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Ontario Hansard - 14-July2020

Mr. Randy Hillier: Well, maybe if you were here more often, you’d see that.

The Reopening Ontario Act, as stated by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, “has an illegitimate purpose and is seriously flawed. There is no need for this bill.”

What I want to get into during this discussion is: Why? Why this bill? Of the five Ws, there is no W more important than the question why.

The government has authorities. It has a majority government. It can make and utilize any authority that it is lawfully allowed to do through the legislative process in this chamber. It’s always had that authority.

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What this bill does is limit this Legislative Assembly’s ability to scrutinize and examine what is going on in the decision-making process of certain orders that are included in Bill 195. That’s important. Why? Why does the government not want to us know what they are doing with those specific orders?

Speaker, I want to say I have grave concerns about the way the state of emergency was continually extended. I raised those concerns in this House. And I was concerned about what would come after the state of emergency. Bill 195 is what comes after the state of emergency.

I’ve said in this House that it appears that this government has become addicted to this new-found authority, this authority without accountability. Bill 195 takes that further.

I want to say, when I look at what this government has done and what they are doing and what has happened over the last four months, I come to this conclusion: The harm that happened in long-term care, the many tragic deaths that happened in long-term care—we don’t know who made the decisions on those government policies. We don’t know why those decisions were made, but we do know that those decisions contributed to, and amplified, the tragedy in long-term care. The government is shielding itself from its actions in long-term care through the use of this expert panel. They’re not using a public inquiry process for us to examine the decisions that they made that led to that amplified tragedy in long-term care.

Bill 195 puts more and more distance between the decisions that happened in long-term care and our ability to find the facts, the ability for us to have the evidence revealed. Bill 195 extends this period out to a year or greater; that’s really what I see as why. Why is the government doing this? They do not want to see those decisions and those policies scrutinized by the members of this House or by the public or by the media any time soon.

I’ll refer members of this House—there was a really interesting research paper done by the Ontario Civil Liberties Association as well, from a PhD scientist, Denis Rancourt. It’s a substantial document. I’ve got the link on my website. I would encourage people to look at his analysis of what happened in long-term care with COVID-19. He goes into the medical side of this, and I think this is important for everybody to understand, because we had such a significant number of deaths in long-term care. He uses the term that we “accelerated” the deaths of those people in long-term care. Our government policies actually accelerated the deaths and the tragedy in long-term care.

There was a whole bunch—many people may have forgotten some of these policies, but these policies of not allowing residents to leave; the policy of not allowing the family physicians, the OMA, to create assessment centres; the policy that prevented many residents of long-term care from being admitted into hospitals. There are a whole bundle of these policies that have escaped scrutiny.

But there are others, and he goes on to point these out. I think it’s good for all of to us understand this. You’re elderly, you have chronic illness or multiple illnesses, you’re in a long-term-care facility, your immune system is diminished, and the government comes out and says, “We’re in a pandemic.” You’re already in a compromised position. “We’re in a pandemic and you are not allowed to see anybody that you know.” They raised the fears of so many people. They prevented loved ones from seeing one another. They prevented social interactions for these elderly and ill residents, along with all those other policies.

Mr. Rancourt, in his research, does a very good job of illustrating that we scared a lot of these people to death. We actually scared them to death in a little fashion.


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