The House met at 1015.


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

Prayers.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I wish to acknowledge this land as a traditional gathering place for many Indigenous nations, most recently the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

This being the first sitting Monday of the month, we will now have the Canadian national anthem, followed by the royal anthem.

Playing of the national anthem/Écoute de l’hymne national.

Playing of the royal anthem/Écoute de l’hymne royal.

MEMBERS’ STATEMENTS

ANTI-RACISM ACTIVITIES


Mr. Terence Kernaghan: Mr. Speaker, last week my community and our province experienced an unspeakable tragedy. Words are not enough to express the sorrow and anger we are all feeling. We mourn for a child who is left without his family and we mourn for three generations of a family taken from us too soon. As a community, we are united in grief and anger.

The London Muslim community is well known for selfless works of kindness and their support for the broader community. I’ve been welcomed warmly to join them in times of celebration, and my heart goes out to them now. The Afzaal-Salman family were loved. How can we honour their lives and bring about lasting change?

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Now is the time to call for not only justice but action. These murders are part of a rising tide of Islamophobia and white supremacist hate. It is critical that we stand together as neighbours, Ontarians and Canadians to call out and push back against this pernicious, deadly hate wherever we see it and to build a plan to eradicate Islamophobia once and for all.

As we heard at the vigil for our London family, “Hate is like a fire. And once” it “takes hold, it consumes all.” But fires can be extinguished. They can be stopped. We can stop them. As your MPP, I commit to calling for a national summit, and as your fellow community member, I commit to always see you with love and to intervene if I see treatment otherwise.

Love is the antidote to hate. Together, let’s honour the Afzaal-Salman family by putting more love into this world.

BLOOD DONATION


Mr. Deepak Anand: Over the last few months, while hard-working Ontarians across the province have been rolling up their sleeves to receive the vaccine, many of them have also been rolling up their sleeves for an equally important life-saving reason. June 14 is World Blood Donor Day, a day to raise awareness about the truly life-saving gift of blood donation.

While roughly half of all Canadians are eligible, only 2% actually donate blood. This means Ontario has to rely for up to 83% of our plasma needs on paid donors in the US and across the world. To keep up with the growing demand for blood, Canada needs around 100,000 more donors every year.

As hospitals ramp up elective surgeries, it is clear that we need more and more neighbourhood heroes to roll up their sleeves and donate blood. That is why, Mr. Speaker, I’m thrilled to share that my office will be organizing a community blood drive in my riding of Mississauga–Malton on June 16 and 23. I encourage every member of the community to make a difference. Let’s keep the world beating.

I would also like to acknowledge and thank staff and volunteers at Canadian Blood Services for their hard work and advocacy. Thank you for connecting patients with the gift of life. And to each and every single Ontarian who has donated blood: Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for stepping up and saving lives.

With that, Mr. Speaker, happy World Blood Donor Day.

GOVERNMENT’S AGENDA


Mr. Chris Glover: June 14, 2021, is going to go down in infamy in Ontario history. Today is the day that the government is expected to be voting to override the charter rights of the people of this province for the first time.

In March, the government passed changes to the Election Act. They made two changes. The first one increased the donation limit in a way that favours Conservative donors, who tend to be wealthier; and the second one restricted third-party advertising for one year before the next election. Both of these seemed designed to help the Conservatives get re-elected.

The second one restricts the criteria for third-party advertising. Over the next year, the government can spend as much taxpayer money as it likes advertising what a wonderful job it has done to support small businesses, on long-term-care homes, on their environmental record, on the success of online learning. And other health care agencies, environmental agencies will be restricted in their ability to counter with the fact that this government did not move to increase supports for small businesses until 25,000 had gone bankrupt, until 4,000 deaths had taken place in long-term care and that online learning has been a disaster for many of the students in this province.

A few days ago, a judge ruled that this legislation breached the charter rights of the people of this province. So, what did the government do? They chose to override the charter rights of the people of this province. That’s what they’re going to be voting on this afternoon, and it’s absolutely shameful.

ANTI-RACISM ACTIVITIES


Mrs. Daisy Wai: Ontarians in Richmond Hill and across the province are still processing the horrific tragedy that took place in London, Ontario. Over the past week, many in our province showed our solidarity to Ontario’s Muslim community.

Last night, I attended an interfaith prayer vigil in Richmond Hill. I was moved to see the outpouring of love and support my community displayed to our grieving Muslim friends. I was touched by the prayers offered by different faith groups. Indeed, we are all one in love.

This is the Ontario that I know. This is the love and kindness that Ontario represents. We are a province of acceptance, equality and freedom for all people. That will never change.

While it will take time to bring healing and comfort to the loved ones, friends and community of the Afzaal family, Ontarians in Richmond Hill and across the province stand in solidarity with all our Muslim friends and neighbours. My respect to all of them.

GOVERNMENT’S AGENDA


Ms. Bhutila Karpoche: Let’s take a look at what this Conservative government has done in the past few days, and let the people judge if the government is on the right path and if they think that this government has their best interests at heart.

Over the weekend, Premier Ford recalled the Legislature for emergency night sessions to rush through a bill that uses the “notwithstanding” clause, overriding charter rights for the first time in Ontario’s history.

We could be working on a plan to reopen schools safely this September, but instead, we’re debating a bill that allows the government to disregard court orders.

We could be fixing the eviction and homelessness crisis, but instead, we’re dealing with a bill that allows the government to muzzle their critics.

We could be spending time addressing the skyrocketing overdose deaths in this province, but instead, we’re spending time on a bill that’s unconstitutional.

We could be looking to provide more support for small businesses, but instead, we’re looking at a bill that doubles the donation limit for those with deep pockets.

We could be creating a strategy for action on anti-racism and Islamophobia, but the only strategy this government is interested in is how they can cling on to power.

We could have an emergency debate on searching the grounds of all former residential schools, but instead, we ended up having an emergency debate on how this government is attacking people’s rights and freedoms.

Speaker, this government puts so much time and energy into things that are damaging when there are so many critical and urgent issues that need to be addressed. We need to address issues that help the people, not on how this government can help themselves get re-elected through abuse of power.

ANTI-RACISM ACTIVITIES


Mr. Mike Schreiner: I’m going to use my time today to amplify the voice of Sara Sayyed, who spoke at the vigil for the Afzaal family, organized by the Muslim Society of Guelph, and I quote from her speech:

“Assaulted while” shopping, “attacked while” taking “public transit, killed while praying in a mosque, murdered while taking a walk. This has become the reality for Muslim families across Canada.

“Leaving the house requires a checklist of safety precautions.

“The MSOG has spent the last several years building bridges ...

“Here is the result. Over a thousand of you are here to mourn and grieve with us ...

“But it means nothing if we do not stand up to white supremacy ...

“We need a commitment from all levels of government and police services to a national action summit on Islamophobia.

“There are still too many people in power who support systemic racism, and too many of us remain silent.”

Sara, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your wise words and your call to action. I call on everyone in this House to answer her call and the calls of Muslims across Canada for a national action summit against Islamophobia.

ANTI-RACISM ACTIVITIES


Mr. Amarjot Sandhu: Last week on Sunday, June 6, four members of a Muslim family were killed in a targeted and hate-motivated attack in London, Ontario. This family was going for a walk, but unfortunately couldn’t make it home as they were all targeted because of their Muslim faith. We are shocked and horrified by this attack, and all Ontarians stand in solidarity with the victims’ loved ones during this extremely difficult time.

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Speaker, it was an act of terrorism, as this family’s lives were taken in a brutal, cowardly and brazen act of violence, targeted for their religion. From this august House, I would say sorry to my Muslim brothers and sisters in London and across the province for this insane and tragic act of violence.

I would also like to ask my Muslim brothers and sisters to look over their shoulders and see that you are surrounded by love. This love is unwavering and unconditional, and it is with you always. We all grieve with the Muslim community members in London and across the province because this is a pain they have known before.

Through you, Speaker, I would say it is our duty to stand strong against hate. It is our duty to stand strong against Islamophobia. And it is our duty to stand strong against terror with faith, with love, and a quest for justice.

CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES


Ms. Doly Begum: Speaker, this morning I rise to bring forward the growing concerns brought forward by constituents about a crisis that’s been brewing quietly but dangerously across our province: the declining mental health of youth, especially over the last 15 months.

Just in the past weeks, we held round tables on education and mental health. Parents and teachers shared emotional stories about seeing active and vibrant kids start to become more withdrawn and dealing with social anxiety.

These are our little ones who have been neglected by this government’s back-and-forth on online and in-person schools this past year. They lost a year of education. They lost their development and much-needed socializing with their friends and peers. Young people who have been waiting for months to find a therapist, for example, resorted to stop-gap solutions like walk-in clinics or therapy apps. They talked about therapy apps because they had nowhere else to go. Some have even given up because the cost of mental health is not supported by our health care in this province.

There are many things that we don’t know about this post-pandemic world that’s going to happen, Speaker, but what we do know is that we simply cannot go on like this. Our already broken mental health system is about to become more overwhelmed than ever, and Ontario’s children and youth deserve a recovery that focuses on their well-being and focuses on the mental health of all across this province.

ANTI-RACISM ACTIVITIES


Mr. Sheref Sabawy: Last Sunday, our province witnessed a horrible Islamophobic terrorist attack which killed three generations of the Afzaal family and orphaned a nine-year-old child. I condemn this heinous act and I stand in solidarity with the Afzaal family and the Muslim community in Ontario and Canada.

There is no space for hate in our Canada. Canada is a diverse nation, one that hosts all faiths, races and cultures. Our Canadian democracy is built on the cornerstones of freedom of speech and freedom of religion. We are a beacon of peace and multiculturalism in the world.

Canadians opened their arms and hearts and welcomed thousands of immigrants who escaped religious discrimination and persecution in their original home countries. Sometimes we tend to forget this and take it for granted, but the truth is we have to keep reminding ourselves to stand and defend those values.

The freedom of religion is not about allowing people to practise their faith. It goes all the way to respect everyone’s choice of religion, lifestyle or even simpler items like food and dress code.

Mr. Speaker, no one should fear for their life because of their faith. As a Canadian Coptic Christian, I have lived these fears myself when I was listed on the terrorist group al Qaeda’s hit list in 2010, fearing for my family’s safety and mine. I mention this because having experienced racism and discrimination first-hand from a young age, I understand how fear and frustration can be. That’s why I stand with solidarity with everyone and anyone who has been subjected to discrimination or persecution. The most eager defenders of religious freedoms and human rights are the people who have been victims of the lacking of it themselves.

As a proud Canadian, with my Canadian spirit, I hope we can all accept each other’s differences and respect and protect each other. O Canada, we stand on guard for you.

LUPUS AWARENESS DAY


Mr. Billy Pang: I’m delighted to share that, on May 12 of this year, my first private member’s bill, Bill 112, entitled Lupus Awareness Day Act, 2021, received royal assent. This bill proclaims May 10 of each year as Lupus Awareness Day. On that day, Ontarians are encouraged to wear a ribbon or any article of light purple clothing to display solidarity with those who live with, have survived or have succumbed to lupus.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease which is typically characterized by inflammation in one or more parts of the body. This disease attacks the body’s immune system, leaving it unable to differentiate between intruders and healthy tissues. As a result, vital organs are damaged, causing pain and organ dysfunction in the body.

Mr. Speaker, lupus affects one out of every 1,000 Canadian men, women and children. However, women are eight times more likely to contract the disease. While diagnosis and treatment for lupus are improving, proclaiming a day of awareness of lupus will help to inspire, inform and support individuals with lupus.

Although May 10 has passed, I still encourage everyone across Ontario to research and learn more about lupus. Together, let’s continue to educate ourselves, spread awareness and support those with lupus.

QUESTION PERIOD

ELECTORAL REFORM


Ms. Andrea Horwath: Speaker, before I start, I just want to welcome the thousands of people who are tuned into an OFL-hosted virtual gallery this morning.

My first question, of course, is to the Premier. We’re here because this Premier is desperately trying to silence his critics and cling to power. Ontario has never used the “notwithstanding” clause. In fact, every other government in Canada has managed to put in place election laws without using the “notwithstanding” clause. No other government has had to do it. They’ve all been able to figure it out, except this government. Why is the Premier unable to bring in reasonable legislation instead of trampling on our democracy?


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Government House leader.

Hon. Paul Calandra: Again, just the opposite, Mr. Speaker: Of course, we are bringing in legislation, reintroducing legislation that will guarantee third parties access to the Ontario elections, as is their right to do so. We are doing that at the highest levels in Canada, bar none. That’s the legislation that we brought forward. We think a 12-month period where there are criteria, again with the highest limits in the entire country, is the right balance.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary question?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Certainly this House leader is smart enough to bring in a constitutional law that we could have had passed in a day—apparently not, because this Premier’s go-to is to be vindictive and punish his enemies. He was booed at a public event; he stops doing media avails. He’s got families who are looking for justice in long-term care; instead, he brings in a law to reduce the right to sue. A court rejects his legislation, deems it unconstitutional; he invokes the “notwithstanding” clause.

The people of Ontario need a government that’s focused on helping them through the last of this crisis, not helping a desperate Premier cling to power. Why is the Premier’s only goal to get back at his enemies and keep his job?


Hon. Paul Calandra: Again, we know that the opposition would prefer that there be no rules with respect to pre-election spending. We saw that for a number of years in Ontario. That was a fixture. It was a fixture that, of course, the Chief Electoral Officer himself said had to be fixed, Speaker, and that’s why we are moving forward with what we believe is very balanced legislation, recognizing that the highest limits in Canada should be offset by a 12-month period where there are rules in place.

I note that when asked about what the NDP thought those limits should be, the deputy leader of the NDP was unable to provide an answer. Now, we know what the answer for the NDP is: maximum three months or no rules whatsoever, because they fought all weekend to try to have no rules whatsoever.

We think that to ensure fair elections, we have to have rules in place. The ruling suggested that that had to be the case. The ruling suggested that these are constitutional. The Chief Electoral Officer has asked us to do this. We are moving on it, and we think that we’ve struck a good balance.

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

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Well, Speaker, unfortunately, the competency of this government House leader apparently excludes the ability to bring in constitutional legislation around election financing laws.

But do you know what? The Premier just doesn’t like to listen in Ontario. He doesn’t like to listen to parents and teachers. He doesn’t like to listen to families of children with autism. He doesn’t like to listen to science advice or public health experts. Instead, he brings down the hammer. He brought down the hammer on his former colleagues at Toronto city hall that he didn’t like. He is bringing down, of course, the hammer on his critics, because they speak out against his bad choices and big cuts. He has gone too far.

In fact, here’s what one of the old allies—former allies, I guess—of the Premier said: “Petty dictators wield power to silence the voices of their critics. In liberal democracies, we demand better.” That’s none other than the taxpayers federation.

Overriding the charter rights of Ontarians in the middle of the night, in the dark of night, is not the Ontario we know. How can the Premier justify such an unprecedented attack on people’s rights?


Hon. Paul Calandra: It’s no surprise to me that, given the opportunity, the Leader of the Opposition would go personal, because for her, it’s not about the policy. It’s not about ensuring fair elections. It’s not about putting rules in place to ensure that third parties can participate in an election, Mr. Speaker. I would submit that’s probably why the NDP, under her leadership, has sat in opposition for 14 years.

We will not stop doing what is right to ensure that elections are fair in the province of Ontario. We saw what happened in this province when there were no rules in place. In Ontario, more money was being spent by third parties than all other provinces and federal elections combined. That is what the opposition is fighting to retain. We heard the Chief Electoral Officer suggest that that is not what is in the best interest of Ontario. The judge himself, in making his decision, suggested that limits are in fact needed and confirmed that they are both needed and constitutional. So if the opposition won’t stand up for fair elections, we certainly will.

GOVERNMENT’S AGENDA


Ms. Andrea Horwath: My next question is also for the Premier, but I can assure this House leader we are, in fact, fighting for the charter rights of the people of Ontario and against the government that’s taking them away.

Look, this debate is just another example of this Premier’s bad choices. We could be working on a plan for safer schools, to make sure that our kids, whose education has been disrupted badly in the last two years, are getting the support they need to succeed. We could be ensuring that kids are actually getting the vaccinations they need before school starts. Instead, this government is trampling on people’s rights and freedoms, attacking parents, teachers and education workers instead of working with them to support our kids.

Why is the Premier so willing to trample on people’s charter rights to help himself politically but not willing to put forward a real plan to support our kids as they return to school in the fall?


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Government House leader.

Hon. Paul Calandra: Of course, Mr. Speaker, as I’ve said on a number of occasions and as you continue to see here today, the NDP will stop at nothing to try to eliminate rules which should be put in place—which has been confirmed by the Chief Electoral Officer, which has been confirmed by the justice in his ruling. They want a system where there are no rules. Like the Liberals, the NDP seem incapable of winning elections based on their policies, so they want other means to do that. We insist that elections be done fairly. It’s the hallmark of what good governments do.

Having said that, I know that the Minister of Education has been working very hard to give us one of the safest return-to-school programs in North America. It has been extraordinarily successful. I thank him for that.

Mr. Speaker, I know that the Minister of Health, along with the Solicitor General, has done a record-breaking vaccination program in the province of Ontario, which has allowed us to move up our opening across this province and get our economy roaring back. I know those are things that the NDP don’t support, but the people of Ontario certainly do.


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

Ms. Andrea Horwath: We will stop at nothing to fight against what the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says is “petty dictators” wielding “power to silence the voices of their critics.”

Look, we could be here talking about the crisis in our health care system. The surgical backlog now sits at about 400,000. We know there are about 2.5 million tests and procedures that have been delayed or postponed that need to be addressed. We have PSWs who are still only getting a temporary increase, and we have long-term-care homes that are scrambling to try to find enough staff to take care of our seniors in long-term care.

Why, instead of fixing our health care system, is the Premier sitting through the dark of night to override the basic charter rights and freedoms of Ontarians in an attempt to cling to power?


Hon. Paul Calandra: It’s almost as though the Leader of the Opposition wasn’t here all weekend to hear what the Attorney General had talked—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’m going to ask the member to withdraw.

Hon. Paul Calandra: I withdraw.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): You can’t make reference to the absence of a member, indirectly or directly.

Hon. Paul Calandra: Sure. Mr. Speaker, I know that the Attorney General outlined why this was important. I know that we have been talking about why it’s important. The Leader of the Opposition suggests they are going to work so hard to ensure that this does not pass and use all of the tools, but then suggests that we took away all the tools. But when asked what tools we took away, what did the Leader of the Opposition say? Nothing. She couldn’t name one tool that was taken away by this government to stop them from doing what she says they want to do. Then the deputy leader of the NDP, when asked, “What do you think the limits should be”—nothing. Nothing. No suggestion as to what those limits should be.

We know that 12 months with the highest limits in Canada strikes a very good balance in a parliamentary democracy with a fixed election date, and we are going to pass this bill to make sure that happens.


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

Ms. Andrea Horwath: This government House leader knows very well that he could have brought a constitutionally acceptable bill into this Legislature and it could have gone through in a day. But he chose not to, because, as the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says, “Petty dictators wield power to silence the voices of their critics. In liberal democracies, we demand better.” That’s what your official opposition is doing today, Speaker. We’re demanding better from a government who thinks it’s okay to override people’s charter rights.

But here we are. We could have been making better choices today. We could have been talking about local businesses that are hanging on by a thread and all of those families who are worried about their futures and all of those folks who lost their jobs because this government didn’t want to put a plan in place to help them out. This Premier has no plan to support local businesses. Instead we’re meeting in the middle of the night, in the dark of night over the weekend, to suspend charter rights so this government can hold on to power.

Why, instead of putting a safe reopening grant in place for our small businesses in Ontario, our local community businesses, is this government shutting down democracy?


Hon. Paul Calandra: Some of us were working overnight to ensure that that happened, Mr. Speaker. I have said right from the beginning that I would use every tool at my disposal to ensure that this legislation passed. That’s how important it is to ensuring a fair election in the province of Ontario, and that’s what we will be voting on later today.

Now, it is important to note that when we brought in measures to help our small businesses, this Leader of the Opposition and her party voted against it. When we brought in a second round of supports for all small businesses, they voted against it and didn’t support it. When we brought in measures to increase long-term care, they voted against it. When we brought in measures to increase health care funding to the highest levels that this province has ever seen, they voted against it. When we brought in transit and transportation infrastructure improvements, they voted against it.

Before, during and certainly after a pandemic, we will continue to focus on the things that make this province great and that will ensure a vibrant and strong economy that leads the nation, like it did before the pandemic, like it will after the pandemic. And the one thing you can be certain of is the NDP will be against every single one of those measures.

COVID-19 RESPONSE IN INDIGENOUS AND REMOTE COMMUNITIES


Mr. Sol Mamakwa: My question is for the Premier. I’ve spoken many times here on how there are two Ontarios. Your Ontario cannot be proud of your COVID response when there is a humanitarian crisis happening in Kashechewan.

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There are now 222 cases of COVID in a community of 1,800 people. About 70% of the cases are children and youth 17 and under. Mr. Speaker, the youngest is seven weeks old. Families in Kashechewan are now calling the chief to ask for help feeding their children, as the whole family is sick and the parents cannot do it. What is Ontario—your Ontario—doing to help Kashechewan?


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

Hon. Christine Elliott: The member raises a very important question and one that needs considerable assistance. We did have a good response with Operation Remote Immunity for first doses where we worked with Ornge and we worked with leaders in the First Nation communities to make sure that anyone who wanted to receive the first vaccine was able to do so. But we’re also working on second doses as well, and we’re also working with communities that have had breakouts, where there are situations that demand assistance in a very timely manner. We want to work with the communities to make sure that we can deal with the cases of COVID and then also make sure that people receive the doses as soon as they’re able. A seven-week-old child isn’t able to receive a dose, but of course we want that baby to be brought back to good health. We will work with you to make sure that happens.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary? The member for Mushkegowuk–James Bay.

Mr. Guy Bourgouin: Minister, I have spoken to the chief this morning. Not one minister made a courtesy call—a courtesy call—to Chief Friday to ask his needs. We have an 18-year-old kid taking care of 11 children, the youngest two months old.

My question is to the Premier. COVID is impacting all the Cree communities along the James Bay coast, especially Kashechewan. I’m asking—no, begging—the Minister of Health and the Minister of Indigenous Affairs to work with the communities. The communities desperately need supplies, humanitarian assistance, and isolation tents for families already living in unsafe and overcrowded conditions. Community leaders and workers who are not in isolation are exhausted and burnt out. We cannot sit here and act like nothing is happening.

Mr. Speaker, will this government step up and provide resources and assistance for Kashechewan and the rest of James Bay to get through this crisis?

Interjections.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Members will please take their seats.

Minister of Health.


Hon. Christine Elliott: Yes, of course we will provide assistance—whatever is required—in order to make sure that people receive their immunizations; and for those that are ill, that they receive the health needs they require as well as the other resources. We know that as a result of COVID, there are many different communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID. Our goal is to make sure we protect the health and well-being of every Ontarian, regardless of where they live in the province. So to answer your question: Of course we will provide assistance.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING


Mr. Parm Gill: My question is for the Solicitor General. I was pleased to see that our government passed the Combating Human Trafficking Act with all-party support. This fulfills a key commitment by the Premier during last year’s announcement of a five-year anti-human trafficking strategy that Ontario would take a hard look at legislative options available to combat this heinous crime.

I know that all members of this House agree that human trafficking has absolutely no place in our communities across Ontario, as demonstrated by all parties supporting this bill. But, Mr. Speaker, I’m sure that this is no easy feat, given Ontario has the most reported incidents of human trafficking in the country. Can the minister please provide more details on how this legislation will help hold offenders accountable so that those who perpetrate this heinous crime face real justice?


Hon. Sylvia Jones: Thank you to the member from Milton for raising this important issue. It was a real honour when the Premier asked myself and my co-lead, Minister Dunlop, the Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues, to lead this important work. I am pleased that we have had support from all members and parliamentarians.

As you know, our young people are at the greatest risk of being exploited by traffickers. The average age of an individual who is recruited into trafficking is just 13 years old. The Combating Human Trafficking Act creates a number of very important tools to help ensure that investigations into human trafficking can proceed quickly. The legislation will provide police services with the authority to access hotel guest registry information, with a penalty for non-compliance of $5,000, and provide the authority to expand guest registry requirements to other accommodation providers. It also requires companies that advertise sexual services to have a contact for law enforcement and other agencies to request information in support of human trafficking investigations.


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

Mr. Parm Gill: I want to thank the Solicitor General for that answer. It is definitely reassuring to hear the Solicitor General highlight how the proposed legislation would provide new tools to more effectively hold offenders accountable. But this House is most concerned with the victims.

I’ve heard the Solicitor General speak at length about how important it is that we remember the survivors of human trafficking. So my question to the Solicitor General: Can she identify what resources we’re making available and putting in place for the survivors of this heinous crime?


Hon. Sylvia Jones: The member is absolutely right. Human trafficking investigations can be complex, spanning across jurisdictions and over many years. I’m proud to say that, today, we have announced we are investing $5 million over two years to enhance services and supports available to victims of intimate partner violence and human trafficking through the new Victim Support Grant Program. We continue to provide our police services and community partners with the funding they need to develop new or enhanced services, supports and resources that will strengthen local prevention efforts and help protect victims and survivors.

Successful applicants will be able to use the grant funding to support a number of projects and initiatives, such as:

—developing multi-sectorial teams to support specialized intervention in suspected instances of intimate partner violence or human trafficking;

—setting up collaborative community initiatives to build local capacities to support victims and survivors; and

—supporting initiatives that are survivor-led and/or involve meaningful collaboration and involvement of individuals with lived experience.

There is so much happening on the human trafficking file, and I’m pleased to share just a small bit of it today.

COVID-19 RESPONSE


Ms. Catherine Fife: My question is for the Premier. For months now, we have been bringing the voices of small business owners to this House as they have begged this government for additional supports. But a hopeful and successful restart may not be possible if we can’t control the outbreaks, a lesson this government should have learned by now.

Waterloo region’s COVID cases over the weekend were just shy of Toronto’s. We need to put this fire out with accelerated vaccines, contact tracing and pop-up vaccinations—removing all barriers to vaccinations. These are urgent concerns, but we’re here during this emergency session and we’re not addressing the rising cases in Waterloo. We’re not addressing business support concerns. We are here so that this government can override Ontarians’ charter rights. That’s why we’re here, instead of the real concerns of Ontarians.

To the government: Why is violating charter rights more important than stopping the outbreaks in Waterloo or Kashechewan or anywhere else in the province of Ontario, and why are your priorities so out of whack with the people of this province?


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Minister of Health.

Hon. Christine Elliott: I thank the member for the question. It is a very important one. We are continuing our work with vaccinations and we are receiving significant responses. We have now vaccinated 74% of the people of Ontario with at least one dose. We’ve administered over 11,300,000 vaccines.

But we still know that there are variants of concern out there, particularly the Delta variant, which is why, as of June 14, individuals who live in areas of high Delta prevalence—including Halton, Peel, Porcupine, Toronto, Waterloo, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph and York public health units—and who have also already received their first dose of the vaccine before May 9 will be able to receive their second accelerated dose, because we want to make sure we continue with the opening up of Ontario, that we don’t allow these variants, particularly the Delta variant, to take over. So, we are concerned about it. We are dealing with it, particularly in the Waterloo area.

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

Ms. Catherine Fife: Speaker, there seems to be a lack of urgency here to prevent a fourth wave or support small businesses. There has been very little understanding of the challenges that small businesses have faced during this pandemic.

Take commercial insurance, for instance: How can small businesses be part of the economic recovery of the province if they can’t access affordable insurance? But have we been debating legislation to help small businesses access affordable insurance so we can be open for business in the province of Ontario? No, we have not.

We are here because the Premier wants to silence his critics, using the “notwithstanding” clause and overriding charter rights.

Why is this PC government so disconnected from the real needs of Ontario? You need to put the people of this province first, ahead of your own political interests.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I remind members to make their comments to the Chair.

In response, the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.


Hon. Victor Fedeli: Thank you very much for the important question about Ontario’s small business. Speaker, we have had an unprecedented and historic level of support going out to businesses, one that was made necessary throughout this entire pandemic. To date, we’ve made almost $3 billion in grant payments to support over 110,000 businesses across Ontario. And right now, until the end of the month, these further small businesses in the tourism and the travel sector can apply for up to $20,000 in further government support and grants.

Speaker, there has been, as I said at the beginning, an absolutely unprecedented and historic level of commitment from this government towards our much-needed help to the small business sector.

GOVERNMENT’S AGENDA


Mr. John Fraser: We’re nearing the end of the Premier’s five-alarm, all-hands-on-deck emergency debate, rushing to override the charter and people’s rights, yet he didn’t utter a word in debate other than a heckle directed at the member from Essex. Not a peep about why he didn’t look for a stay or consider other options available to him. That would be the reasonable thing to do. Instead, he’s killing a fly with a sledgehammer.

The “notwithstanding” clause is about protecting people’s rights, not taking them away. The courts told the Premier, “You’ve gone too far.” Now, it’s like his house is on fire, an urgency that’s been missing all year long.

Speaker, through you: Why is the Premier in such a hurry to override people’s charter rights when there are other more appropriate and reasonable options available to him?


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Government House leader.

Hon. Paul Calandra: Of course, Mr. Speaker, it is absolutely no surprise to me that the Liberal Party would like to see no rules in place.

Interjection.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Order.

Hon. Paul Calandra: Between—

Mr. John Fraser: Give your head a shake.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Ottawa South, come to order.

Government House leader.


Hon. Paul Calandra: You know, Speaker, it’s unfortunate that the opposition always have to revert to character assassination and insults to try to make a point. It is precisely why we are here, Mr. Speaker.

Laughter.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Order. Government House leader, please reply.

Hon. Paul Calandra: It is precisely why we’re here, Mr. Speaker. We are here because the Chief Electoral Officer of this province understood that third-party involvement in Ontario elections in the first, second, third and fourth Liberal administrations—there were no rules on the table—was inappropriate. We had limits that ensured that more money was being spent in the province of Ontario than all provinces and federal elections combined. That was inappropriate.

We’ve struck a good balance, Mr. Speaker, and that is why we’re going to pass this legislation later today.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary question?

Mr. John Fraser: Speaker, I was looking for an answer, not piety, okay?

The “notwithstanding” clause is not a get-out-of-jail-free card because you don’t get your way.

The Premier has shown that his urgent priorities are his friends: MZOs, a university, the top job. He has no plan for the two million children who are waiting to go back to school. They’re still waiting for a plan. Families with children with autism: They’re still waiting. We’re still waiting for a commitment to implement the long-term care commission’s recommendations. PSWs are still waiting for a permanent wage increase. Clean water—I could go on and on.

The Premier’s priority is his political interest, not those of Ontarians. Clearly, his priorities are just out of whack. Speaker, through you: Why is the Premier putting his own political interests ahead of what’s most important to Ontario families?


Hon. Paul Calandra: Is this member really getting up and asking a question like that? Let’s look at what he said.

We have no priorities, he said. Let’s put it this way: We are prioritizing the construction of 30,000 long-term-care beds, when his government, for 15 years, built 600.

We are prioritizing education. While they were closing 700 schools, this Minister of Education and this Premier were building schools.

While they under-funded health care, we started to reform health care, bringing in Ontario health teams and bringing funding to the highest levels in provincial history.

Although they could not build transit in transportation, this Minister of Transportation is finally building subways in Toronto, subways that will reach all the way to York region for the first time.

Every single thing he mentioned in his question, he highlights the failure of his government, not over one, not over two, not over three, but four Liberal administrations—a record of failure unsurpassed by any other party in the history of this province.

SMALL BUSINESS


Mr. Parm Gill: My question is for the Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. We know that small businesses are the backbone of the economy, the heart of our local communities and will be key to restoring confidence in a safe return to in-person commercial activity.

With Ontario taking the first step on the Roadmap to Reopen on Friday, can the minister tell this House how the government is using rapid testing as a tool to keep small business employees, customers and communities at large safe?


Hon. Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria: Thank you to the member from Milton for that question and his steadfast support of small businesses during this pandemic.

Ontario has been a national leader in the deployment of rapid tests, and we’ve managed our supply of rapid tests to ensure ongoing availability for organizations and businesses across the province.

We know that rapid tests can prevent workplace outbreaks from otherwise asymptomatic employees and keep our hard-working businesses open. That’s why we have partnered with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, their chamber affiliates and municipalities across the province to introduce more COVID-19 rapid screening initiatives.

Mr. Speaker, I’m proud to report that less than a month after the launch of this program, Ontario has shifted over 2.4 million rapid tests into these chambers and communities across the province. I look forward to continue working with these chambers and municipalities to deploy more tests.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): And the supplementary question?

Mr. Parm Gill: I want to thank the minister for that answer.

Helping small businesses operate safely while protecting the broader community will be key to keeping us progressing on the Roadmap to Reopen, and I’m pleased to hear of the success of this initiative for small businesses across our great province. Could the minister please tell us how rapid testing is accomplishing similar successes for essential businesses?


Hon. Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria: Thank you to the member once again. Ontario has delivered over 12.3 million rapid antigen test kits to over 2,600 worksites across the province. This includes the COVID-19 rapid screening initiative with the OCC. Our total rapid testing strategy effort is helping businesses and other organizations keep employees and their families safe by helping keep the virus out of those workplaces.

For essential businesses that are allowed to stay open and require staff to be on site, the rapid antigen screening at the workplace is giving peace of mind and ensuring that operations continue steadily and safely across Ontario, especially in hot spot areas. Test shipments to essential industry workplaces have nearly tripled since April, and this includes 719 essential industry sites, many of which are in hot spot regions. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners across the province to continue deploying these rapid tests.

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EDUCATION FUNDING


Ms. Marit Stiles: Good morning, Mr. Speaker. This question is for the Premier. A lack of transparency around the decision to keep schools closed this month has parents once again worrying about what’s going to happen in September. There has been no plan tabled to show what public health metrics will be used to determine reopening in the fall, no public information on how many education workers are fully vaccinated or how many will be, no update on how guidance will change on masking or cleaning or screening based on new evidence.

We could be debating that now, this weekend, so that kids are back in school this September. Instead, we’re here debating a bill to silence the Premier’s critics. Will school boards, education workers and parents be left waiting again until August before they see any kind of plan for safer school reopenings?


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Minister of Education.

Hon. Stephen Lecce: I announced, over a month ago, the Grants for Student Needs as well as the PPE funding. In that announcement, I made clear that this July, the incoming Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Moore, will provide the final counsel and advice to the province based on public health indicators and vaccination rates.

What we have intended to do—notwithstanding that advice that will come in some weeks, once we’re closer to September—is create a more normal, stable and, yes, safe September for all children and staff. I’m proud to report that nearly 40% of children aged 12 to 17 have received their first dose of the vaccine, and we’re well on our way by August to get every student and every staff member who wants one a second dose ahead of September. That’s part of our plan for the broader population to be double-dosed this summer.

Mr. Speaker, we’ve allocated $2 billion in increased investment, with $1.6 billion specifically for COVID resources to maintain asymptomatic testing, the doubling of public health nurses, the enhancement of cleaning our schools and strict screening before kids and staff enter. As well, there is additional money for learning loss. We’re going to continue to invest in mental health, learning loss and COVID-19 resources to ensure students and staff remain safe this September.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary question.

Ms. Marit Stiles: This is what we’re worried about. Is it going to be mid-August, late August before they change the plans again and school boards are scrambling and families are struggling? Speaker, the minister is offering families more of the same things that led to the longest closures in Canada: vague promises; a lack of transparency; $800 million less, according to the Financial Accountability Office, for our schools.

Getting kids safely back in school must be our top priority, both for their well-being but also for our economic recovery. We could be working through the night on a plan to do that, instead of the blatant abuse of power we witnessed here this weekend.

Speaker, can the Premier explain to families and to the thousands of Ontarians who are watching through the OFL livestream right now why he’s prioritizing his own political future ahead of our own kids’ education?


Hon. Stephen Lecce: The opposition have foreshadowed what they’re offering this September, which is fear for the population instead of working with the government to ensure students and staff are safe. It’s why a month ago, well before this weekend, we announced an investment within the Grants for Student Needs, which is the principal vehicle of funding for school boards, of over $500 million more this coming year than last year; $1.6 billion in COVID-19 resources—entirely provincial dollars, unlike last year provided in part by the federal government—to make sure we maintain every infection prevention protocol to ensure Ontario remains one of the lowest jurisdictions in the country with case rates for children under the age of 18.

Mr. Speaker, we’ve also invested an additional $85 million for learning recovery, recognizing reading and math have seen regression, really, right around the Western world. That’s why we’ve put in place a plan to support expanded summer learning as well as tutoring for children. For mental health, recognizing, as was noted earlier, the unprecedented impact of the pandemic, we have ensured an $80-million investment—400% higher than when the former Liberal government was in power—because we’re committed to the wellness as well as the success of students, now and into the future.

GOVERNMENT’S AGENDA


Mme Lucille Collard: My question is for the Premier. At the trial, the Attorney General’s own expert witnesses conceded that the present third-party spending restrictions during elections are strong enough to prevent electoral interference.

Given both the broad expert recognition of the strength of the existing spending restrictions for third parties and the clear conflict of interest that the government creates when it changes the rules of the upcoming election, why does the government think that this is an appropriate instance to use the “notwithstanding” clause for the first time in Ontario’s history?


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Government House leader.

Hon. Paul Calandra: Because we believe that, in a parliamentary democracy with a fixed election date, confirming the highest spending limits in the country—even higher than the federal government—and extending those protections to the elections for 12 months is an appropriate balance. That is what we brought forward when we brought forward this legislation early on in the spring session. We went through extensive debate in this House, we went through committee hearings in this House, and that legislation has passed. That is the will of this Parliament, Mr. Speaker. The judge also confirmed that such limits are important, are necessary and that they are constitutional.

We will stand up for those principles. We will stand up for fairness in elections. We won’t be dragged kicking and screaming, like the previous Liberal government was. We think we’ve struck an appropriate balance. That is why we are here today and that is why we will use every tool at our disposal to make sure this fairness for Ontario elections remains in place.


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

Mme Lucille Collard: Ontarians have been able to rely on our Charter of Rights and Freedoms for protection when they have found their rights compromised by government policies. LGBTQ+ people, refugees and persons with disabilities are all examples of communities who have used charter litigation to fight discrimination and live dignified and fulfilling lives in Canada. Ontarians are right to be concerned that this government is now sending a clear and very concerning message that it is willing to use the “notwithstanding” clause as a simple tool to override their protected charter rights when their rights conflict with the government’s policy agenda.

Moving forward, my question is to the government, what will be the government’s bar for invoking the “notwithstanding” clause to override Ontarians’ charter rights?


Hon. Paul Calandra: Honestly, what an unfortunate question to ask, especially given what this province has gone through in the last number of days.

We are using the “notwithstanding” clause to protect the fairness of Ontario’s elections. I don’t have to remind the member opposite that, in fact, this House spoke in a unified voice, led by the minister of small business, when we discussed and debated the use of the “notwithstanding” clause in another province, specifically on taking away people’s rights and their ability to show or use symbols that this other province considered not acceptable. We spoke as a unified voice against that, Mr. Speaker.

What we are doing today is ensuring that elections are fair. We saw in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2014 a Chief Electoral Officer who saw out-of-control third-party spending—again, four Liberal administrations; four failures. We’re moving quickly in our first term to ensure elections remain safe and fair.

CURRICULUM


Mr. Parm Gill: My question is for the Minister of Education. For over a decade under the former Liberal government, our students fell further and further behind due to the outdated discovery math curriculum. Too many children were not being prepared for the world of tomorrow, and we have seen great strides to right the ship in terms of math education in Ontario, with updated curriculum now being provided from grades 1 to 9.

Last week’s announcement was another by the Minister of Education that shows our Premier’s dedication to preparing youth with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the jobs of tomorrow.

Can the Minister of Education please share with the Legislature what is changing in the grade 9 math curriculum in Ontario?


Hon. Stephen Lecce: I want to thank the member from Milton for his advocacy for financial literacy within Ontario’s education and curriculum.

Indeed, we have unveiled a new curriculum in this province. Last June, we announced a modernized grades 1 to 8 math curriculum, and just last week, a new grade 9 destreamed math curriculum, fulfilling our commitment to the people of this province in the last campaign to end discovery math and to revert to a system of learning the foundations and building up numeracy in Ontario. It’s why we announced a four-year $200-million math strategy to do just that, of which $40 million is flowing this year alone.

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The new curriculum we unveiled for the first time puts a real emphasis on real-life application of mathematical concepts, connecting the theory to the everyday experiences of students through their journey in life, from owning a home, taking a mortgage and paying tuition to paying taxes. These are the foundations of learning that we need in our curriculum, that, this September, students in grade 9 will have.

We’re also creating a greater understanding of STEM education, skilled trades and the opportunities in these high-wage industries. We’re going to continue to champion modernization of our curriculum to ensure students achieve their full potential in Ontario.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary question?

Mr. Parm Gill: Minister, it is great to see that this government is providing students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in this world.

It is also very exciting to see that the announcement of the new curriculum has been receiving high praise from employers. To quote Mathew Wilson, senior vice-president at Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters: “By updating its grade 9 math course to include coding, data literacy and mathematical modelling, Ontario is taking key steps to ensure future prosperity through a growing and innovative manufacturing sector.”

FIRST Robotics Canada president is also excited about this new change. He said, “We are excited about this change!”

Can the minister tell us more about why employers are receiving these curriculum changes so positively and how we will continue to modernize the curriculum to best prepare our students for the future?


Hon. Stephen Lecce: I appreciate the question from the member, because it underscores a truth, which is that over 16 years, the curriculum of this province was outdated and disconnected from the labour market needs of our young people. It is not a coincidence that under the former Liberal government, youth unemployment was twice the rate of the average, and it’s unacceptable. Young people want to work. They want to own a home. They want to aspire to fulfill their life’s dreams, and yet they were impeded by, often, an out-of-date curriculum, disconnected from the job market and the skill sets they need in life and in employment. That’s why we have unveiled a new curriculum from grades 1 to 8 and, again, a new grade 9 math curriculum that is going to really help make the difference.

We are going to go further, apply the same critical lens of connecting the fundamentals within our curriculum to the job market in the grades 10, 11 and 12 math curriculums. We’re going to go further. We’re going to continue to build momentum to ensure young people graduate with the life skills, the job skills that will ensure that they have a competitive advantage when they graduate in this province.

LONG-TERM CARE


Ms. Sara Singh: I’d just like to start off by also echoing the comments made by the leader of the official opposition this morning at the beginning of question period and welcome the members of the Ontario Federation of Labour, who have filled our virtual galleries for today’s proceedings.

Nearly 4,000 seniors and staff lost their lives in long-term care. There was no emergency debate for that.

The Canadian Armed Forces released their report in May 2020 outlining the crisis in long-term care. The government didn’t think that it was an exceptional priority to debate that crisis and address it at that time.

As of today, 46% of our long-term-care homes still do not provide air conditioning to residents in their rooms as we prepare for a sweltering summer. That should be a priority for this government, but it’s not.

No emergency debate to help manage the ongoing staffing crisis in long-term care—this government needs to get its priorities straight.

Can the Premier explain to families of residents in long-term care why ramming through undemocratic changes to the Election Finances Act is more important than protecting seniors in long-term care in the province of Ontario?


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The government House leader.

Hon. Paul Calandra: Well, in fact, there actually have been two debates with respect to the use of emergency powers in this province. The Solicitor General as well as the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Minister of Health have appeared in front of a committee with respect to the COVID-19 response and the emergency powers that are within that.

I note that, prior to the pandemic, we were talking about long-term care, unlike the opposition, which was not. We said that we needed to build 30,000 new long-term-care beds. We did that. We’re well on our way to building 30,000 new spaces. We said that we had to have more PSWs. That’s why we’re hiring over 27,000 additional PSWs. We said that our homes needed to be air-conditioned. That is why we are progressing and have almost completed that work.

We are hiring 2,000 new nurses, four hours of care—on every single measure before, during, and certainly after, we continue to focus on long-term care. We continue to focus on the priorities of Ontarians.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary.

Ms. Sara Singh: It’s clear to everyone in the province of Ontario that this government dithered and delayed on actually taking action in long-term care. That’s why we had more deaths in long-term care during this second wave than we did the first. So they can pretend they were taking action while seniors died, but they did nothing.

Nurses, families of resident seniors in long-term care, personal support workers and front-line heroes have been raising the alarm bell about the crisis in long-term care, but there was no urgency from this government to act. They waited an entire year before actually releasing any form of a staffing strategy. These are workers like members of the Ontario Nurses’ Association, the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Ontario Federation of Labour. They are speaking up because this government is trying to silence their voices. They have called this bill an undemocratic power grab aimed at silencing those that this government hurt the most.

Families, workers, nurses, seniors in long-term care deserve to have their voices heard. Why is this government trying to silence those that they hurt most—their critics—for their own political gain, rather than protecting workers and families in this province?

Interjections.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Members will please take their seats.

Government House leader.


Hon. Paul Calandra: Of course I remind the deputy leader of the NDP that when asked specifically what you would do differently, she could not answer, Mr. Speaker.

When it comes to long-term care, we have provided significant resources. In light of the fact that the previous Liberal and NDP administrations, the coalitions, did not, we decided that we needed to move quickly in ensuring that long-term care was taken care of. Thousands of additional PSWs, hundreds of new beds: This is the legacy of this government in only its first term, Mr. Speaker. We are very proud of that. There is much more work to be done.

As they have mentioned, the OFL is watching today. To our friends in the OFL and in the labour movement, I can tell them good news for them is also on the way with hundreds of kilometres of new subways being built, expansions of GO train, highways being built. The future looks good for labour, the backbone of those individuals who will be building these new roads, who will be building these new subways—the future looks good for them, unlike what we saw in the previous administration, where hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs. Ontario is on the right path to growth and sustainability for a long term to come.

SMALL BUSINESS


Mr. Mike Schreiner: Good morning, Speaker. My question is for the Premier. This past weekend was revealing. It showed how quickly the government is willing to act to violate people’s charter rights and silence critics to address government priorities: re-election.

I don’t understand why the Premier doesn’t move with the same urgency to make pandemic pay permanent or to support small businesses. Many eligible small businesses have not even received their grant money yet from the Ontario Small Business Support Grant program. Others, such as small contract brewers and independent travel agents, have received no support whatsoever.

So, Speaker, will the Premier show the same urgency and support small businesses by fixing the small business support grant and delivering a third wave of funding to get us through the third wave of the pandemic?


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): To reply, the Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction.

Hon. Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria: We recognize the significant challenges that many small businesses have been facing and have been going through during this pandemic. That is why we rolled out the largest investment to help support those small businesses. To date, $2.9 billion of direct payments have been made to small businesses in Ontario that have been highly impacted. We recognize that.

Along with that, we have put forward programs to ensure that 100% of their energy costs are recovered, 100% of their property tax are covered. We will continue to work with small businesses as we have since the start of this pandemic. I have personally done over 130 round tables with small businesses, industries, associations and business owners to see what other supports are needed, how we can better support them. We have, on the back end of the small business support grant, tripled the supports they could get through those applications, because we recognize how important it is to get the supports and money to those businesses; the $2.9 billion has already flowed through.

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The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary question?

Mr. Mike Schreiner: Speaker, there’s no need for more consultation or asking. Small businesses have been telling the government for weeks and months now that the Ontario Small Business Support Grant is broken. Many eligible businesses have still not received funding; others have completely fallen between the cracks.

I guess the answer from the associate minister was no, but I’m going to give the associate minister one more opportunity while we’re still sitting. Will the government deliver a third round of funding to help struggling small businesses get through the third wave of the pandemic, and will they fix the eligibility criteria of the grant program to support all small businesses in this province?


Hon. Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria: As I have noted before, every eligible business in the small business support grant that has applied will receive their money. On top of that, as we continue to look at other businesses to support, this government introduced the travel and tourism support grant that increased the access to that small business support grant to those industries that have also been impacted. Those are payments of up to $20,000 for businesses; a $100-million program that we encourage all businesses that can apply and are eligible to apply to.

This government, whether it was the start of the pandemic or before the pandemic, has always supported small businesses. The members opposite voted against a 9% reduction in a small business support grant. They have voted against WSIB premiums being reduced for small businesses. They have voted against $333 million in regulatory reform and cost reduction for small businesses.

This government will continue to do whatever we can to support small businesses.

HOSPITAL FUNDING


Mrs. Jennifer (Jennie) Stevens: My question is to the Premier. Residents of Ontario find it puzzling that it took you less than 48 hours to recall the Legislature to jam through a law that silences your critics; meanwhile, for the entire month of January you refused to recall the Legislature as the province was seeing the highest monthly numbers of COVID-19 deaths. In Niagara, we saw weekly peaks where seniors or family members were dying every three and a half hours. However, you recalled it back for this?

So many sacrifices, like patients who, heartbreakingly, have had their surgeries delayed. Within my community, there are significant backlogs with surgeries. This is because many residents have had their surgeries postponed because of concerns with ICUs and hospital capacity.

Premier, what do you have to say to the residents who are still waiting on surgeries when your priority is to recall the Legislature to silence your critics and be silent on hospital funding?


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Minister of Health.

Hon. Christine Elliott: Thank you for the question. Getting people to their surgeries that were delayed because of COVID-19 when the hospitals were full is a priority for us. We know that many people have been waiting for a very long period of time to have surgeries done, and diagnostic procedures as well. We know we have to get back to that as soon as we can, and we have; although I would note that even during the course of the pandemic, if people needed surgery, most hospitals did over 88% of their targeted surgical allocation and were able to complete over 430,000 scheduled surgeries even during the course of the pandemic.

However, recently, because we are seeing that the numbers are going down because of so many people in Ontario doing the right thing and becoming vaccinated, we, first of all, rescinded directive 2, which allows hospitals to go back to conducting a number of surgeries, and now there has been further direction indicating that, in addition to day surgeries, in-patient surgeries can now be completed. We’re actively working on reducing that backlog in the number of people who require those surgeries and procedures starting as of—several weeks ago, as a matter of fact. We’ve been working on it.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary question?

Mrs. Jennifer (Jennie) Stevens: While I have the chance, I’d like to thank the thousands of OFL members who are watching this debate today.

We needed hospital funding that made a difference back in the first or the second or the third wave. Ontario residents needed investments to stop hallway medicine before the pandemic. We’ve been left flat-footed. No one will ever forget that the June before the pandemic, Ontario’s own data collection agency had shown it was the worst June for hallway medicine ever.

Hospital funding was a problem under your watch before this pandemic. Now Ontarians are predicting an elective surgery backlog of nearly 420,000 by the fall. These backlogs were created because our hospitals needed more supports during the pandemic as ICUs were overrun.

Will this Premier turn and speak to the residents in my community waiting for surgeries and explain why it is more important to call back the Legislature to pass a law that helps him silence his critics rather than pass laws—


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you. I’ll remind members again to make their comments to the Chair, please.

The Minister of Health to reply.


Hon. Christine Elliott: Our government recognized the issue with hallway health care. It was one of the promises we made to the people of Ontario as part of the last election, that we would deal with it, and we are dealing with it. We have put in hundreds of millions of dollars into hospital funding since the start of the pandemic to over $5.1 billion, and hundreds of millions of dollars even before that.

We’re also dealing with the backlog in scheduled procedures. That is a priority for us because we know that people have been waiting for a very long time. But, again, thankfully because of the efforts of the people of Ontario in getting tested and in getting vaccinated, we are starting to see the numbers in our hospitals go down.

We are going to continue to invest money, but we’re going to continue to invest in the surgical procedures that we know need to be made in order to get people the surgeries that they need. We’ve put $500 million into advancing that, and we’ll do more as we need to, to make sure that people get the care they deserve.


Ms. Catherine Fife: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): There are no points of order during question period.

ANTI-RACISM ACTIVITIES


Ms. Kathleen O. Wynne: My question is for the Premier. Mr. Speaker, last night I attended two vigils, one in Thorncliffe Park and one in Flemingdon Park, for the family that was murdered in London this week because of Islamophobia. I know that every member of this Legislature mourns the loss of Talat and Salman Afzaal, Madiha Salman and Yumna Afzaal. We all worry about the future of nine-year-old Fayez, and we will need to hold him in our hearts, Mr. Speaker.

But in order to tackle Islamophobia, here’s what else we need to do: We need to make an action plan. We need to be really specific about the steps we can take as policy-makers. If ever a situation called for an all-party process, this is it.

Speaker, will the Premier agree to work with all parties in the Legislature, as well as civil society organizations, to develop an action plan to tackle Islamophobia that will include reinstatement of the Anti-Racism Directorate?


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): To reply, the government House leader.

Hon. Paul Calandra: Of course, we’ll continue to work with all parties in the Legislative Assembly; I think that goes without saying. As I said earlier in question period, this assembly spoke as one voice earlier on in its mandate with respect to how this Legislature jointly felt with respect to the use of the “notwithstanding” clause in another province. So there is a lot of work that needs to be done with respect to not only Islamophobia, but all forms of racism.

I know that the Solicitor General has been working very closely with other members to ensure that we not only strengthen the Anti-Racism Directorate—but I know it is a priority of the Premier, it is a priority of this government, and I certainly know that it is a priority for all members of this Legislature. We will continue to do that important work, all of us, and I’m sure it’s work that will not stop and will go beyond the life of this Parliament.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That concludes our question period for this morning.

Ms. Catherine Fife: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Waterloo has a point of order.

Ms. Catherine Fife: Thank you, Speaker. I seek unanimous consent to move a motion regarding the immediate passage of Bill 153, the Long-Term Care Homes Amendment (Till Death Do Us Part) Act, brought forward by myself to help ensure that seniors are not separated from their spouses in Ontario long-term-care homes.

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The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Waterloo is seeking the unanimous consent of the House to immediately move a motion regarding the immediate passage of Bill 153, the Long-Term Care Homes Amendment (Till Death Do Us Part) Act. Agreed? I heard a no.

Mr. Michael Mantha: Point of order, Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Algoma–Manitoulin on a point of order.

Mr. Michael Mantha: I seek unanimous consent to immediately pass private member’s motion 137, tabled by the member for Davenport, calling on the Ford government to implement a back-to-school plan with improved funding for classroom caps, better ventilation, and a safety committee made up of experts, parents, students, education workers, unions and boards.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Algoma–Manitoulin is seeking the unanimous consent of the House to immediately pass private member’s motion 137, tabled by the member for Davenport. Agreed? I heard a no.

Miss Monique Taylor: Point of order, Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Hamilton Mountain on a point of order.

Miss Monique Taylor: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion to pass Bill 244, the No COVID-19 Evictions Act, tabled by the member for Toronto Centre, so we can better protect Ontario’s tenants from losing their housing during the pandemic.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Hamilton Mountain is seeking the unanimous consent of the House to bring forward a motion to pass Bill 244, the No COVID-19 Evictions Act, tabled by the member for Toronto Centre. Agreed? I heard a no.

Mr. Gurratan Singh: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Brampton East has a point of order.

Mr. Gurratan Singh: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion to pass Bill 239, the official opposition’s paid sick day bill, so we can follow the science table’s advice to protect Ontario’s workers from COVID-19 and make sure that no one has to make the difficult choice between staying home when they’re sick and being able to pay the bills.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Brampton East is seeking the unanimous consent of the House to bring forward a motion to pass Bill 239, the official opposition’s paid sick days bill. Agreed? I heard a no.

Mr. John Vanthof: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Timiskaming–Cochrane has a point of order.

Mr. John Vanthof: Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to immediately pass private member’s motion 136 calling on the Ford government to provide financial assistance for small businesses not eligible for other supports during the pandemic.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Timiskaming–Cochrane is seeking the unanimous consent of the House to immediately pass private member’s motion 136 calling on the government to provide financial assistance for small businesses not eligible for other supports during the pandemic. Agreed? I heard a no.

Ms. Peggy Sattler: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for London West has a point of order.

Ms. Peggy Sattler: Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to move a motion regarding the immediate passage of Bill 297, the Centering Youth in Pandemic Recovery Act, brought forward by the members for Davenport and University–Rosedale, to make sure the needs of Ontario’s children and youth are prioritized in the measures to recover from COVID-19.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for London West is seeking the unanimous consent of the House to move a motion regarding the immediate passage of Bill 297, the Centering Youth in Pandemic Recovery Act, brought forward by the members for Davenport and University–Rosedale. Agreed? I heard a no.

Ms. Catherine Fife: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Waterloo has a point of order.

Ms. Catherine Fife: Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to move a motion regarding the immediate passage of Bill 199, the Taxation Amendment Act (Travel Ontario Tax Credit), brought forward by the member for Niagara Falls to help Ontario’s tourism sector recover from the pandemic.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Waterloo is seeking the unanimous consent of the House to move a motion regarding the immediate passage of Bill 199, the Taxation Amendment Act (Travel Ontario Tax Credit), brought forward by the member for Niagara Falls. Agreed? I heard a no.

Hon. Paul Calandra: Point of order.

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

Hon. Paul Calandra: I seek unanimous consent of the Legislature to pass Bill 299, Anti-Asian Racism Education Month Act.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The government House leader is seeking unanimous consent to move a motion regarding Bill 299, Anti-Asian Racism Education Month Act. Agreed? Agreed.

Interjections.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The House has given unanimous consent to move a motion regarding Bill 299, An Act to proclaim May as Anti-Asian Racism Education Month. Someone has got to move the motion if it’s going to be considered.

Government House leader?


Hon. Paul Calandra: Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to move second and third readings and pass immediately Bill 299, Anti-Racism Education Month Act.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The government House leader is seeking unanimous consent of the House to move a motion regarding second and third—

Interjection.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’m advised that the government House leader has to move it in place of the member whose name is on the bill.

ANTI-ASIAN RACISM EDUCATION MONTH ACT, 2021 / LOI DE 2021 SUR LE MOIS DE SENSIBILISATION AU RACISME ANTI-ASIATIQUE

Mr. Calandra, on behalf of Mr. Ke, moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 299, An Act to proclaim May as Anti-Asian Racism Education Month / Projet de loi 299, Loi proclamant le mois de mai Mois de sensibilisation au racisme anti-asiatique.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Further debate?

Mr. Gurratan Singh: The issue of anti-Asian hate is an incredibly important issue. We’ve seen the impact of this hate across North America. It is such a pervasive kind of hate, and we’ve seen in the context of COVID-19 that it’s become more pervasive across the province. We’ve seen the tragic lives that have been lost, unjustly so, inspired by this hate-filled rhetoric and belief towards people from the Asian communities.

I actually had the benefit of recently speaking to a group of students about the impacts of anti-Asian hate. As someone of Asian background, I shared my own stories, my own experiences of growing up and facing a lot of bullying, growing up and feeling the sense that I didn’t belong because of who I was, because of my heritage, because of my background. There are a lot of ways that that impacted me: the anxiety it would create, the stress it would create.

I think that’s why it’s so important—we need to recognize that, though I did experience a degree of racism, there are those who experience far more negative consequences as a result of this hate. That’s why it’s so important that each and every one of us speak unequivocally against anti-Asian hate and each and every one of us understand that we have a responsibility in acknowledging the impacts of anti-Asian hate. And also, beyond that, go further and start looking at it—and this is a conversation that has come out now with respect to the really terrible and tragic terrorist attack that happened in London, that was fuelled by a variety of forms of hatred and bigotry.

What people are calling for now more than ever is systemic change. We are calling for systemic change, and that’s what people want from government. It’s so important that we unequivocally condemn forms of hate, and we need words in that respect, but we can’t have just words. If we are limited to just words, then we do a disservice towards those who are victims of hate, and that’s why people are calling for systemic change to combat all forms of hatred, including anti-Asian hate.

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Since this is my first time rising, Speaker, and it is very applicable to the conversation that we’re having, the debate we’re having right now, I do want to take a moment to address the terrible terrorist attack towards the family in London, the Afzaal family. To think that a family that was going for a stroll was then victim to a terrorist attack that killed four out of five family members, leaving a nine-year-old boy with serious conditions, who is going to wake up and realize that his whole family was taken away from him just because they were Muslim—this kind of evil hate, this terrorist attack, is fuelled by things like Islamophobia, racism, anti-Asian hate. That’s why it’s so important right now that we have, across the board, an unequivocal condemnation to what happened in London and that we use the appropriate words, that we call it a terrorist attack that is fuelled by white supremacy, by right-wing extremism, by Islamophobia, by anti-Asian hate; that we unequivocally denounce this hate; but beyond that, that we commit to systemic change to combat this kind of hate.

That’s something that each and every one of us in this Legislature and every single Legislature across Canada need to commit to, because if we do not look at this from a systemic angle, then we are going to be in a position where we’re going to see continual forms of hatred continue.

It’s not enough to just say we need to condemn this hatred. People have been saying this. I was at a walk, actually, on Saturday in support of the Afzaal family. There, people were very clearly stating that the time for words alone is over. We need commitment.

When we talk about what those forms of systemic change are, we understand that systemic racism is pervasive in a variety of forms and of structures that impact us. So let’s look at what are the forms of racism that impact folks? We know that we have direct racism; the impacts of violence and murder and attacks upon folks. But we also have cultural, we have structural forms of racism. That’s why, when folks are calling for a systemic approach towards combatting racism, these are the angles that they want to look at.

I do want to take a moment, actually, to talk about another way that we can oppose these forms of hatred. It’s something that is connected to folks with Asian background. This is something I’ve spoken about in the past many, many times, and I want to talk about it again right now because it’s important.

My name is Gurratan Singh. It means the jewel of the bringer of light into darkness. I think of other beautiful names from diverse communities across—well, I think of the names within my own family. My brother’s name: Jagmeet, friend of the world. My mother’s name: Harmeet, friend to the universe. There’s so much beauty in our names. Even names from other communities and other cultures, names like Mohammed and Tehoriwathe; from Indigenous communities, names like Sol Mamakwa, which are so beautiful and diverse—it’s so important that we have our names said properly and that we, ourselves, say our names properly.

One of the ways that we can empower ourselves in combatting all forms of hate is by embracing the diversity that makes us unique, embracing the diversity that makes us distinct, embracing the diversity that often makes us the subject of discrimination or of hatred or of being made to feel the other. That’s why I am calling on everyone to embrace their names, to love their names, say their names properly, say them with pride and recognize that you don’t have to change your name because you think it’s easier for someone else to pronounce. If someone can say “anaesthesiologist,” “Saskatchewan,” if they can say those words, then they can say Gurratan Singh; they can say Mohammed; they can say Ravi. They can say the beautiful diversity of names that make up who we are as a community.

So let us embrace our names. Let us love our names. Let us love who we are, and by doing so not only lift ourselves up but lift others up around us.

I want to make a challenge to other folks: If you have a problem communicating or pronouncing someone’s name, then just ask them. I always tell people, if you’re confused, ask an individual. We’re more than willing to help pronounce it. I know folks amongst the caucus sometimes have a hard time pronouncing Gurratan. They come to me and they say, “How do I say it properly?” I’m more than willing to communicate that name properly. But I think it’s part of this conversation of combatting hate, and combatting anti-Asian hate specifically.

When I think about—my brother, actually, has spoken about this a lot. It’s an experience you have to reflect on. When I grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, I grew up in a school where I was probably one of the few not only people of Asian heritage, but people of racialized backgrounds as a whole. In that time, being one of the few racialized folks, it was a time where—I’ve spoken about this many times; my brother has shared this as well. It was tough growing up. Not only did I have what was perceived of as a funny-sounding name, people were not aware of the Sikh community. They were not aware of our Sikh traditions. They were not aware of our practice of keeping long hair. They weren’t aware of our traditions and our beliefs. When people are not aware, ignorance is often the ground in which fear and prejudice grow.

As a result of that, I faced a lot of bullying. I faced a lot of tough experiences being one of the few racialized kids in my school, with, on top of it, a name that others perceived as difficult to pronounce or as funny-sounding, and I also had really long hair. It was something they had never seen before and it was something that resulted in a lot of taunting and bullying and a lot of schoolyard fights.

In that process, though, I had an opportunity; I had a decision, I could say. I had a decision where I could begin to resent those aspects of me that made me unique or different, or I had an opportunity to double down, to love myself even more despite those who would make me feel or would want to make me feel lesser for being different.

I was lucky, because I had a really great role model. My brother had gone through a lot of these struggles himself, and he always taught me and showed me this way to say that the response towards hatred is by loving ourselves more. By doing so, we can be in a position of strength and a position of really fostering our own self-worth as we oppose this kind of racism and hatred. It was something that—

Interjections.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I hesitate to interrupt the member, but I need to ask the House to come to order and quieten down so I can hear the member for Brampton East, who has the floor.

The member for Brampton East.


Mr. Gurratan Singh: Thank you. I appreciate your words, Speaker, because this is one of those issues, of anti-Asian hate, that I really think each and every one of us in this House should be paying attention to, especially in the current context where we know the impact of this hate is incredibly—it’s always been existing. We know that forms of hatred and bigotry, especially for the Asian community, have existed for quite some time now. But in the current context of COVID-19, we know that the Asian community is often used as a scapegoat, and wrongly so, for the spread of COVID-19. We’ve seen the resulting acts of hatred, of terror, of violence towards communities and people from Asian backgrounds as a result of this hatred.

So I really do think it’s important that, especially on a subject like this, we do have all ears focused and ready to partake in this conversation, because it’s so important that we tackle anti-Asian hate, in the same way that I think, as a whole, the conversation is being constructed towards how we start properly opposing hate across the board. What that is, is opposing hate in a form where we do condemn it—you need to condemn it, and you need people in positions of power and authority to condemn it. But it’s not enough to just condemn it, because when you only use words, it doesn’t actually reflect the systemic inequities that result in the spread or the negative impacts of this kind of hate, because hate is pervasive in a variety of ways. You have direct hate. You have structural hate. You have cultural hate. You have these different forms of violence that result in communities that are marginalized being either further subject to violence or further subject to structural violence or cultural violence.

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That’s why when we talk about our role as people in the Legislature, it’s really important to recognize that this is where we talk about properly funding the Anti-Racism Directorate. This is where we talk about ensuring that communities that are disenfranchised, that are marginalized have access to resources they need so they can live their best lives.

This is where we start looking at it from a manner which is not just about saying—I give this example in a variety of ways, just to articulate how approaching and fighting hate in a structural form is so important: I have a lot of privilege, and I recognize my privilege. I’m a lawyer, I’m a man, I’m elected as a political representative, so if someone calls me a racist name or calls me something that is hate-filled or something that is borne out of bigotry, it hurts me and it impacts me, but it doesn’t impact my ability to put food on my family’s table. There’s a distinction in that, because when you talk about forms of structural hate and structural racism, when you talk about forms of cultural hate and cultural racism, when it impacts an individual’s ability to feed their family, access resources, access education, that becomes a far more impactful form of discrimination, because you’re now talking about a person’s ability to put food on their family’s table, to provide for their family, to be able to provide education for their family.

For me, when I am a victim to racism—and I have been many times. It’s been documented publicly in many forms. At the end of the day, because of my privilege, it impacts me differently than it may impact a new Canadian who doesn’t have the same fluency in English, who may be struggling to find gainful employment, may be struggling to gain access to the resources they need to ensure they’re living their best lives and ensure they’re able to get the help that they need.

That’s why we must look at this anti-Asian hate from a form that is direct, cultural and structural. And I hope that the government will actually not just pass this legislation, which is so important to pass, but also provide a commitment for funding to start fighting anti-Asian hate, because we need to start looking at it from that lens. To do otherwise in the current context will come off as tone-deaf.

I was just at the walk for our London family in Mississauga, and there, on the stage, people said, “We’ve had enough words from elected officials. We now need a commitment.” A true commitment in this fashion is one that will have a commitment of funding, that will tackle this structural form of hatred that will result in and has resulted and continues to result in people of different backgrounds being victim to racism—structural, direct and cultural. It is so important that we understand from that commitment.

I encourage the government to listen to the moment that we’re in right now and ensure that the actions they’re taking are ones in which you actually hear the pulse of Ontarians, of Canadians, especially in light of the terrible terrorist attack that just happened a couple of days ago—just a couple of days ago. We need to understand how we combat anti-Asian hate, and part of that is having that conversation of looking at what those factors are that inspire anti-Asian hate. That means challenging white supremacy, that means challenging Islamophobia, that means challenging right-wing extremism, because we know that these are the factors that are propelling and are motivating and are inspiring these evil acts of hatred, of terrorism, across the world and, of course, in our province as well.

As I look to the clock and I see that my time is coming to an end, I want to recap on the importance of the passage of anti-Asian hate month to ensure that we are recognizing the importance of recognizing anti-Asian hate. But I want to ensure that we are looking at it in a manner that looks to how we not only condemn this as a Legislature—because that’s important; I will never take that away, because that is an important step. But it’s not the only step, so we have to look beyond condemning it. I hope to see that we have a commitment from the government for funding to battle and fight anti-Asian hate. I also hope that we look towards continuing to challenge and have this direct approach towards—really approaching it head-on, fighting white supremacy, right-wing extremism, Islamophobia, bigotry and hate in all its forms.

I also then want to ensure that we are looking at this—and maybe I’m speaking right now to that young Gurratan, who was growing up in Windsor and faced a lot of racism, and to those young folks out there right now, or folks, quite frankly, from any age group who might be feeling alone right now because of the impacts of this hate; and to really say that we need to challenge it structurally, but we also need to send that message: to say, love yourself. Stand with your head tall and proud. Say your name properly, with pride, with love. Love your community. Understand that a tree is only as strong as its roots, so understand your roots. Feed your roots. Let them go deep into the ground. Let them hold up the tree that you are, and together, we can fight anti-Asian hate, and we can do it in a manner that lifts each and every one of us up.

Also, I want to end by saying this: We need to fight anti-Asian hate. We need to fight anti-Black racism. We need to fight anti-Indigenous racism. We need to fight Islamophobia. We need to fight anti-Sikh hate. We need to fight every form of hate that exists and holds people back, and by doing so, we will create a more just province.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Further debate?

Ms. Andrea Khanjin: I rise to obviously support my colleague from Don Valley North’s bill and the importance of it. We recognize the need, and we are taking action, whether it be on anti-Asian racism, anti-Black racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, anti-Indigenous sentiments—you name it.

Our government has been elected to represent the people from day one, whether it’s helping newcomers or people who have been here for many generations—I know my family were newcomers. But we’re helping them on all fronts, whether it’s a small business grant, whether it’s making sure their kids are safe in school and they have the right math skills to get ahead. On all fronts, we’re putting all people first.

We recognize that there should be no tolerance for any sort of racism in Ontario, especially when people are coming from all different countries to this great province, when they’re fleeing tyrannical regimes, when they’re fleeing intolerance and they’re coming to a province that really thrives off of its diversity.

On that note, Speaker, I am very thrilled to support this private member’s bill, and I move adjournment of debate.


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): The member for Barrie–Innisfil has moved adjournment of the debate. Are we agreed? I heard a no.

All those in favour, please say “aye.”

All those opposed, please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Yes, there will be a vote, so call in the members. There will be a bell. Prepare the lobbies, please.

The division bells rang from 1210 to 1240.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Ms. Khanjin has moved the adjournment of the debate.

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 64; the nays are 24.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I declare the motion carried.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Michael Mantha: Point of order, Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Point of order, the member for Algoma–Manitoulin.

Mr. Michael Mantha: I seek unanimous consent to move a motion regarding the immediate passage of Bill 191, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Amendment Act, brought forward by the member for Niagara Falls to protect Ontario’s front-line workers who have contracted COVID-19 on the job.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Is the member able to cite a standing order that he feels we’re in breach of at the moment?

Mr. Michael Mantha: Section 14(a), Speaker: “shall decide questions of privilege and points of order.”

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I don’t find that this is a valid point of order, but I understand what the opposition is trying to do at the present time. We do have other business scheduled that was to take place right after question period, a deferred vote that was scheduled that everybody knew about.

I’m going to have to ask the House if there is unanimous consent to consider any other business at this time other than the deferred vote on time allocation on Bill 307. Is there unanimous consent to continue to deal with any other business of any sort? I heard some noes.

DEFERRED VOTES

TIME ALLOCATION


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): We have a deferred vote on government notice of motion number 114, relating to the allocation of time on Bill 307, An Act to amend the Election Finances Act.

The bells will now ring for 30 minutes, during which time members may cast their vote. I will ask the Clerks to please prepare the lobbies.

The division bells rang from 1245 to 1315.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The vote on government notice of motion number 114, relating to the allocation of time on Bill 307, An Act to amend the Election Finances Act, has taken place.

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 63; the nays are 42.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I declare the motion carried.

Motion agreed to.

MEMBER’S CONDUCT


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I wish to report to the House that the member for Lanark–Frontenac–Kingston has defied an order of the House and the authority of the Sergeant-at-Arms just now, entering the voting lobby without the required face protection that was ordered by the House to be worn by all members, whether in the chamber or in the voting lobbies. I’ll leave it to the House to decide what, if any, recourse needs to be taken.

Government House leader.


Hon. Paul Calandra: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the notification, and I will, of course, work with the opposition House leaders and advise the House of further actions.

MEMBERS’ PRIVILEGES


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Point of order, the member for London West.

Ms. Peggy Sattler: I rise on a point of privilege, actually, regarding something that happened earlier today. I’m rising under section 23(c) of the standing orders, which indicates members proposing to raise a point of privilege, other than one arising under the proceedings in the chamber during the course of a sessional day—the reason I was not able to rise earlier on this point of privilege was because we moved immediately to a vote, but I am rising now.

I am very concerned about the privilege of the member for Algoma–Manitoulin, about the privilege of all of us as members in this Legislature. It has been a long-standing practice for members to rise on points of order as a means of seeking unanimous consent to pass motions through this House. As far as I am aware, it has never been disallowed before by the Speaker—this mechanism of members rising to bring forward motions through unanimous consent and to use points of order to bring those motions to the floor.

As you know, Speaker, standing order 14(a) indicates that the Speaker shall rule on points of order and points of privilege. Unless the Speaker is able to hear a point of order, I do not believe that the Speaker is able to determine whether the point of order is valid or not.

So I want to raise those concerns that the privilege of members, the rights of members to bring forward motions and to seek unanimous consent from others in this House have been undermined by a decision that happened earlier today.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I appreciate the point of privilege that has been raised by the member for London West. I would say that, in the first instance, the decisions of the Speaker are not appealable. But secondly, I appreciate the point that she has made, and I’ll take it under advisement and report back to the House in due course.

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Pursuant to standing order 37, I now call reports by committees. Reports by committees? Introduction of bills? Statements by the ministry? Motions?


Miss Monique Taylor: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Point of order, the member for Hamilton Mountain.

Miss Monique Taylor: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to establish a COVID-19 hot spot vaccination strategy to better fight the emerging variants in Kitchener-Waterloo and other municipalities.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Hamilton Mountain is seeking the unanimous consent of the House to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to establish a COVID-19 hot spot vaccination strategy. Agreed? I heard a no.

Mr. Gurratan Singh: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Point of order, the member for Brampton East.

Mr. Gurratan Singh: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to expand equitable access to health care and reproductive care to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Brampton East is seeking the unanimous consent of the House to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to expand equitable access to health care and reproductive care to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Agreed? I heard a no.

Mr. John Vanthof: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Timiskaming–Cochrane.

Mr. John Vanthof: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice calling on the Legislative Assembly to recognize micro, small and medium-sized enterprises today.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’m going to ask again: What matter of order is the member requesting that I address with his point of order?

Mr. John Vanthof: Thank you for the opportunity. I believe, as a member, I am exercising my right to bring a unanimous consent motion forward to bring forward an issue to the Legislature that I believe the Legislature should take action on.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Okay, so there’s no point of order. It’s not a valid point of order.

We are in the midst of routine proceedings. I think I have to ask again: Is there unanimous consent of the House to consider any other business, other than the routine proceedings that are prescribed by the standing orders that we are currently in? I heard a no.

MOTIONS

HOUSE SITTINGS


Hon. Paul Calandra: I move that when the House adjourns today, it stands adjourned until Monday, September 13, 2021.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The government House leader has moved that when the House adjourns today, it stands adjourned until Monday, September 13, 2021.

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

Motion agreed to.

PETITIONS

INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS


Ms. Jennifer K. French: I have a petition here, signed by the folks in Oshawa, called “Stop the Cuts to Indigenous Reconciliation.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas Ontario is situated on the traditional territory of Indigenous peoples, many of whom have been on this land for at least 12,000 years;

“Whereas in 2015 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released its final report: ‘Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future’ which made 94 recommendations or ‘Calls to Action’ for the government of Canada;

“Whereas reconciliation must be at the centre of all government decision-making;

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

“—continue reconciliation work in Ontario by implementing the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission;

“—reinstate the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation;

“—work with First Nations leaders to sign co-operative government-to-government accords;

“—support TRC education and community development (e.g. TRC summer writing sessions);

“—support Indigenous communities across the province (e.g. cleaning up Grassy Narrows).”

I wholeheartedly support this petition. I will affix my signature and send it to the table.

DOG PARK


Mr. David Piccini: I’m proud to stand today to table this petition to the Legislature Assembly of Ontario.

“Whereas the municipality of Trent Hills currently has no area for dogs to go exercise, play and socialize;

“Whereas the citizens of this community and surrounding areas would like to develop a beautiful, well-maintained space open to all dog lovers and friends who are willing to uphold the park’s rules and restrictions;

“Whereas this park is being viewed as a community project, in partnership with the municipality of Trent Hills, designed to satisfy the needs of dog owners and non-dog owners alike;

“Whereas not only the dogs but also the people of the community can socialize and enjoy yet another attraction within the municipality of Trent Hills limits;

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

“To allocate a portion of Ferris park at the corner of Burnbrae and County Road 8 to the municipality of Trent Hills for the purpose and use of establishing a fenced-in, off-leash dog park where well-behaved canine citizens can exercise in a clean, safe environment without endangering or annoying people, property or wildlife.”

I’d like to thank constituent Daniel Giddings for giving this to me. I proudly affix my signature to this petition.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING


Mr. Michael Mantha: I have a petition entitled “Affordable Housing.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas for families throughout much of Ontario, owning a home they can afford remains a dream, while renting is painfully expensive;

“Whereas consecutive Conservative and Liberal governments have sat idle, while housing costs spiralled out of control, speculators made fortunes, and too many families had to put their hopes on hold;

“Whereas every Ontarian should have access to safe, affordable housing. Whether a family wants to rent or own, live in a house, an apartment, a condominium or a co-op, they should have affordable options;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to immediately prioritize the repair of Ontario’s social housing stock, commit to building new affordable homes, crack down on housing speculators, and make rentals more affordable through rent controls and updated legislation.”

I wholeheartedly agree with this petition, sign my signature and present it to the usher.

PLACES OF RELIGIOUS WORSHIP


Mr. Rick Nicholls: I’m pleased to present this petition—an additional 200-plus signatures to the already 1,100.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas places of worship provide essential spiritual, emotional, and mental health services to help combat depression, anxiety, fear, and other mental health disorders;

“Whereas gatherings at places of worship is essential, spiritual nourishment for the faithful;

“Whereas places of worship are important for good health and well-being for those in search of the truth;

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

“(1) Designate places of worship as essential during any COVID-19 or variant health crisis causing lockdowns and/or stay-at-home orders provided places of worship follow Ontario guidelines to ensure the health and safety of staff and those attending worship services;

“(2) Expand places of worship capacity as soon as it is safe to do so.”

I wholeheartedly agree with this petition. I will sign it and will pass it to the table.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Petitions?

Ms. Peggy Sattler: Point of order, Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Point of order, the member for London West.

Ms. Peggy Sattler: Thank you very much, Speaker. I rise again to raise a point of privilege, as is permitted under section 23(c) of the standing orders.

I appreciate your response to my earlier point of privilege, but I am very concerned about the unanimous consent motion that was just defeated, the motion that was just called for, requiring the unanimous consent of this House to consider anything other than the business that is before us. I am not aware that that is a practice, and it is an extremely high bar, if it means that members are never able to bring forward any other business without unanimous consent.

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I point again to section 14(a) of the standing orders that calls on the Speaker to determine whether valid points of order have been raised or not. I’m not sure how that ability can be exercised if those points of order are not heard.

I just wanted to raise that point of privilege again. I think that all of us, as members, own the business of this Legislature, and we should have the right to be able to seek unanimous consent from other members in order to bring forward other business that may be considered by the Legislature.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Again, I feel that I’ve already ruled on this matter, but I appreciate the second presentation by the member for London West. I would say again that the Speaker’s rulings are not appealable. We will consider the points that you’ve raised and get back to you. But the decision that I took was—it was not a valid point of order.

We’re still in petitions. Member for Oshawa.

HIGHWAY TOLLS


Ms. Jennifer K. French: I am pleased to have the opportunity to read a petition into the Legislature, signed by folks in Oshawa like Rick Coté, called “Stop the Unfair Tolling of Highways in Durham Region.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas Highway 412 and ... Highway 418 are community highways that are primarily used for local traffic travelling to and from Durham region; and

“Whereas Highway 412 and ... Highway 418 are the only north-south 400-series highways in the entire greater Toronto and Hamilton area that are tolled; and

“Whereas tolls on the 412 have left the highway underutilized, resulting in additional congestion across residential roadways in the region; and

“Whereas residents in Durham region have been advocating for the removal of these unfair tolls since their introduction;

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

“Support Bill 43 to remove the tolls from the 412 highway and” the 418 highway.

I wholeheartedly support this. I affix my signature and will send it to the table.

LAND USE PLANNING


Mr. Mike Schreiner: I rise to read a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

“Whereas the proposed Highway 413 is not in the best interests of Ontario citizens for a number of important reasons, including destruction of wildlife and wildlife habitat; destroys prime farmland; runs through the greenbelt, a protected area; increased carbon emissions; risk to groundwater; opposition from local governments; promotes urban sprawl; saves drivers only 30 to 60 seconds’ driving time ... deprives future generations of recreation land; and

“Whereas many Oakville citizens have voiced their objections to the environmental impact that will be caused by the construction of the proposed highway; and

“Whereas many Oakville citizens have voiced their objections to the large sum of taxpayers’ dollars ($6 billion to $10 billion) being misused in this way when they could be used to fund climate change initiatives, such as expanding public transportation; environmentally friendly alternatives such as electric vehicles subsidies and renewable energies; protecting environmentally sensitive areas; non-profit environmental organizations; and

“Whereas the Highway 413 proposal was already cancelled by a previous government;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to immediately cancel any plans to construct the proposed Highway 413.”

I fully support this petition I will proudly sign it and send it to the table.

AUTISM TREATMENT


Miss Monique Taylor: I have a petition that reads:

“Support Ontario Families with Autism.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas every child with autism deserves access to sufficient treatment and support so that they can live to their fullest potential;

“Whereas the Ontario Autism Program was badly broken under the Liberals, and the changes introduced by the Conservatives have made it worse;

“Whereas the new funding caps are based on age and income, and not the clinical needs of the child;

“Whereas Ontario needs a true investment in evidence-based autism services that meets the needs of autistic children and their families;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to direct the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services to invest in equitable, needs-based autism services for all children who need them.”

Speaker, I’ve been reading these petitions for years. Again, I wholeheartedly agree and hope that the government does the right thing. I’m going to affix my signature to it and send it to the Clerk.

GOVERNMENT POLICIES


Ms. Jill Andrew: This petition is on behalf of our midtown community in St. Paul’s.

“Stop Ford’s Power Grab.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas the Premier’s use of the ‘notwithstanding’ clause is a power grab, and a desperate attempt to muzzle families of long-term-care residents, parents of children with autism, teachers and school communities, working people, environmental advocates, and front-line health care workers; and

“Whereas the Premier’s priorities are all wrong—he should be focused on long-term care, our children’s schools and our struggling hospitals; and

“Whereas people have the right to criticize the Premier’s big cuts and bad choices;

“Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to stop the government’s attempt to muzzle and silence people.”

I overwhelmingly support this petition. I affix my signature and will have it tabled.

GOVERNMENT POLICIES


Mr. Terence Kernaghan: It gives me great pleasure to present this petition on behalf of the great people of London North Centre. It reads:

“Call on the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to Not Silence Critics by Using the ‘Notwithstanding’ Clause.

“Whereas families of long-term-care residents, parents of children with autism, teachers and school communities, working people, environmental advocates, and front-line health care workers have the right to free speech;

“Whereas the Premier’s priorities are all wrong—he should be focused on long-term care, our children’s schools and our struggling hospitals; and

“Whereas people have the right to criticize the Premier’s big cuts and bad choices;

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

“To stop the government’s attempt to muzzle and silence people by using the ‘notwithstanding’ clause.”

I fully support this petition and will be affixing my signature and delivering it to the Clerks.

AUTISM TREATMENT


Ms. Jennifer K. French: I am pleased to share this petition with the House called “Support Ontario Families with Autism.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas every child with autism deserves access to sufficient treatment and support so that they can live to their fullest potential;

“Whereas the Ontario Autism Program was badly broken under the Liberals, and the changes introduced by the Conservatives have made it worse;

“Whereas the new funding caps are based on age and income, and not the clinical needs of the child;

“Whereas Ontario needs a true investment in evidence-based autism services that meets the needs of autistic children and their families;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to direct the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services to invest in equitable, needs-based autism services for all children who need them.”

I wholeheartedly support this. I will affix my signature and send it to the table.

SCHOOL FACILITIES


Mr. Michael Mantha: I have a petition titled “Fund Our Schools.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

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

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

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

“Whereas less than three weeks into the legislative session,” the Premier “and the Conservative government have” made cuts to the tune of “$100 million in much-needed school repairs, leaving our children and educators to suffer in classrooms that are unsafe and unhealthy;

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

I wholeheartedly agree with this petition. I affix my signature and present it to the usher.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That concludes our petitions for this afternoon.

Ms. Peggy Sattler: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Point of order, the member for London West.

Ms. Peggy Sattler: Thank you, Speaker. I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice calling on the Legislative Assembly to recognize World Food Safety Day.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for London West is seeking the unanimous consent of the House to bring forward a motion without notice calling on the Legislative Assembly to recognize World Food Safety Day. Agreed? I heard a no.

Ms. Catherine Fife: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Point of order, the member for Waterloo.

Ms. Catherine Fife: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice calling on the Legislative Assembly to recognize World Blood Donor Day.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Waterloo is seeking unanimous consent of the House to bring forward a motion without notice calling on the Legislative Assembly to recognize World Blood Donor Day. Agreed? No.

Mr. Michael Mantha: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Algoma–Manitoulin.

Mr. Michael Mantha: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice calling on the Legislative Assembly to recognize International Day of Parliamentarism.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member is raising a point of order. I’m going to ask again what matter of order is the member requesting that I address?

Mr. Michael Mantha: Speaker, this is the opportunity that I have as a parliamentarian and as a representative for the good people of Algoma–Manitoulin and across this province to bring issues forward to the floor of this Legislature in order to seek unanimous consent to move it forward.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I appreciate that, but that doesn’t make this a valid point of order.

So I’m now going to ask again: Is there unanimous consent of the House to consider any other business other than moving to orders of the day? Agreed? Is there unanimous consent of the House to consider any other business? I heard some noes.

Orders of the day.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

PROTECTING ELECTIONS AND DEFENDING DEMOCRACY ACT, 2021 / LOI DE 2021 VISANT À PROTÉGER LES ÉLECTIONS ET À DÉFENDRE LA DÉMOCRATIE

Resuming the debate adjourned on June 12, 2021, on the motion for second reading of the following bill:

Bill 307, An Act to amend the Election Finances Act / Projet de loi 307, Loi modifiant la Loi sur le financement des élections.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Pursuant to the order of the House passed earlier today, I’m now required to put the question.

Mr. Downey has moved second reading of Bill 307, An Act to amend the Election Finances Act.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carries? I heard some noes.

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

All those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

A recorded vote being required, the bells will now ring for 30 minutes, during which time members may cast their votes. I’ll ask the table Clerks to please prepare the lobbies.

The division bells rang from 1343 to 1413.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The vote on the motion for second reading of Bill 307, An Act to amend the Election Finances Act, has taken place.

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 63; the nays are 46.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I declare the motion carried.

Second reading agreed to.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Pursuant to the order of the House passed earlier today, the bill is now ordered for third reading.

MEMBER’S CONDUCT


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I wish to report to the House that the member for Lanark–Frontenac–Kingston has, for a second time this afternoon, defied an order of the House and the authority of the Sergeant-at-Arms and entered the voting lobby without the required face protection that was ordered by the House to be worn by all members in the chamber and in the voting lobbies. I also wish to inform the House that he did this on Monday, May 31, so this is the third time he has done it.

I’ll leave it to the House to decide what, if any, recourse needs to be taken.

Orders of the day.


Hon. Paul Calandra: Order G307.

Miss Monique Taylor: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Point of order, the member for Hamilton Mountain.

Miss Monique Taylor: Thank you, Speaker. I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice calling on the Legislative Assembly to recognize Clean Air Day Canada.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Hamilton Mountain is seeking the unanimous consent of the House to bring forward a motion without notice calling on the Legislative Assembly to recognize Clean Air Day Canada. Agreed? I heard a no.

Mr. Gurratan Singh: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Point of order, the member for Brampton East.

Mr. Gurratan Singh: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice calling on the Legislative Assembly to recognize Multiculturalism Day.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Brampton East is seeking the unanimous consent of the House to bring forward a motion without notice calling on the Legislative Assembly to recognize Multiculturalism Day. Agreed? I heard a no.

Mr. John Vanthof: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Timiskaming–Cochrane.

Mr. John Vanthof: Thank you for recognizing me, Speaker. I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice calling on the Legislative Assembly to recognize National Public Service Week in Ontario.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’m compelled to ask the member what matter of order he is requesting that I address.

Mr. John Vanthof: It is the right of every member to bring forward a point of order and have the Speaker rule on whether that point of order is valid or not.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): It is the obligation of the Speaker to rule whether or not the point of order is valid, and it is not a valid point of order.

Ms. Peggy Sattler: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Point of order, the member for London West.

Ms. Peggy Sattler: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice calling on the Legislative Assembly to recognize PTSD Awareness Day.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Once again, I’ll ask the member, what matter of order is the member requesting that I address?

Ms. Peggy Sattler: Thank you for this opportunity, Speaker. I have seen in this House that it is a long-standing practice for members to bring forward motions without notice to seek unanimous consent from other members by rising on a point of order. It is the only avenue available to members to seek unanimous consent from others in this place. That is the reason for my rising on the point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): It is not a valid point of order.

I feel compelled to ask the House if there’s unanimous consent of the House to consider any other business other than the third reading of the bill—the time allocation motion that has just been passed by the House—which is compelling us to move forward.


Ms. Catherine Fife: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Point of order, the member for Waterloo.

Ms. Catherine Fife: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): No. It’s not a valid point of order.

I recognize the Attorney General.

PROTECTING ELECTIONS AND DEFENDING DEMOCRACY ACT, 2021 / LOI DE 2021 VISANT À PROTÉGER LES ÉLECTIONS ET À DÉFENDRE LA DÉMOCRATIE

Mr. Downey moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill 307, An Act to amend the Election Finances Act / Projet de loi 307, Loi modifiant la Loi sur le financement des élections.


Mr. Michael Mantha: Speaker, point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Point of order, the member for Algoma–Manitoulin.

Mr. Michael Mantha: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice calling on the Legislative Assembly to recognize—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That is not a valid point of order.

Miss Monique Taylor: Point of order. Point of order, Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’m going to recognize the Attorney General.

Hon. Doug Downey: Mr. Speaker, there are two things at play here today. The Protecting Elections and Defending Democracy Act—

Miss Monique Taylor: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Hamilton Mountain will come to order.

Hon. Doug Downey: —will restore these critical guardrails to protect the essential role of individuals at the heart of Ontario’s democracy—

Miss Monique Taylor: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Hamilton Mountain will come to order.

Miss Monique Taylor: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Point of order.

Miss Monique Taylor: Thank you, Speaker. I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice calling on the Legislative Assembly—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Hamilton Mountain will come to order and take her seat.

Miss Monique Taylor: —to recognize—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Hamilton Mountain will take her seat.

Miss Monique Taylor: Pardon? I couldn’t hear you. I’m sorry.

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The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Hamilton Mountain is warned.

The Attorney General has the floor.


Hon. Doug Downey: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I’d like to thank the opposition for demonstrating exactly what would happen if there were no rules governing third-party advertising—

Interjection.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Just a second. The member for Brampton East has a point of order.

Mr. Gurratan Singh: I seek the unanimous consent of this House to bring—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): No. The member for Brampton East will take his seat. It’s not a valid point of order.

The Attorney General has the floor.


Hon. Doug Downey: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I don’t know—the public needs to understand exactly what it is we’re doing to protect the average Ontarian and the elections system.

Sometimes you’re having a conversation, and you’re in a room and the radio is very loud, and when you’re trying to talk to the other person—


Mr. John Vanthof: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Timiskaming–Cochrane will take his seat.

Mr. John Vanthof: I have a point of order, Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Okay. What’s the point of order?

Mr. John Vanthof: Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice calling the—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): It’s not a valid point of order.

The Attorney General has the floor.


Hon. Doug Downey: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

You’re having a conversation with somebody and somebody starts being loud and talking over you and—


Ms. Peggy Sattler: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for London West has a point of order.

Ms. Peggy Sattler: I seek unanimous consent of the House to bring forward a motion without notice calling—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That is not a valid point of order.

The Attorney General has the floor.


Hon. Doug Downey: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

What you do when you’re having that conversation is that you turn down the radio so that you can hear the other person talk, so that you can hear the other person make the point that they want to make. And that’s exactly what we’re doing. We’re taking the—


Ms. Catherine Fife: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Waterloo has a point of order.

Ms. Catherine Fife: Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice calling on the Legislative Assembly to recognize Portuguese—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): It’s not a valid point of order.

The Attorney General has the floor.


Hon. Doug Downey: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

While the opposition continues to talk about anything except the big money in politics—

Interjection.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Algoma–Manitoulin has a point of order.

Mr. Michael Mantha: Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to commit to a permanent living wage for all—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): It’s not a valid point of order.

The Attorney General has the floor.


Hon. Doug Downey: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

There was a time the NDP was concerned about big money in politics. There was a time—


Miss Monique Taylor: Point of order. Thank you, Speaker. I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice calling on the Legislative Assembly—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): It’s not a valid point of order.

Interjection.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’m going to ask the official opposition to respect the Speaker and the Chair.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: We want you to respect our voices, too.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I have to call the Leader of the Opposition to order.

The Attorney General has the floor.


Hon. Doug Downey: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, it’s exactly this kind of thing where they want to shout down the voice according to the rules. They don’t want any rules. They just want to be able to have people come out and say what they want to say.

Interjections.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The official opposition has to come to order.

Mr. Gurratan Singh: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Brampton East on a point of order.

Mr. Gurratan Singh: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to ensure that long-term-care providers meet the minimum standard of—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): It’s not a valid point of order.

Mr. Roman Baber: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for York Centre has a point of order.

Mr. Roman Baber: Mr. Speaker, while the point of the member from Brampton East may not be a point of order, it would certainly fall within a point of privilege, as there is nothing in the rules that precludes a member from bringing a motion without notice.

I would also like to suggest to the Speaker, respectfully, that there is no process where the Speaker would seek unanimous consent not to proceed with a hearing of what is effectively the privilege of a member. Thank you, Speaker.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Yes, I heard the point of privilege that was raised by the member for London West and committed to take it under advisement and to reply back to the House in due course.

Mr. Roman Baber: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Point of order, the member for York Centre.

Mr. Roman Baber: With respect, I have raised a different argument from the member from London West.

The member from London West proposed that she has a right to rise on a point of order at any time, as the Speaker would have the right to call members out of order when the Speaker believes that they are out of order for pursuing the type of tactic that we’re seeing from the opposition today.

I submit something differently to the Speaker. I submit to the Speaker that it’s not on a point of order that the opposition members may be rising if the Speaker doesn’t believe that that’s an appropriate course of conduct. I’m submitting to the Speaker that there’s nothing in the rules that precludes a member from rising on a motion without notice, whether it’s brought under a point of order or not.

The second point is, irrespective of the ruling on my first point. I would like to bring a point of order with respect to the process called by the Speaker, by which the Speaker asked for unanimous consent of the House to preclude members from bringing a motion without notice. That would be a second element on which I would seek the Speaker’s ruling.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The Speaker also has an obligation to ensure the orderly business of the House. It was clear to the Speaker that there was not going to be unanimous consent of the House for the alleged points of order that were being raised. That was the basis upon which the decision was made.

The Attorney General has the floor.


Hon. Doug Downey: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You can see exactly what happens when we don’t have rules and guardrails on things like democracy.

Mr. Speaker, there was a time when the opposition and the Liberals—

Interjections.


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

Mr. John Vanthof: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Timiskaming–Cochrane has a point of order.

Mr. John Vanthof: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to commit to a permanent living wage for all PSWs in Ontario.

And I submit that it is the right of every member to be able to stand and make a point of order before the Speaker—the Speaker cannot rule, en masse, that all points of order shall not be heard.

Interjections.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That is not a valid point of order. The next—

Ms. Peggy Sattler: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for London West?

Ms. Peggy Sattler: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to pay all PSWs for travel time and expenses incurred for home visits.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That’s not a valid point of order.

The Attorney General?


Hon. Doug Downey: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Ms. Catherine Fife: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Waterloo has a point of order.

Ms. Catherine Fife: Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to commit to implement a robust and effective ministry review of Ontario long-term-care facilities.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That is not a valid point of order.

The Attorney General.


Hon. Doug Downey: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This is exactly what’s going to happen when big money continues in third-party ads. They’re going to drown out the proper process—

Interjections.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The official opposition has to come to order or I’m going to have to start warning individual members.

Mr. Roman Baber: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for York Centre.

Mr. Roman Baber: I have, with respect, distinguished my argument from that of my friend from London West, and I would suggest that, given what is transpiring today, that point of order needs a ruling by the Speaker. If the Speaker intends to take that ruling under reserve, then, given the magnitude of the issues, I move for recess of the House until the Speaker is able to consider the point of order by the member from London West and my point of order made out of two issues.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): [inaudible] have the floor. He has no right to move a motion. And because of the time allocation motion, we are compelled to deal with the third reading of this bill.

The Attorney General has the floor.


Hon. Doug Downey: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

What this bill will do is put guardrails on the electoral system—


Mr. Michael Mantha: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Algoma–Manitoulin has a point of order.

Mr. Michael Mantha: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to ensure that Ontario’s long-term-care homes have the staff—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That’s not a valid point of order.

The Attorney General.


Hon. Doug Downey: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Right now, there is no law in place at all for third-party spending.


Mr. Roman Baber: Point of order.

Interjection: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for York Centre is first.

Mr. Roman Baber: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that there’s a time allocation order before the House. That still does not supersede a point of order.

I would also suggest to the Speaker that I still have not received a ruling on the two issues that I’ve raised.

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And I would finally suggest to the Speaker that a request for a recess for the Speaker to consider and rule on my two points of order, and on the point of order of the member from London West, is in order because having to do so on a future date may render the actual issue alleged obsolete or moot at a time when the Speaker would rule on it in the future. So again, I’m motioning for recess of the House, without notice, in order to ask for a ruling of the Speaker.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I will rule on that point of privilege in due course, when I can. Right now, we’re debating third reading of the bill; the time allocation motion has passed.

The member for Hamilton Mountain has another point of order?


Miss Monique Taylor: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to pay all PSWs for travel time and expenses incurred for home visits.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That’s not a valid point of order.

The Attorney General has the floor.


Hon. Doug Downey: It raises the question: What advantage does the opposition think they have without accountability—

Mr. Gurratan Singh: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Brampton East has a point of order.

Mr. Gurratan Singh: Respectfully, I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to establish and maintain a sufficient stockpile of PPE so we are ready for future pandemics.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That’s not a valid point of order.

The Attorney General has the floor.


Hon. Doug Downey: Thank you, Speaker.

Why are they fighting to protect murky money? And most importantly, how do they think this helps the average Ontarian or the integrity of system? I suspect they know it’s wrong, but they think maximizing a lawless system that advantages—


Mr. John Vanthof: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Timiskaming–Cochrane has a point of order.

Mr. John Vanthof: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to ensure that long-term-care providers meet the minimum standard of care mandated by the province.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That is not a valid point of order.

The Attorney General has the floor.


Hon. Doug Downey: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

They think that the end-justifies-the-means type of logic by not allowing—


Ms. Peggy Sattler: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for London West has a point of order.

Ms. Peggy Sattler: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to provide sufficient air conditioning in Ontario’s long-term-care facilities.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That’s not a valid point of order.

The Attorney General.


Hon. Doug Downey: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

That’s okay, because we will protect the integrity of the electoral system with or without their support—


Ms. Catherine Fife: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Waterloo has a point of order.

Ms. Catherine Fife: Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring—

Interjections.


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

The member for Waterloo has a point of order, I understand.


Ms. Catherine Fife: Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to implement a room temperature standard in all long-term-care homes. I feel I have the right to bring this to this floor as I am elected by the people of—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): You have the right to raise a point of order, but it’s not a valid point of order.

The Attorney General has the floor.


Hon. Doug Downey: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

On Saturday morning, I challenged anyone in this House—anyone in this House—to stand up and deny that the level—


Mr. Michael Mantha: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Algoma–Manitoulin has a point of order.

Mr. Michael Mantha: Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to mandate culturally responsive, inclusive and affirming long-term care in Ontario.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That’s not a valid point of order.

The Attorney General has the floor.


Hon. Doug Downey: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

And yet they stand up, but they don’t address the issue. They’re afraid to address the issue of why they are protecting third-party advertising with no limits, no—


Miss Monique Taylor: Point of order, Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Hamilton Mountain has a point of order.

Miss Monique Taylor: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to establish standards for single-home employment for Ontario PSWs. Imagine the concept of good bills like that.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That’s not a valid point of order.

The Attorney General has the floor.


Hon. Doug Downey: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. There is a laundry list of issues that they’ve been raising.

Mr. Gurratan Singh: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Brampton East has a point of order.

Mr. Gurratan Singh: Respectfully, I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to require health care staff to receive training in palliative and geriatric care.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That’s not a valid point of order.

Attorney General.


Hon. Doug Downey: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The irony—


Mr. Roman Baber: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for York Centre has a point of order.

Mr. Roman Baber: Mr. Speaker, in effect, your ruling to not permit points of order to bring motions without notice extinguishes the process, the procedure of bringing a motion without notice. I would suggest, respectfully, that that would require amendments of the rules, something that the governing party could move for. I’m of the view that this is so delicate that it requires a ruling. I understand that the issue brought forth by my friend from London West is under consideration, is under advisement; I do not understand that the two distinct issues that I’ve raised are under advisement and the Speaker will rule on them. Even if the Speaker is willing to rule on them, I respectfully submit to the Speaker that it cannot unilaterally extinguish the ability of members to move a motion without notice.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I say to the member for York Centre, there’s nothing out of order. The House just passed a time allocation motion to deal with Bill 307. We’re at third reading of the bill.

The Attorney General has the floor.


Hon. Doug Downey: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

There’s nothing more powerful than a demonstration of why you need guardrails on things, so I thank the members. Every time they get up, I keep hoping they’re going to make a point of order or something about the bill, but they’re not. They’re not focusing on the fundamental foundation of our electoral democracy, which is making sure that the people can hear the voice of those on the—


Mr. John Vanthof: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Timiskaming–Cochrane has a point of order.

Mr. John Vanthof: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to recruit, train and hire Indigenous staff for health and long-term care.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That’s not a valid point of order.

The Attorney General.


Hon. Doug Downey: I’ve been waiting all weekend for them to raise on the issue itself—

Ms. Peggy Sattler: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for London West has a point of order.

Ms. Peggy Sattler: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to expand the availability of culturally and linguistically specific long-term care for Indigenous seniors.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That’s not a valid point of order.

The Attorney General has the floor.


Hon. Doug Downey: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The NDP see the problem, but they don’t want to do anything about it. It raises the question—


Ms. Catherine Fife: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Waterloo has a point of order.

Ms. Catherine Fife: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to recruit, train and hire Indigenous staff for health and long-term care—and also to withdraw Bill 307 while we’re at it.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That’s not a valid point of order.

Hon. Doug Downey: Mr. Speaker—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The Attorney General.

Hon. Doug Downey: —which is exactly what’s going to happen if there are no guardrails on third-party advertising—

Mr. Michael Mantha: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Algoma–Manitoulin has a point of order.

Mr. Michael Mantha: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to assist municipalities with the development of public, not-for-profit long-term care.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That’s not a valid point of order.

The Attorney General.


Hon. Doug Downey: As my father used to say, Mr. Speaker, they won’t change their mind and they won’t change the subject. They’re not even interested in the debate of the day.

Miss Monique Taylor: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Hamilton Mountain has a point of order.

Miss Monique Taylor: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to immediately hire 10,000 PSWs.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That’s not a valid point of order.

The Attorney General has the floor.


Hon. Doug Downey: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Political parties and candidates are regulated 24/7, 365—


Mr. Gurratan Singh: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Brampton East has a point of order.

Mr. Gurratan Singh: Respectfully, I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to increase oversight of for-profit long-term-care homes for home visits.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That’s not a valid point of order.

Mr. Roman Baber: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for York Centre has a point of order.

Mr. Roman Baber: I’ve been noticing that during all the points of order raised by my friends of the opposition, the clock continued rolling. I stand to be corrected, but my understanding is that the point of order should not potentially come at the expense of the Attorney General’s time. Am I correct?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I have not stopped the clock. That’s not a valid point of order.

The Attorney General has the floor.


Hon. Doug Downey: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Look, the opposition doesn’t want to hear from me anyway, so we may as well continue the debate and talk about what we’re trying to do here, what we intend to do. We’re talking about—


Mr. John Vanthof: Point of order.

1440


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Timiskaming–Cochrane has a point of order.

Mr. John Vanthof: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to assist municipalities, not-for-profit agencies and other public sector and community health organizations with support to convert for-profit facilities into not-for-profit long-term care and to build facilities for care.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That is not a valid point of order.

The Attorney General has the floor.

Hon. Doug Downey I’m sure glad I didn’t write a speech and just had some points to make, Mr. Speaker.


Ms. Peggy Sattler: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for London West side has a point of order.

Ms. Peggy Sattler: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to promote and protect increased universal wages, benefits and pensions for PSWs in—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That is not a valid point of order.

The Attorney General.


Hon. Doug Downey: In 2016, the Liberals saw the problem. They came forward with a proposal under Attorney General Naqvi, a very principled proposal—

Ms. Catherine Fife: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Waterloo has a point of order.

Ms. Catherine Fife: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to end the practice of warehousing in long-term care—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That is not a valid point of order.

Attorney—


Hon. Doug Downey: I would ask that the Liberal Party, the independents, that they would support this bill to also make sure that we have guardrails—

Mr. Michael Mantha: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Algoma–Manitoulin has a point a point of order.

Mr. Michael Mantha: Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to restrict the use of part-time hiring in long-term care.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That is not a valid point of order.

Attorney General.


Hon. Doug Downey: This legislation allows $600,000 in a 12-month period and another $100,000 during an election.

Miss Monique Taylor: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Hamilton Mountain has a point of order.

Miss Monique Taylor: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to develop better protections for Ontario’s tenants by ending vacancy decontrol. This is a—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That is not a valid point of order.

The Attorney General.


Hon. Doug Downey: There are no rules or regulations for third-party advertising for the balance of three years—

Mr. Gurratan Singh: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Brampton East has a point of order.

Mr. Gurratan Singh: Respectfully, I seek unanimous consent to move forward a motion without notice requiring the government to develop better protections for Ontario’s tenants by ensuring a sufficient number of adjudicators are assigned to the Landlord and Tenant Board.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott: That is not a valid point of order.

The Attorney General.


Hon. Doug Downey: I feel bad for the students of constitutional law who are going to try to string together this speech, Mr. Speaker.

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

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Don Valley West has a point of privilege.

Ms. Kathleen O. Wynne: Mr. Speaker, I am asking to raise a point of privilege under sections 23(a) and (c).

I can’t tell you how much I wish Peter Kormos were here in the Legislature.

Mr. Speaker, I’m raising a point of privilege that’s arising out of the proceedings in the chamber, because I believe that the point the member for York Centre is making is that the ruling, or the lack of ruling, is actually thwarting the ability of the members of the official opposition to take advantage of and exercise their rights in the House. I think we do need a ruling. That’s the point of privilege that I would like to raise.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): There’s no point of privilege here, and there’s nothing out of order.

The Attorney General has the floor.


Hon. Doug Downey: Clearly, they’re not interested in discussing the topic, so I’ll move adjournment of the debate.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Mr. Downey has moved the adjournment of the debate.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? I heard some noes.

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

All those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

There being a recorded vote required, members will have 30 minutes to vote. I will ask the Clerks to please prepare the lobbies.

The division bells rang from 1445 to 1515.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The vote on Mr. Downey’s motion to adjourn the debate has taken place.

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 1; the nays are 106.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I declare the motion lost.

Ms. Peggy Sattler: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Point of order, the member for London West.

Ms. Peggy Sattler: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to develop better protections for Ontario’s tenants by ensuring a sufficient number of adjudicators are assigned to the—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): It’s not a valid point of order.

Ms. Catherine Fife: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Waterloo, point of order.

Ms. Catherine Fife: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to establish a cooling strategy for seniors and vulnerable tenants to help them stay cool, safe and healthy during the summer.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): It’s not a valid point of order.

The Attorney General has the floor.


Hon. Doug Downey: I’d like to thank all those who participated in the debate and stayed on point.

Mr. Michael Mantha: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Algoma–Manitoulin has a point of order.

Mr. Michael Mantha: I seek unanimous consent to bring forward a motion without notice requiring the government to mandate universal [inaudible] in all residential, industrial and broader public sectors—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That is not a valid point of order.

Further debate?


Ms. Andrea Horwath: This has been quite a remarkable couple of days, as this government tries to cling to power by shutting down the voices of the people they’ve hurt the most with their bad choices and their big cuts. But the people of Ontario will never be silenced; New Democrats will always be working hard to keep their voices vibrant and keep their voices heard.

To have a sitting government invoke the “notwithstanding” clause to help them cling to power is nothing short of horrendous. I think it’s pretty clear that that’s the situation.

What we would rather be doing is talking about families of folks who lost their lives in long-term care. We would rather be talking about the parents of children with autism this government has abandoned. We would rather be talking about the working people of this province who deserve a government that’s on their side—front-line health care workers; kids going back to school.

But the government doesn’t want to talk about anything except how they can muzzle their critics and hold on to power. That is really, really troubling. I think it’s really clear.

Even the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has said very clearly that what this government is doing is not appropriate. In fact, the quote is, “Petty dictators wield power to silence the voices of their critics. In liberal democracies, we demand better.”

As your official opposition, Her Majesty’s loyal opposition, we think that Ontario deserves better. We demand better from this government.

On that note, Speaker, I will now move adjournment of the House.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The Leader of the Opposition has moved the adjournment of the House.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? I heard some noes.

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

All those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the nays have it.

A recorded being required, members will have 30 minutes to vote. I will ask the Clerks to please prepare the lobbies.

The division bells rang from 1520 to 1550.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The vote on Ms. Horwath’s motion to adjourn the House has taken place.

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 9; the nays are 63.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I declare the motion lost.

Pursuant to the order of the House passed earlier today, I am now required to put the question.

Mr. Downey has moved third reading of Bill 307, An Act to amend the Election Finances Act.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? I heard some noes.

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

All those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

A recorded vote being required, the bells will now ring for 30 minutes, during which time members may cast their votes. I’ll ask the Clerks to please prepare the lobbies.

The division bells rang from 1552 to 1622.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The vote on the motion for third reading of Bill 307, An Act to amend the Election Finances Act, has taken place.

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 63; the nays are 47.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I declare the motion carried.

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

Third reading agreed to.

MEMBER’S CONDUCT


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I wish to report to the House that the member for Lanark–Frontenac–Kingston has, for the third time today, defied an order of the House and the authority of the Sergeant-at-Arms by entering the voting lobby without the required face protection that was ordered by the House to be worn by members in the chamber and in the voting lobbies. Again, I leave it to the House to decide what, if any, recourse needs to be taken.

Orders of the day? The government House leader.


Hon. Paul Calandra: No further business.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): There being no further business, this House stands adjourned until Monday, September 13, 2021, at 10:15 a.m.

The House adjourned at 1624.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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