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Ontario Hansard - 22-March2012



Mr. Rob Leone: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to the recent news that the government is backtracking on its hospital expansion projects that they promised leading up to the 2011 general election. Time and again, we've seen promises for hospital infrastructure made before an election and quickly abandoned afterwards. As hospitals are the most important provincial institution in many communities, it is disappointing that they are at risk due to the government's constant bad spending habits on priorities that do not align with the people of the province of Ontario.

I have always been concerned that the government was going to break their promises regarding these showy announcements. This is why, four months ago, I introduced a private member's resolution to hold the government accountable by having them table a set of detailed plans for hospital expansion projects. The government refused to produce these documents, and it is clear that the reason the government didn't respond to my motion and table these details surrounding the hospital expansion projects is because they didn't want to table their back-of-a-napkin seat-saver plans.

It is clear that this government knew full well that they wouldn't follow through with the hospital expansion projects but pushed ahead with the announcements anyway. The government needs to come clean with Ontarians. They need to tell them what hospitals will be cut and table the detailed plans that the members of the governing party said that they would table. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti: On March 25, members of the Greek community from around the world celebrate Greece's National Day of Independence. March 25 is observed both as a national and religious day of celebration for Greeks. It is a national holiday commemorating Greece's war of independence from centuries of Ottoman rule and is also considered one of the holiest days for Greek Orthodox Christians, celebrating the Annunciation of the Theotokos.

Greece's desire for self-determination was fuelled by Greeks who chose to follow in the tradition of self-government enshrined in ancient Greece, the world's first democracy. Thousands of years of culture and history have since embodied the modern state of Greece.

The Greek community here in Ontario has thrived for over 100 years, contributing immensely to the political, economic and social fabric of our province. Be it in business or in academia, Greeks have always played an important role in shaping our province's civic and cultural institutions. Today at Queen's Park, I had the honour of participating in the Greek flag-raising ceremony where we celebrated Greece's rich history and statehood.

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge several distinguished guests from the Greek community who are here with us this afternoon: Consul General Dimitris Azemopoulos; Nikona Georgakopoulos, the president of the Greek community; and Bishop Christoforos of the Greek Orthodox Church.

Mr. Speaker, using my best Greek possible, Zito É Ellas, Zito to Ontario, and Zito O Kanadas.


Mr. Rod Jackson: Today, I'd like to recognize an initiative in my community that truly understands the importance of small business in Barrie. The Creative Space is a new generation, co-working environment that gives freelancers, start-ups and microbusinesses the opportunity to work and collaborate in a creative environment.

It's the first initiative of its kind in Simcoe county and is connecting all types of creative, young businesses to each other under one roof. Each business must also demonstrate their commitment to the community through positive efforts of social, environmental and cultural change-certainly things that contribute to the fibre of our communities.

Small business is big business in Barrie and, indeed, in Ontario and the rest of Canada. More people are employed by small business than any other segment in our economy. We need to ensure that the small business with four employees this year can be the business that has 10, 15, 20 employees next year and the year after that.

Next week, our office will combine efforts with Creative Space to support small business in our community and give them information that will help them grow-information about things that the government has available for them through their different agencies.

I'd like to thank Creative Space for their efforts and their support to create jobs in Barrie-one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.


Mr. Jagmeet Singh: Many of my constituents have contacted me with concerns regarding recent events in India. On March 31, India will end its quasi-moratorium on the death penalty by hanging Balwant Singh Rajoana to death.

I have always been proud of Canada's unwavering commitment to human rights in regard to its position on the death penalty. Canada's stance echoes that of the United Nations, which has called for a moratorium on the death penalty. The death penalty undermines the dignity of life. Amnesty International describes the death penalty as the "ultimate denial of human rights. It is the premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state. This cruel, inhumane"-and barbaric tradition-"and degrading punishment is done in the name of justice."

Canada should seize on this opportunity to reiterate our stance on human rights and support the global abolition of the death penalty. With a $1.3-billion annual trade between Ontario and India, we should encourage India to move in the right direction towards a greater, more democratic society and a more free and open society and encourage the same humanitarian values that we have here in Canada. It is imperative that we urge not only India but all nations in the world to support the United Nations' moratorium on the death penalty and to abolish this brutal and archaic practice, which sanctions the state to take a human's life.


Mr. Joe Dickson: I rise in the House today to acknowledge a special part of our local heritage in my riding of Ajax-Pickering. Located in the hamlet of Greenwood, Pickering Museum Village educates and entertains thousands of visitors annually. Take a step back in time and explore the 19 beautifully restored heritage buildings, mostly from the early to mid-1800s. You will see a working blacksmith shop, general store, schoolhouse, steam barn, chapel, and period gardens and orchards.

Our provincial government contributed almost $300,000 to restore the Brougham Hotel, located on the grounds of Pickering Museum Village, and I was proud to attend that opening. That was approximately one third of the entire project cost.

Later this evening-tonight, Thursday-the Pickering Museum Village Foundation will host their 14th annual general meeting and prepare for another successful season. Plans are currently under way to secure funding and to plan for further expansions, including a brand new theatre, kitchen and visitor service centre.

I look forward to seeing Pickering Museum Village grow as they continue to boost local tourism and keep our heritage alive and well, thanks to the village foundation, the Pickering mayor, all of city council and all residents of Pickering.


Mrs. Jane McKenna: I rise to address the government's announcement earlier this week to close the Thistletown Regional Centre in Etobicoke and transfer the children's mental health services offered there to local mental health agencies in the community.


This is a very specialized facility that treats some of Ontario's most vulnerable: clients with complex mental health, behavioural and development challenges. And what we've been hearing is that there simply aren't options in community services that can accommodate the needs of those served by Thistletown.

We in the Ontario PC caucus are mindful of the need to optimize health care delivery to provide value for money, but we seriously question the ability of the system to address the needs of the 400 children and youth who are in day programs and the 15 individuals who live at Thistletown.

The process is slated to take place over the next two years, so we fully expect the Minister of Children and Youth Services will be able to monitor progression, and we expect that his ministry will provide regular and rigorous assurances that quality of care is not compromised at any point. As PC critic for children and youth services, I will certainly be demanding those assurances.


Mr. Bob Delaney: Ontario is creating birth centres, where mothers and their babies can receive great care at good value. Its part of our plan as a government to deliver more care in our community and outside of hospitals.

This week, the province announced plans for two birthing centres as pilot projects. They'll be run in partnership with Ontario's midwives, who attended more than 15,000 births last year. This will give mothers more choices, while providing good value by letting hospitals focus on high-risk care.

I guess, in this vein, I'm particularly proud to have played a role in the recent phase 2 expansion at Credit Valley Hospital, which doubled their maternity suite. That will enable us in Mississauga to provide more care for high-risk cases.

This proposal is part of Ontario's action plan for health care, which is going to move more procedures out of hospitals, providing the right care at the right time and delivering value for taxpayers.

Ontario is taking action to improve women's health centre options now, with new ideas like birthing centres.

This Ontario government has a plan to strengthen universal public health care by improving the way we serve mothers and help build families with good, sound, common sense ideas like birthing centres.


Mr. Gilles Bisson: I rise today in order to continue on what we raised here in the House yesterday, and that is the chronic problem we're having in the northeastern region when it comes to CCACs, and I have to believe it's the same in other parts of the province.

We have literally tens of people calling every week in our Hearst office, tens of people calling in to Kap and Timmins complaining that the CCAC has been reviewing their assessment as far as need and has been reducing the amount of hours they're getting in order to be able to stay at home.

I think that not a member in this House doesn't understand that the better we're able to care for people in their homes, the better we're able to make sure there's a better health outcome, but the more money we save, because they don't have to be in a hospital or they don't have to be in a long-term-care facility.

Now, we met with the CCAC last Friday. We had a long conversation, specifically about all the cases, or at least some of the cases, that we had at that point, and they have endeavoured to do a review of these particular cases. However, the problem is this: There is $116 million in the pot for northeastern Ontario, and there's more need than there is dollars. So the CCAC is saying, "We're going to reassess people so we can move services to those who are more in need and in need of more acute care.

I understand why the CCAC is doing it, but there's a whole bunch of people who are getting their services cut, and they're going to fail. They're the ones who are going to get sicker, and they're going to end up being back in hospitals and long-term-care facilities.

I call on this government in its budget to hopefully rectify that issue, so we don't have people going into hospitals and long-term-care facilities when not needed.


Mr. Victor Fedeli: Municipalities in my riding are joining together with a common voice to oppose a recommended change to the Ontario building code, part 8. That change would require denitrification, phosphorous removal and tertiary treatment for on-site septic systems within vulnerable areas deemed to be significant threats to drinking water sources.

Even the North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority opposes the proposed changes for tertiary treatment systems, because it is a blanket approach to reducing the significance of such threats, especially given the new building code requirement for mandatory inspections of these same systems.

These systems are significantly more costly than conventional septic systems and can result in rural home owners in parts of this province being forced to sell or walk away from their properties.

I want to read the resolutions passed by the councils of both the city of North Bay and the municipality of East Ferris directed to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing:

"Be it resolved that the proposed changes to part 8 of the Ontario building code recommended by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing requiring the installation of tertiary treatment systems for new or replacement septic systems within vulnerable areas, as described in the drinking water source protection assessment reports, where septic systems are deemed to be a significant threat not be approved."

The township of Chisholm passed a similar resolution supporting the comments from the North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority.

I ask the minister to reconsider this proposed change.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The following members have given notice of their dissatisfaction with the answers to their questions given by the Minister of Health today. These matters will be debated at 6 p.m. on March 27 and March 28: the member from Nepean-Carleton, the member from Simcoe-Grey, the member from Kitchener-Waterloo, the member from Newmarket-Aurora, the member from Parkdale-High Park and the member from Essex.

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