doing in their communities, whether it be volunteering or just community initiatives. Some of the advancements that they’re doing, their shooting skills, some of the badge and the accreditations they get through the entire process, what they’re learning as a cadet, the valuable life lessons—it is quite, quite remarkable.

I often see those cadets as we go out on Remembrance Day, or if we were all in our ridings today, we would have been at Vimy Ridge events, I’m sure. In each and every one of our communities, we know that there are some veterans who are there today.

I wish I could be there. I wish I could be on Manitoulin Island with Roy Eaton today. Roy Eaton and I have this—he’s a remarkable man. He’s actually an individual who provides a radio broadcast for all of the sailing ships that come across the North Shore. So, if you’re sailing across the North Shore and you hear that voice coming from Little Current, that’s Roy Eaton. Roy Eaton is providing you the information, relaying messages from vessel to vessel, and he’s the voice. He hosts many shows on his radio station, and I enjoy joining Roy when I have the ability. Roy, if you’re listening today, how are you doing? You absolutely did merit that recognition I gave you. It was a pleasure and it was an honour for me to gift you with the gift that I gave you. I look forward to seeing you, Roy.

When you’re talking about Roy, well, you’ve got to be talking about the Legions. I have several Legions—and I hope I have them all; for some reason, I think I’m forgetting one. There’s Espanola Royal Canadian Legion Branch 39; Massey, 432; Elliot Lake, 561, which I am a proud member of, and I’ve rung the bell at the bar—I just wanted to make that known—not while the actual Legion was empty, but when it was full, so the bill was quite hefty the one day I rang it. And over in Thessalon, 182, I rang the bell there as well at the bar. There’s Hornepayne, 194; White River, 169; Wawa, 429; Bruce Mines, 211—I rang the bell there as well—and Richards Landing, 374; I rang the bell there as well.

I’m not sure if some of you know what “ringing the bell” is in a Legion. When you do ring the bell, guess what, you’re paying a round for whoever is in the bar. That’s what you’re actually doing. It’s always fun because you see the reaction: “Who the heck actually rang the bell?” It’s always a pleasure being there and talking to them.

I also want to talk about Darla Hennessey. Darla Hennessey was a huge, huge individual who came out of the military—her and her husband, Howie Hennessey, who were instrumental and great volunteers in supporting the cadets both in Blind River and in Elliot Lake. Darla just recently took her retirement. I was actually at her retirement just a couple of weeks ago.

It’s remarkable, the work that they do. Air cadets are present everywhere. We need to be paying more attention to exactly what they provide and do in our community. It’s really a gift that we have, these young, caring, respectful minds that are there.

Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the young man. I met him when—I always go to the Webbwood Remembrance Day. Small guy, but stocky and quite serious. It’s hard to get him to smile when he has that suit on, but he is very impressive. He’s at Massey every year, standing at attention on the corner of that cenotaph. He’s in Webbwood, standing at attention at every reception or every ceremony that we’re having there. And I often see him in Espanola as well.

It gives you quite a bit of pride, seeing that we have these individuals who are ready to step up, and it’s the level of respect that they have for their fellow legionnaires. I’ve always said this when I’m at events and when I go to schools on that Remembrance Day week and we talk about some of the sacrifices that have been done by those who have come before us to give us the privilege of standing here today. A lot of those individuals got into the military through their experience, as far as what they grew up with in their communities—it was through air cadets, sea cadets, army cadets. They made those ultimate sacrifices to provide us with what we have here today. This is our democracy, as far as what we have.

We look around here in Canada and sometimes we say we have it tough. I use this analogy very often when I talk to constituents: We need to take those horse blinders off and really open up our minds and our hearts to look at what’s not only going on on our streets, in our communities or in our province, in our country, but we need to look at what’s happening around this world. Some of these young cadets, the decisions that they’re making today, are going to be those that are going to be on the front lines for us, defending our democracy and our way of living as well.

My oldest brother, Laurier, who lives in Timmins, who’s a Habs fan—and I forgive you, Laurier; there has got to be one in each family, and you’re the one. He started off in cadets as well in Timmins. I think maybe he kind of laid the path for me to head into cadets when I got into high school. It was just, I guess, something that you did, you know? I jumped into air cadets, along with—oh, jeez. I haven’t said these names in a long time: Sylvin Cloutier. He’s actually in the Kawartha area with MPP Scott. He’s one of her constituents. Dan Lamontagne, Michel Constant and, I believe, André Gervais and Denis Shank were some of those individuals that I went to air cadets with when we first started—Donald Groulx as well. These are all high school friends. Oh, my God, I haven’t said those names in years. But it was, I guess, my brother, who gave me the incentive of joining air cadets.

Laurier, when he did something, he doesn’t do it half—whoops—he doesn’t do it halfway. That was close. That was close. He doesn’t do it halfway. He goes all the way in. He really made us proud, because he ended up then joining the militia, and from the militia, he ended up going to Petawawa.

I remember as a very young lad, with mom and dad and my three other brothers, we went to Petawawa to watch Laurier be in the band and show us what he had learnt while he was in Petawawa. It was quite incredible.


I wanted to share those words, because it’s not often we get these surprise bills. Well, it’s not that it was a surprise bill, but it was a surprise to me today that it was coming up. I wished that I could have had a little bit more time to prepare so we could have a wholesome conversation, because I really wanted to spend more time in regard to highlighting a lot of what Darla has done for cadets in the North Shore area and Blind River: the amount of hours and time that she has spent promoting and helping those cadets in advancement, the training, the opportunities, the roots that she’s laid with them in the importance of volunteering and being a community member.

One of the essential things that cadets do is to identify themselves as, “How can I be a presence in my own community? How can I serve?” I think that service part is something that’s stayed with me, because something along the way is that I’ve always enjoyed to serve. It was either the time that I spent in air cadets serving there; the time that I spent when I first started off my career and raising my family, and I started serving my co-workers as a labour representative; when I ended up relocating to Wawa and served there as well as a labour representative; leaving from that movement and moving into a rapid re-employment program with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities—again, serving people there; and now in my role here serving the good people of Algoma–Manitoulin.

A lot of what I have—to give credit where credit is due—is to my upbringing and my exposure to what I experienced as a young man through cadets. This is a worthwhile initiative to recognizing those young individuals and the contributions that they bring to our communities and the help that they bring. I am glad that I had this opportunity to stand here in my place today and offer a few words on this. I want to congratulate the member for bringing this bill forward. It’s a very worthwhile recognition.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate? Further debate?

Mr. Barrett has moved second reading of Bill 45, An Act to proclaim Ontario Cadets Week. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Second reading agreed to.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Pursuant to standing order 101(h), the bill is referred to the Committee of the Whole House.

Orders of the day?

Hon. Paul Calandra: Committee of the Whole House.

House in Committee of the Whole.

Ontario Cadets Week Act, 2022 / Loi de 2022 sur la Semaine des cadets de l’Ontario

Consideration of the following bill:

Bill 45, An Act to proclaim Ontario Cadets Week / Projet de loi 45, Loi proclamant la Semaine des cadets de l’Ontario.

The Third Deputy Chair (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Are there any comments, questions or amendments to any section of the bill, and if so, to which section?

Seeing none, are the members prepared to vote on the sections of the bill?

Shall section 1 of the bill carry? Carried.

Shall section 2 of the bill carry? Carried.

Shall the short title, section 3, of the bill carry? Carried.

Shall the preamble carry? Carried.

Shall the title of the bill carry? Carried.

Shall Bill 45 carry? Carried.

Shall I report Bill 45 to the House? And I will.

Orders of the day?

Hon. Paul Calandra: I move the Committee of the Whole House rise and report to the House.

The Third Deputy Chair (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

The Committee of the Whole House begs to report one bill without amendment and asks for leave to sit again.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Shall the report be received and adopted? Agreed? Agreed.

Committee of the whole report adopted.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Orders of the day?

Ontario Cadets Week Act, 2022 / Loi de 2022 sur la Semaine des cadets de l’Ontario

Mr. Barrett moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill 45, An Act to proclaim Ontario Cadets Week / Projet de loi 45, Loi proclamant la Semaine des cadets de l’Ontario.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Mr. Toby Barrett: In the interest of time—we’ve had a number of night sittings and there may be some more coming up—but just very briefly, I want to thank the member for Timiskaming–Cochrane and also the member for Algoma–Manitoulin. I feel that you were speaking from experience, of course, but you were speaking for all of us and speaking for many of our colleagues on all sides of the House who perhaps have military experience or perhaps experience in the reserves, in the militia—my time was in the Brantford Armoury 56th Field Regiment—or for those who have direct experience with the cadet program.

I’ll just mention to the member for Timiskaming–Cochrane, I know exactly what you’re saying. My time in basic training—I didn’t polish my boots. I was at war with the corporals, and then I found out my parents were coming to the final parade night. I got a can of Brasso and some boot polish, and the rest is history.

I’ll just say, as well, the army, air and sea cadets offer programs for young people, develop so many skills: physical fitness, leadership, citizenship and teamwork skills. And coming with that, we hear the stories and the camaraderie.

I know there are members here tonight who do wish to speak, and we would be here past midnight if we get into the stories.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate? Further debate?

Mr. Barrett has moved third reading of Bill 45, An Act to proclaim Ontario Cadets Week. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

Third reading agreed to.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): I recognize the government House leader on a point of order.

Hon. Paul Calandra: Madam Speaker, I think if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent to see the clock at 6.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Mr. Calandra is seeking unanimous consent to see the clock at 6. Is it agreed? Agreed.


Private Members’ Public Business

Ending Automobile Insurance Discrimination in the Greater Toronto Area Act, 2022 / Loi de 2022 mettant fin à la discrimination en matière d’assurance-automobile dans le Grand Toronto

Mr. Yarde moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 103, An Act to amend the Insurance Act to prevent discrimination with respect to automobile insurance rates in the Greater Toronto Area / Projet de loi 103, Loi modifiant la Loi sur les assurances pour empêcher la discrimination en ce qui concerne les taux d’assurance-automobile dans le Grand Toronto.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Pursuant to standing order 101, the member has 12 minutes for his presentation.

Mr. Kevin Yarde: It’s an honour to rise here to speak to Bill 103, ending automobile insurance discrimination in the GTA. This bill highlights one of biggest concerns of my constituents and for people all over Brampton. I can’t go a week without hearing about it from my constituents, whether it’s over the phone, through email or at the doors. They’re all fed up with paying sky-high auto insurance premiums just because they live in Brampton, because of their postal codes. The people of Brampton are paying sky-high auto insurance rates that are based on their postal codes, not their driving record. This is what we call postal code discrimination.

It’s absurd that myself and my constituents—if we were to move from Brampton North to Mississauga or to Caledon or to one of the other cities nearby, we would be paying a much lower auto insurance premium. We are being punished for no reason other than simply choosing to live in Brampton. Living in Brampton should not be a punishment. This is why I’m fighting against postal code discrimination and co-sponsoring this bill with my colleagues, who will be speaking shortly.

It’s becoming unaffordable for some folks to drive in Brampton. These folks have perfect driving records, with no accidents and no tickets, but they’re still charged more than $2,000 per year in auto insurance premiums because of their postal codes. Bramptonians are being discriminated against by the auto insurance companies, and this government, unfortunately, has been allowing it to happen. They have let the auto insurance rates rise during each year they’ve been in power.

Now, the government has known about our unaffordable insurance premiums and even promised to address them years ago. This is not an issue that we can’t fix, Madam Speaker. This price gouging could have easily been stopped if this government mandated lower auto insurance premiums, and they have the power to do so. Instead, they are approving premium increases.

I’ve raised it multiple times during question period and during many members’ statements, along with my caucus, and even presented bills and motions on these issues. I’ve written to the Premier and I’ve written to the Minister of Finance, asking them to work with me on this issue. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear back from either of them.

The disheartening thing is to see that my fellow Brampton MPPs from across the aisle, the two MPPs on the government side, both voted down our efforts to end postal code discrimination. This issue affects the whole of Brampton. Postal code discrimination is affecting their ridings as well.

This is also causing serious challenges to our small businesses in Brampton. Brampton is a major transportation hub. Our trucking and taxi limousine industries make up a big portion of our economy. The folks in these industries are our essential workers who are helping to keep our province moving, especially during the pandemic. For some of these folks, auto insurance rates are so high that they’re leaving the industry altogether. They can’t afford to pay their auto insurance premiums as they have to resort to facility insurance, which is a high-risk insurance that is sometimes three times higher than the regular rate. I have heard these concerns from the Airport Taxi Association and the Ontario Dump Truck Association.

The postal code discrimination is so rampant in Brampton that the Brampton city council passed a unanimous motion to take a stand and officially advocate to the government of Ontario to reduce auto insurance rates in Brampton. The city gathered thousands—and I mean thousands—of signatures on their petition for a fair deal for Brampton. Their petition highlights that Brampton needs a fair deal for auto insurance, as Bramptonians are paying some of the highest rates in the province.

Auto insurance is a major expense for Brampton families, as they have to pay rates that are approximately 123% higher than the Ontario average. Now, despite the promises from the government, Bramptonians continue to pay roughly twice the provincial average in auto insurance rates. Change, Madam Speaker, is long overdue.

The official opposition has always fought to bring down auto insurance rates, has repeatedly called on this government to take action on skyrocketing auto insurance rates. In 2018, our caucus introduced a bill that would have ended auto insurance discrimination in the GTA, lowering prices for thousands in the GTA and for thousands of families in the GTA. Unfortunately, this government made things even worse for the GTA families, rejecting that legislation to end postal code discrimination and paving the way for an increase in auto insurance by as much as 9% shortly after taking office.

We introduced another bill in 2019 to cap profits on insurance companies, an attempt to stop the price gouging we were seeing. It would’ve helped make life for Ontarians more affordable, but this government once again voted that down.

When the pandemic first started, we saw Ontarians struggling with the financial implications. Many people lost their jobs, were laid off and had to shift to work from home. They were no longer driving. Their cars were parked in their driveways. I remember driving around Brampton and barely seeing any other drivers in a city that’s usually very active and vibrant.

So I spoke to some of my constituents, and they informed me that they hadn’t driven for weeks or months aside from going to the grocery store, and they were still paying the same price on their auto insurance. They told me when they called their auto insurer, they would give them a few dollars’ rebate a month. Instead, I spoke to way more Bramptonians who had actually seen their rates go up—not down; up—while their cars were parked in their driveway for most of the pandemic.

So we called on the Ford government to give all drivers a 50% break on auto insurance premiums and let the people who lost their jobs or income have their payments deferred during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this didn’t happen. Drivers shouldn’t have had to pay full price for auto insurance while they were doing their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

While many families in Peel are reeling from the impact of the pandemic and struggling to hold on, auto insurers have raked in billions during the pandemic. We need to start putting Peel families first and stop letting wealthy insurance corporations price-gouge drivers.

Once again, Madam Speaker, this government refused to listen and support the people of Ontario in the time of their need. The government promised drivers they would see relief on their insurance payments, but instead all we saw was empty gestures and no concrete action to require insurers to cut rates for their customers by a meaningful margin. They passed regulations that allowed insurance companies to provide rebates for the emergency, but they did not specify the rebate amount, and this is a problem. It was up to the auto insurance companies to decide the rebates, which is why we saw an average reduction of just 7%.

Auto insurance prices have been rising steadily despite promises from two consecutive governments to lower them. The previous Liberal government promised a reduction of 15% that they never managed to deliver on, and this current government used it as an election promise. As we’ve seen, auto insurance premiums increased during each year that they’ve been in power.


As the critic for auto insurance, I met with many of these auto insurance companies to discuss why auto insurance is so expensive in Brampton and why we continue to see postal code discrimination. Aside from a few regulation changes, most of them mentioned fraud as a big factor. I don’t see any statistics to back that up, so I spoke to the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association, which has been trying to get more transparency from the auto insurance companies on this. They haven’t been provided with any of the statistics either that prove that fraud is a factor in why we see Bramptonians get price-gouged and face postal code discrimination.

Over the past few years, as I have been talking to people in Brampton, it has been clear—it has been very clear—these sky high auto insurance rates are making it tough for people to get by, especially as we face wave after wave of this pandemic.

We all know that there are bad drivers out there. There are bad drivers in Brampton, there are bad drivers in Scarborough, there are bad drivers in Toronto, in Niagara—all across Ontario there are bad drivers. Why punish those who are doing the right thing—perfect driving records, no accidents, no tickets? They should not be getting penalized because of the few. We should be rating insurance premiums based on that and not on those few bad drivers out there.

I will continue to stand with Peel families to fight for better auto insurance rates and for more affordability. We ask that the government listen to the people of Brampton and work with the official opposition for fair and affordable auto insurance rates. That starts with passing this bill and ending the postal code discrimination that we see in Ontario.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Mr. Will Bouma: Good evening, Speaker, and welcome, everyone. I would like to thank the member opposite for tabling this bill, because car insurance is something that impacts so many in the province: families, commuters, workers who drive for a living. That is why, as a government, we have implemented numerous measures to help make driving in Ontario more affordable.

We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has put extraordinary financial pressures on people, which is why, in April 2020, the government took quick and decisive action to enable financial relief for drivers, resulting in over $1.3 billion in consumer savings for more than 99% of the market.

The government’s message to automobile insurance companies remains the same: Treat consumers fairly, in a way that reflects the significant financial hardships customers continue to face.

In addition to these consumer savings, our government introduced our multi-year strategy in 2019 known as Putting Drivers First, a blueprint for Ontario’s auto insurance system.

The government has made significant progress in delivering our commitments, including increasing competition by making it easier for insurers to offer more discounts and options to consumers, such as enabling insurers to offer incentive and rebate programs. This was something held back by Liberal-era red tape. Our government broke down those barriers and enabled insurers to provide incentive and rebate programs for drivers.

Increasing innovation, by action FSRA—or the Financial Services Regulatory Authority—took in November 2020 that enabled insurers to develop innovative, usage-based insurance, or UBI, programs: These programs provide an option for drivers to potentially lower their insurance premiums based on kilometres driven or driving habits. As a result, for the first time since 2016, FSRA has reported that two large insurers have launched new UBI programs.

Another innovative initiative our government enabled was a regulatory sandbox, which FSRA launched this past January, to allow insurers to pilot new initiatives in a safe environment before being introduced to the market—another example of cutting and reducing red tape that our government has spearheaded. This was and continues to be something ignored by the Del Duca-Wynne Liberals.

As a government, we must encourage innovation and competition, because that will ultimately lead to lower costs for families and consumers. We are also increasing consumer convenience by enabling electronic communications for customers, including offering electronic proof of insurance, one more thing we have done to make people’s lives easier that previous governments had ignored.

We are also increasing consumer convenience by making it optional to purchase not-at-fault property damage coverage, also known as direct compensation property damage. This is an important change the government is making, as it will be especially helpful for those who own older cars that are worth less than the cost to insure it. It simply does not make sense to force those individuals to pay for that type of coverage if they do not wish to. The Liberals forced you to pay for this, and unfortunately, I’m sure the NDP would do the same.

And finally, but certainly not least, nor the final part of our reform strategy: We are making the supervision of insurance more transparent, dynamic and flexible through a new FSRA rule that defines unfair or deceptive acts or practices.

I’d like now to pivot to the next step in the process. While there is still more to come, for now I’d like to focus on something that was completely ignored by the previous Liberal government: territorial rating. The current rules have not been changed or updated for 17 years, since the previous Liberal government was in power. The population of the province, especially in cities like Brampton, has significantly increased since 2005, the last time the territorial rating rule was updated by government. All those drivers have been lumped together and treated the same by those big insurance companies. That’s wrong.

The Liberal and NDP coalition would be happy to leave good drivers to subsidize bad drivers and pay more than they need to. The NDP bill that we are debating today would not fix the problem—it is not a silver bullet—but raises an interesting point that we, as a government, have already taken steps to address. So thank you to the members opposite for bringing to our attention something this government has already been working on.

The government has taken action to address the issue of territorial rating. Earlier this week, the Minister of Finance issued a letter to FSRA regarding the legacy 2005 Liberal bulletin that outlined 55 territories for the province. This letter sent by the minister was to ensure there is not an unfair territorial rule and that drivers are not being discriminated against when purchasing their mandatory auto insurance policy.

FSRA is implementing a strategy to ensure there is fair and modern rate regulation, including territorial pricing, to ensure lower costs for families. If it were up to the member opposite, they would force good drivers in the GTA to pay more instead of implementing a modern strategy. And despite the Del Duca-Wynne Liberal-NDP coalition, we’ve enabled FSRA to modernize rules so that insurance companies are not discriminating against groups or communities. No other government in Ontario has done this.

The rules should be fair for everyone. But we recognize there is still more to do. I would be remiss not to point out that this bill makes no mention of bulletin A-01/05. The former Financial Services Commission of Ontario, now FSRA, published this bulletin outlining guidelines for insurance companies when proposing changes to rating by territory.

I am going to quote directly from this legacy 2005 bulletin that outlines that insurance companies can divide the province into 55 territories and the GTA into 10. It is important to understand this bulletin, as it would need to be amended in order for the member opposite to accomplish their goals, yet in their bill, there is absolutely no mention of that bulletin at all. Why? They don’t care enough about the GTA to do their homework. Quoting directly:

“There were concerns that there was a trend by insurers to increasingly segment territories by postal code and that territories being proposed may not satisfy the statutory standards set out in the Insurance Act, (i.e., be just and reasonable, reasonably predictive of risk and distinguish fairly between risks).”

The bulletin goes on:

“Maximum number of territories

“No more than 55 territories in the province of Ontario and no more than 10 territories in the city of Toronto.”

The NDP’s bill does not mention this at all, so their bill would not fix the problem. If the NDP was as concerned as they say they are about this issue, they certainly would have reviewed this existing bulletin and made mention of it.


As I said earlier, our government has already sent a letter to FSRA regarding territorial rating to ensure there is not an unfair rule and that drivers are not being discriminated against when purchasing their mandatory auto insurance policy.

If it were up to the members opposite and the NDP, they would continue to politicize this issue. When politicians do that, nothing gets done.

We, on the other hand—a government for the people—trust our regulator and look forward to reviewing their strategy to address this issue. Our government knows how important it is to keep costs down and has taken decisive measures to address territorial rating. Families and workers can depend on our government to stand up for drivers and communities like Brampton and Vaughan and throughout the GTA.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Mr. Faisal Hassan: It is an honour to rise again and to speak on behalf of the decent and hard-working people of York South–Weston. I would like to thank my colleagues from Brampton North, Brampton East and Humber River–Black Creek, who have long advocated for auto insurance reform and an end to postal code discrimination, for co-sponsoring Bill 103.

Families across the greater Toronto area and in my riding of York South–Weston have been struggling with an affordability crisis that has increasingly made life very difficult in our communities. During the pandemic, while cars sat in driveways and accident rates were substantially down, insurance companies brought in record profits, and promised rate relief from the government never happened.

Madam Speaker, auto insurance rates have only added to the affordability crisis we face in Ontario. Many residents in York South–Weston rely on cars to take them to work because their jobs are often outside of the community, and for those facing a two-hour commute by transit means time away from their families. Those fortunate enough to own a car shouldn’t have to face unreasonable insurance rates because of their postal code. These residents, many of whom are front-line and essential workers who have carried us through the pandemic, have to pay some of the highest automobile insurance rates in Ontario.

Bill 103 looks to end the unfair practice of determining auto insurance rates based on where someone lives. The real reasons for postal code discrimination remain unclear. We are not told on what basis certain neighbourhoods are targeted for higher premiums. What is the data used to support these higher costs? What evidence exists to justify a claim that a responsible driver in a safe car is a higher risk simply because of their street address?

Ending postal code discrimination with the passing of this bill will go a long way in levelling the auto insurance playing field and will provide fairness and real insurance rate relief for the first time in decades. The current Premier has said he was against postal code discrimination and urged insurance companies to do the right thing and lower rates. We cannot rely on the good will of insurance companies or on mere words from the government. We need to end postal code discrimination here and now and give drivers the rate relief and fairness that they deserve.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate? I recognize the Minister of Education.

Hon. Stephen Lecce: Thank you very much, Madam Speaker, I appreciate that. I want to thank the member from Aurora–Oak Ridges–Richmond Hill for the singular expression of confidence. Thank you so much to the member. I also want to thank the member from Brantford–Brant for his remarks, specifically in regard to standing up for drivers across the GTHA who continue to experience higher-than-average premiums in comparison to the rest of the province.

I will take this opportunity to remind all members that the bulletin my colleague made reference to has not been revised in 17 years, since 2005, when the former Liberals were in power. My colleague made this point that, when we politicize an issue, fundamentally, nothing will get done. It’s why the Financial Services Regulatory Authority is implementing a strategy to address this issue already.

While I accept that we have to be seized with action to reduce prices for commuters, the first principle before the recognition that insurance rates are high is, do we even want people on the roads in the first place? Do we support commuters—the cost of living—for families who have to drive? Many of us have ridings where driving is not a choice, it is a reality for employment, for education and, obviously, for farmers and folks in rural parts of Ontario. I think of those who are involved in our logistics, our truckers involved in a variety of industries, where we actually need to use our roads for productive purposes, for our economy and for our quality of life.

The reason why I mention that point is because I do believe, beyond the differences on the Financial Services Regulatory Authority’s review of this matter in real time, it’s the fundamental ideological opposition by some members in this House—notably, Liberals—who have stood in the defence of carbon taxation which makes those very commuters’ lives more difficult. It undermines the ability for them to make ends meet, and the members opposite rightfully pointed out, as did the member from Brantford–Brant, the necessity for affordability. This should not be a talking point; it should be a realization achieved through public policy.

Here is an example where Liberals and New Democrats could join Conservatives today to make life affordable: it is to stand up to a regressive form of taxation imposed on commuters, known as a carbon tax. That is one way, in addition to insurance reduction, that we can make life easier for families, for commuters, for seniors and for the small businesses that depend on our roads, our highways and our logistic routes across Ontario. April 1, we saw the federal carbon tax increase by 25%: It went from $40 to $50 per tonne. That’s a lot of money. It’s a tax on everything.

So I hope, in the further discussions in this House by the members opposite, the Liberals will also take an opportunity to explain why insurance rates rose so sharply under their tenure and, juxtaposed by their history of neglect on this file, why today they’re ill prepared to act—the inaction, when it comes to affordability, when they can say to their federal cousins in Ottawa whom they have good relationships with, “Even if you agree with carbon taxation, perhaps now, amid a time of recovery, is not the time to make life less affordable for parents.”

We need to make life affordable. That is why we’ve taken action. It’s why we’re working with government, with the Financial Services Regulatory Authority. It’s why we’re cutting taxes, cutting the fees, including Ontario eliminating licence plates to make life affordable for commuters in Ontario.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate.

Mr. Tom Rakocevic: It’s an honour to rise in support of a vital NDP bill, of which I am a co-sponsor, to end postal code automobile insurance discrimination in the GTA. I want to thank the member from Brampton North for tabling it today.

I must say, I’m disappointed to hear some of the words from the government because I thought that they would see this bill as an opportunity to turn the page on their handling of the auto insurance file in Ontario. We’ve seen them move quickly when they want to. But for four years—you need only ask the residents of Brampton, Scarborough, Vaughan, northwest Toronto communities like mine and the Premier’s, “How’s your auto insurance?” Do you know what they’ll tell you? “It sucks.” That’s what they’ll tell you. The reality is, in four years, we have seen no action. Here is an opportunity to turn the page.

When people move into these neighbourhoods, do you know what they say? One of the first things they’ll tell you is, “Oh my God, my auto insurance rates have gone through the roof.” That is what they’ll tell you. They’re drivers with clean records, drivers with years of experience, and they’re punished and treated as a hazard because of a postal code change.

What this government is doing is making the exact same mistake that the Liberals before them on this file have made. The Liberals set the bar this low. What they have done is they’ve allowed auto insurance executives—the friends of Conservatives and Liberals—to write policy for them. So you see prepared notes that for sure were done in consultation with auto insurance executives, justifying why drivers in Ontario are being gouged.

These neighbourhoods in the GTA are not just the highest-paying postal codes in Ontario, and they’re not just paying some of the highest rates in Canada, they’re paying some of the highest rates in all of North America.

This is the opportunity for this government to turn the page on the fact that they voted against changes to this, to be able to actually fix this postal code discrimination, right when this Legislature took seats. Right in the beginning, when we all took seats here, we introduced legislation to change that. They didn’t take it, when I introduced legislation here to bring transparency to the industry, to let people know why it is that insurers are crying like they have no money and yet they post profit after profit. I tell you this: It has never been more profitable to be an insurer today.


They can explain why, during the pandemic when cars were parked, people were paying huge amounts. In fact, they hid the fact that rates were continuing to climb during this period and changed the system so that rate increases can be just simply preapproved.

Today’s bill to end automobile postal code insurance discrimination allows them to turn the page and tell people living in Vaughan, Brampton, northwest Toronto, the Premier’s own riding and Scarborough that this government has their backs, not the backs of their buddies in the auto insurance companies.

Do the right thing: Support this bill.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Ms. Sara Singh: It’s always an honour to rise here in the House and contribute to debate. I want to thank my colleague from Brampton North and all of the co-sponsors for bringing this important piece of legislation forward, yet again asking the government to do the right thing.

As a member from Brampton and as deputy leader of the official opposition here, we have heard time and time again from people across the province and in my own riding that the auto insurance rates are just skyrocketing for drivers in the province of Ontario. And when the government has had the opportunity, time and time again they have chosen to do nothing to help provide relief to drivers here in the province. Their own members have legislation on the order paper that they have not yet passed.

These are important pieces of legislation that we need to consider, and we need to find a way to help drivers. This isn’t just about the auto insurance rates; this is about affordability for drivers and people in our province. The rates are going up when it comes to auto insurance. Gas prices are skyrocketing, Speaker. The cost of housing is rising. This government just doesn’t seem to get it, that people in our province are struggling to make ends meet.

Helping to reduce their auto insurance premiums was actually something that this government campaigned on in 2018. But when we go door-knocking and we connect with our constituents and we read our emails, it’s very clear that the government has failed to deliver on that promise: yet another broken promise by this government. It’s unfortunate.

They’ve had the opportunity to lower the rates, provide relief to drivers, regulate the increases. They have chosen not to do that. They can stop postal code discrimination, which impacts the community of Brampton, for example, and other GTA communities disproportionately. Drivers’ insurance premiums should be based on their driving record, not on their postal code. That is currently the way that the system is structured, which means that in communities like mine, drivers are forced to pay more, despite having good driving records. I speak to people in Brampton who have moved, for example, from Mississauga to Brampton. They see their rates double when they come into our communities. And if they move out of the community over to Caledon, they see those rates drop, sometimes by half, Speaker. It’s not as though their driving record changed just because they crossed a city line. We need to fix this. We need to make it better.

When I’m out door-knocking and speaking with constituents, they tell me that the rates are just too darned high, and the government has done nothing to help make that better for folks and help lower those auto insurance premiums. What they have done, however, is continue to listen to insurance industry insiders, their friends and their buddies, rather than hard-working Ontarians and people in Brampton.

Speaker, people in this province deserve so much better. They deserve a government that is going to commit to its promises and actually deliver. That’s what New Democrats have been fighting for. We have been, and we will continue to fight to lower auto insurance rates, because we know that the rates are too darned high, and people in this province deserve so much better.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Mr. Gurratan Singh: It shouldn’t be a punishment to live in Brampton. It shouldn’t be a punishment to live in Scarborough or in parts of Toronto. But the Conservative government has made it a punishment to live in these communities by allowing billion-dollar corporations, billion-dollar insurance companies to overcharge Ontarians, purely based on their postal code. It is wrong. And every time we bring up this issue, all we hear from Conservatives is exactly what their insider friends and buddies in the insurance industry tell them. Grow a spine. Stand up for the people of Ontario who voted you in, instead of your insider insurance company buddies, because, ultimately, people are struggling right now.

The Conservative government had four years. They had four years to reduce car insurance rates. And what is the track record of this Conservative government after four years? They voted down two NDP bills that would have reduced car insurance rates. They refused every single NDP proposal to make life more affordable. And in the end, four years later, every single year we have seen car insurance rates go up and up, and people are continuing to struggle. It is so sad that in many parts of Ontario there are communities and there are people who are paying more for their car insurance than for their household mortgage. What greater injustice is there when you’re in communities where people are already struggling to make ends meet and they add this extra burden of insurance that is just crippling them economically?

I want to take a moment to really hone in on this fact. We often say, “Liberal, Tory, same old story.” But when it comes to car insurance, it’s the greatest example of “Liberal, Tory, same old story,” because, just like the Liberals before them, the Conservative government has done everything in their power to side with their insider friends in the insurance industry. The result is that people across our province continue to struggle.

Ontarians deserve better. They deserve to live in a province where life is affordable. We, in the NDP, are committed to fighting for Ontarians, to standing with them instead of the insurance companies, standing with drivers who are struggling to make ends meet instead of the Conservatives, who are siding with their buddies in the insurance industry. Ontarians deserve better. Drivers deserve better. We, in the NDP, are committed to fighting and standing alongside them.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): I don’t believe there’s time left on the clock. Therefore, I will return to the member from Brampton North, who has two minutes to reply.

Mr. Kevin Yarde: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I want to thank my colleagues from Brampton Centre, Brampton East, Humber River–Black Creek and York South–Weston for their contributions to this bill and for co-sponsoring Bill 103, Ending Automobile Insurance Discrimination in the Greater Toronto Area Act.

There is no question that postal code discrimination has been going on for many years. During the Liberal government, they promised to lower auto insurance by 15%. They didn’t do that. In 2018, when the current government came to power, they promised to lower auto insurance. But that hasn’t happened, Madam Speaker. We continue to see, year after year, our rates skyrocket, not just in Brampton but right across the GTA.

As we all know, life is getting more expensive. Hydro bills are going up. The cost of food is going up. The cost of gasoline is going up. Ontarians need relief. They need relief now. So I’m asking this government to support this bill to provide relief for Ontarians. Now, I’m hoping today that they’ll support the bill because the time is right.

During the pandemic, people in Ontario did the right thing. They were told to stay home, not to drive, and they did that.

I would like to also thank the Ontario Airport Taxi Association, the Ontario Dump Truck Association, as well as the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association and all of the constituents—not just in Brampton North, but right across Brampton and across the GTA—who continue to contact us and ask us to lower auto insurance and give them a break.

I’m hoping that the government has heard our side and that they’ll come work with us to lower auto insurance and help the people of Ontario get a break, and to make life more affordable.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): The time provided for private members’ public business has expired.

Mr. Yarde has moved second reading of Bill 103, An Act to amend the Insurance Act to prevent discrimination with respect to automobile insurance rates in the Greater Toronto Area. 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 opposed to the motion will please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

A recorded division being required, the vote on this item of private members’ public business will be deferred to the next proceeding of deferred votes.

Second reading vote deferred.


Orders of the Day

Hungarian Heritage Month Act, 2022 / Loi de 2022 sur le Mois du patrimoine hongrois

Mr. Cuzzetto moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill 50, An Act to proclaim Hungarian Heritage Month / Projet de loi 50, Loi proclamant le Mois du patrimoine hongrois.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Mr. Rudy Cuzzetto: I’m honoured to rise today to speak on the third reading of Bill 50, an act to proclaim the month of October as Hungarian Heritage Month. I would just like to thank the members from both sides of the House for their support on this bill through second reading, at committee and again here tonight. I’d also like to thank everyone who came forward to support this bill to help recognize a community that has contributed so much to Ontario and to Canada and to me personally: from Dr. Farkas, our family doctor in Port Credit for 42 years, at an office that has now become my constit office; to the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre in Toronto, where I had my mechanical valve replacement surgery; to the Mississauga Canoe Club, where the great Hungarian sprint canoer Tamás Buday coached my sons, who went on to compete in regattas at the Welland Canal, which was built by Hungarian immigrants 100 years ago.

At the House of Commons, a great Hungarian Canadian Liberal MP, Paul Szabo, represented Mississauga South for 18 years. And here at Queen’s Park, I’ve had the honour to work as a parliamentary assistant to the President of the Treasury Board, now the Minister of Finance, who spoke about his own family’s story at second reading, moving from Hungary to Ontario after World War II. I know the minister wanted to speak on this bill today, and I know all members will join me in wishing him a quick recovery from COVID-19.

As members know, I worked at Ford Motor Company for 31 years, often with parts that were supplied by Linamar, one of the largest auto parts manufacturers in the world, which was founded by a Hungarian refugee, Frank Hasenfratz, here in Guelph. Mr. Hasenfratz passed away in January. Again, I want to offer my condolences to his family and friends and everyone at Linamar.

Speaker, at second reading, I spoke about the leadership of Mr. Hasenfratz. When Russian tanks rolled into Hungary in 1956, he helped lead the Hungarian resistance, and his unit destroyed two Russian tanks. Sixty-six years later, as more Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine, and for the same reason, I just want to thank the Premier for doing everything he can to help over 40,000 Ukrainian refugees find new homes and new jobs here in Ontario, including some who were visiting family and friends in my riding of Mississauga–Lakeshore, and now they have no home in Ukraine to return to. Like Mr. Hasenfratz and the 37,000 Hungarian refugees who came to Canada in 1956, I know they will have an incredible and positive impact on our economy, our culture and our politics.

As I said at second reading, in 1956 there were only two countries in the world accepting Hungarian refugees without any quota: Venezuela and Canada. And I hope the federal government will welcome as many Ukrainian refugees as possible now.

Speaker, if Bill 50 is passed, Ontario will become the first province in Canada to proclaim Hungarian Heritage Month. I was very proud to bring this bill forward on behalf of all Hungarian Canadian communities. This includes the First Hungarian Community Group of Mississauga, which meets every Friday at the Carmen Corbasson Community Centre in Mississauga–Lakeshore. I know that the Hungarian Canadian community in all of our ridings will appreciate your support for this bill, which will finally provide the appropriate recognition for their contributions. I look forward to celebrating Hungarian Heritage Month together.

I want to thank the consul general of Hungary for all his work, as well, to support this bill—and I want to congratulate the Hungarian community—so that we can celebrate October as Hungarian Heritage Month.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Mr. Chris Glover: I’m glad this motion has been brought forward to declare Hungarian Heritage Month. It’s an important part of our history. It’s an important part of Europe’s history. I just want to provide a bit of context for this too, because there was a great deal of heroism demonstrated by the Hungarian people in the 1956 revolt against the Soviet Union.

We’ve seen many periods of incredible heroism, and today I’d just beg the indulgence of the Legislature just to mention that today is the 105th anniversary of the Vimy Ridge battle. This was the battle that defined Canada. Two of my great-grandfathers and my great-uncle fought at Vimy Ridge. My one great-grandfather was gassed and he also had part of his foot shot off. He spent the next 10 years at the Christie Street hospital, then died from his wounds eventually. The Christie Street hospital is just a few kilometres from this Legislature where we’re speaking today. I want to salute the heroism of all of the Canadians, and celebrate that heroism for all of their descendants, for the people who fought in Vimy Ridge, because it was actually one of the defining moments for Canada.

The other battle that’s going on, and it’s very much like the revolt in 1956 in Hungary, is the invasion of Ukraine. I just want to take a moment to celebrate the incredible heroism demonstrated by the people of Ukraine in resisting this absolutely horrific human rights violation, this war crime that’s happening in Ukraine. We’re reading about it every day. We’ve seen the bodies of civilians displayed on the streets. We’ve seen tanks and buildings, apartment buildings—it just seems so surreal when you see these images on the screens. You see modern-day cars, people in modern clothes, and then you see these bombed-out shells of apartment buildings because of Putin’s invasion. It absolutely must be stopped.

I understand that refugees from Ukraine will be arriving on our shores very quickly. I know all levels of government have reached out to provide support. I would encourage anybody who is listening now to go to the Ukrainian Canadian Congress website if you have a spare room or if you can offer support to some of the refugees who will be arriving. There’s a sign-up form on their website. I encourage people to do that, to do what we can directly to help the people who will be coming from Ukraine.

I mention this in context of Hungarian Heritage Month. When I was in university, at the University of Toronto, there was a deli right in the middle of the campus called Huron Deli. The couple that ran it at the time were John and Margaret. John and Margaret were refugees from the 1956 revolution, and John had been in prison under the Soviet era. He was imprisoned because he was working for the American consulate. His job was to go and get groceries for the American consulate. He would write down a list. He would write down, you know, “apples,” and he would write down the price of the apples, and he would write down “vegetables” and all the prices, so he had this price list. He was arrested on his way back to the American consulate to deliver these vegetables and accused of espionage, of giving secrets to the American consulate, because he had this grocery list. He was put in prison, and he was tortured in the prison.

If anybody has read The Bridge at Andau—it’s a James Michener book. James Michener, during the revolution, when people were streaming across the bridge at Andau to escape the Soviet Union during those four days of liberation, was interviewing people who were coming out. There were just horrific descriptions of torture that people had suffered at the hands of the Soviet Union. The Hungarians fought so bravely against the Soviets coming back. They had no weapons. Sometimes they would actually put broomsticks out of the basement windows to lock up the wheels of the tanks that were rolling back into Hungary when the Soviets took the country back. There was incredible bravery.


John told me that they opened the prisons, so he was able to escape the prisons, and he went to his sister’s home. At his sister’s home, there was this woman named Margaret. He hadn’t met her before, but he said, “Look, I’m leaving the country because if the Soviets come back I’m going to end up back in prison.” So he and Margaret left the country and they got married, and they came to Toronto.

They settled in Toronto and they created the Huron Deli. Thirty years later, in the 1980s, I was working for them at the Huron Deli. They also ran a cafeteria at the Sidney Smith building at the University of Toronto.

So I salute the incredible heroism of the Hungarian people in that revolt in 1956, the incredible heroism of the Hungarian people for fighting against the Soviet Union, and eventually being liberated in 1990.

The history of Hungary, the incredible richness of the culture, of the music, of the food: All of that needs to be celebrated. So I thank the member opposite for bringing forward this motion to celebrate Hungarian Heritage Month.

There is a piece of Hungarian history not just in John and Margaret’s story, but in all of the stories of Hungarians who have come to this country, including a good friend of mine, Rob Pahmer. I didn’t even know Rob was Hungarian. I had hired a guy to help me build a workshop in my backyard. Anyway, my friend Rob came by and this other guy found out that Rob’s family was from Hungary and they started speaking Hungarian. That’s how I found out Rob was actually Hungarian.

It’s incredible how that history and heritage is actually in our society but we’re not always aware of it, so I thank the member for bringing forward this motion. It will help us to become more aware of the importance of Hungarian history and of the incredible contributions that the Hungarian people have made to our country.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Hon. Michael A. Tibollo: Madam Speaker, I am truly honoured to rise today in the House to speak about Bill 50, Hungarian Heritage Month Act. This has been brought forward by my good friend and colleague the member from Mississauga–Lakeshore. I’m honoured to be here and to speak after him and my colleague from across the way.

Canadians of Hungarian heritage have had a vibrant and rich culture, and they have an incredible history right here in Canada, and of course, across the province of Ontario. A strong majority of Canadians of Hungarian heritage arrived in the country as refugees following the anti-Soviet revolution that took place in Hungary in 1956. Never before or since that period in our history have Hungarians arrived in this country in such large numbers. We know that, as of today, over 120,000 Canadian residents claim Hungarian as their ancestry. This includes, of course, even members in this very Legislature, including my good friend and colleague the Minister of Finance.

Ontario is also particularly blessed to have a strong Hungarian population within Toronto and the GTA, where we have that great concentration. While just under 1,000 people of Hungarian heritage call my riding of Vaughan–Woodbridge home, their culture is very prevalent in our community.

The majority of Hungarian immigrants to Canada have been Roman Catholics but Protestants has also established themselves in communities in the province of Ontario. Almost every day, Speaker, I drive by the First Hungarian Baptist Church, whose services are led by Pastor Dániel Püsök, a cultural leader in our community. I thank the pastor and his congregation for calling our community home.

Speaker, Hungarians who first arrived in Ontario were seeking refuge from the extreme poverty in some parts of rural Hungary. Those who arrived later were mostly political refugees who wanted to escape political persecution. Many of the refugees who fled during the revolution feared retaliation by the Soviet authorities and their Hungarian allies for their participation in, or even just support for, a revolt against Communist rule. Many of the Hungarians who came to Canada in recent decades came because they felt discriminated against in the neighbouring states that have very few Hungarian communities.

Today, Canadians of Hungarian heritage contribute greatly to the cultural fabric of the province and country. They have made incredible contributions in the arts, science, business, finance, tech and in sport. In fact, some sports, such as competitive water polo and fencing, were first introduced to Canada by those of Hungarian descent.

I would also like to recognize a few Hungarians who I have met and established strong working relationships with while I have served here in government: Mr. Sandor Balla, president of the Hungarian Canadian Business Association, whose organization represents many diverse Canadian Hungarian businesses. Its aim is to promote and enhance the relationship between Canadian and Hungarian companies, organizations and individuals to promote trade and business relations between Hungary, Canada and, of course, Ontario. I was proud to join Mr. Balla and his organization at the Hungarian Canadian Cultural Centre in North York last month, where they held a gala with 100% of the proceeds going directly to those impacted by the conflict in the Ukraine.

I also want to acknowledge Mr. Valér Palkovits, the consul general of Hungary in Toronto, for everything he does on behalf of Hungarians in Canada and Ontario. He is truly a remarkable leader, and I am proud to call him a true friend to the province of Ontario.

Lastly, I want to acknowledge Mária Vass-Salazar, Hungary’s ambassador to Canada. She has been a career diplomat for more than two decades. Prior to coming to Canada, she was head of the department for northern Europe, overseeing bilateral relations with 13 European countries. Previously, she headed the science diplomacy department to promote Hungarian science, technology and innovation internationally. She was also the head of section for NATO affairs and was a political officer to the Hungarian delegation when Hungary joined the NATO alliance in 1999.

Madam Speaker, you may ask why Hungarian Heritage Month is an important piece of legislation. It’s important because it’s a piece of legislation that recognizes all immigrants that come to this country and their roots, their traditions. It recognizes the people that continue to build a strong and vibrant Canada by giving us insight into other cultures, other heritages and, of course, other foods. It also is extremely important because it roots the children that are Hungarian, or whatever nationality we happen to be celebrating in the province of Ontario—it gives those children the roots, the customs, the traditions. And as we all know, health and mental health are based on having those deep roots and those attachments to family, to culture.

So advancing Hungarian Heritage Month and providing the opportunity for the Hungarian community to celebrate not only amongst themselves but also with all of us, is extremely important to build a stronger, more vibrant Canada and, of course, province of Ontario.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Ms. Peggy Sattler: I am pleased to rise tonight to participate in the debate on Bill 50, An Act to proclaim Hungarian Heritage Month. Once this bill is passed, every October in this province people will come together to recognize and celebrate the rich cultural traditions and history of the Hungarian people, as well as the contributions that Hungarian immigrants have made to our social and economic fabric in Ontario.

I appreciate the minister recognizing the Minister of Finance and his Hungarian heritage. I’m very proud to share that our leader, Andrea Horwath, is also of Hungarian descent, and one of the many distinguished Hungarians who have made Ontario their home. Andrea’s father—the leader of the official opposition, apologies—her father was an ethnic Hungarian living in Slovakia, but very proud of his Hungarian heritage.


I also have a bit of a connection to Hungary myself. Transylvania, of course, is an area of Romania now, but for centuries it was part of Hungary, and there are many Hungarians who make Transylvania their home. My father was born in Transylvania, and, interestingly enough, the Hungarian border changed after World War I, and my father’s eldest sister—they were all born in the same house in this little village in Transylvania, and his sister’s passport says “Hungary,” because that’s where the border was when she was born, and the youngest child’s passport says “Romania,” because the border changed. It’s kind of interesting that they were born in the very same house in this tiny little village and the border switched.

The fact is that neither of them claim Hungarian or Romanian identity; they were ethnic Germans, so it was an ethnic German enclave in Transylvania that was very much influenced by the cultures of both Hungary and Romania.

I had the delightful privilege of going with my father to visit his village in Transylvania and seeing what that was like where he grew up. We also spent some time in Budapest in Hungary, and what a marvellous city that is. One of the things that impressed me so much about Budapest is their public transit system includes boat transportation down the river that splits Buda and Pest, so you can take a lovely cruise along the river for the cost of a ticket for their public transit system. That was a highlight of our trip to Hungary—and, of course, the food. Hungarian food has been very much a part of my upbringing—Hungarian goulash, schnitzel, chicken paprikash, cabbage rolls, strudel. It is seven o’clock, and none of us have had dinner so what I’m invoking with this food I’m sure is making people hungry.

I also want to recognize Budapest Restaurant, which is very much a London institution. It’s one of London’s oldest restaurants. It has been around for more than 60 years and has a loyal and thriving clientele. When I was a young person and attending Western University in London, I remember Budapest Restaurant, and when I moved back to London later in my life, the restaurant was still there, and it still is. That shows you the quality of the food that is served in that restaurant and also the experience that diners are able to enjoy when they attend that restaurant for a meal.

I wanted to commend the member on the preamble to his private member’s bill. I think that it’s a very detailed preamble, which is really helpful to get the sense of what Hungarian immigrants have contributed to our province and our country, and the importance of recognizing and proclaiming Hungarian Heritage Month.

Canada has “350,000 people of Hungarian ... descent, as well as Hungarian-speaking immigrants from other parts of Europe, including Transylvania,” as I mentioned. Nearly half of those people of Hungarian descent live in Ontario and have certainly contributed in many, many ways to our cultural activities—Alanis Morissette, Grammy and Juno award-winning musician; Robert Lantos, a member of the Order of Canada; and philanthropist Peter Munk are just some of the famous Hungarians—as well as the leader of the official opposition and the Minister of Finance—who have made Ontario their home.

I’m happy to support this bill today, Speaker, and thanks once again to the member for bringing it forward.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate? Further debate? Further debate?

Seeing none, Mr. Cuzzetto has moved third reading of Bill 50, An Act to proclaim Hungarian Heritage Month.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

Third reading agreed to.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Orders of the day? I recognize the government House leader.

Hon. Paul Calandra: No further business.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): The government House leader has moved adjournment of the House. There being no further business, this House stands adjourned until Monday, April 11 at 9 a.m.

The House adjourned at 1856.