Transcript: Question Period: Wednesday, December 11, 2019 | Dec 12, 2019

A still camera shows the Ontario Legislature. A caption on screen reads "Oral questions."

The Speaker stands. He's is in his fifties, clean-shaven, with short light brown hair. He wears a black robe.
IT IS NOW TIME FOR ORAL QUESTIONS. I RECOGNIZE THE LEADER OF THE OFFICIAL OPPOSITION.

[APPLAUSE]

The caption changes to "Andrea Horwath. NDP. Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition."

Horwath is in her fifties, with straight blond hair in a bob. She wears a burgundy blazer over a black shirt, and a silver pendant necklace.

She says THANK YOU KINDLY, SPEAKER. MY FIRST QUESTION IS TO THE PREMIER. TODAY STUDENTS, TEACHERS AND FAMILIES ACROSS THE PROVINCE ARE TAKING TO THE STREETS TO PROTEST THE PREMIER'S ATTACKS ON EDUCATION AND HIS CUTS TO THE CLASSROOM. THE PREMIER SUCCESSFULLY CREATED A CRISIS IN EDUCATION WITH THESE RECKLESS CUTS AND NOW HE SITS SILENTLY WHILE SCHOOLS ACROSS ONTARIO ARE CLOSED. WILL THE PREMIER BREAK HIS SILENCE TODAY AND TELL PARENTS AND STUDENTS WHAT HE IS PREPARED TO DO TO END THE STRIKE?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE QUESTION'S ADDRESSED TO THE PREMIER.

Premier Ford says MINISTER OF EDUCATION.

The Speaker says AND referred to the Minister of Education.

The caption changes to "Honourable Stephen Lecce. PC. Minister of Education."

Lecce is in his thirties, with short dark hair and a stubble. He wears a blue suit, white shirt, and gray tie.

He says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. MR. SPEAKER, I'M VERY PROUD TO CONFIRM AND ANNOUNCE IN THIS LEGISLATURE THAT OUR GOVERNMENT, THE TRUSTEES ASSOCIATION REACHED ANOTHER AGREEMENT WITH THE EDUCATION MINISTRY ALLIANCE OF ONTARIO.

[APPLAUSE]

Lecce says TO PROVIDE PREDICTABILITY TO EVERY PARENT IN THIS PROVINCE WHICH THEY DESERVE. WE WORKED HARD. WE WERE CONSTRUCTIVE. WE MADE STUDENTS THE CENTRE OF OUR FOCUS AND WE GOT A VOLUNTARY SETTLEMENT WHICH IS GOOD FOR ALL THE PARTIES. SPEAKER, HOW WE GOT THERE IS BY REMAINING FOCUSED ON OUR STUDENTS BY NEGOTIATING IN GOOD FAITH. WE HOPE TO DO THAT WITH OSSTF OVER THE COMING DAYS. WE ALSO HOPE THEY'LL ACCEPT PRIVATE MEDIATION WITHOUT PRECONDITION BECAUSE OUR STUDENTS SHOULD NOT BE IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS DEBATE, SPEAKER.

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Horwath says SPEAKER, ACROSS ONTARIO PARENTS AND STUDENTS ARE SEEPING THE DAMAGE OF THE FORD GOVERNMENT CUTS. HERE IN TORONTO, THE GOVERNMENT'S HEARTLESS CUTS HAVE SLASHED 106 MILLION DOLLARS IN OPERATING FUNDING FROM THE TORONTO DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD. DIRECTLY CAUSED THE CANCELLATION OF OVER 300 CLASSES THIS YEAR AND COULD LEAD TO THE EVENTUAL LOSS OF OVER 1,100 TEACHERS. THE EDUCATION MINISTER WANTS PEOPLE TO BE REASONABLE. THE PREMIER PROMISED THAT NOT A SINGLE TEACHER WOULD LOSE THEIR JOB. DOES HE THINK IT WAS REASONABLE TO TURN AROUND AND FIRE 10,000 TEACHERS?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says QUESTION'S BEEN referred to the Minister of Education.

Lecce says MR. SPEAKER, IT IS UNREASONABLE FOR OSSTF TO SAY TO PARENTS THAT THEY WILL CONTINUE STRIKING UNLESS THEY GET AN ADDITIONAL 750 MILLION DOLLARS IN TAX DOLLARS IN THIS PROVINCE. MR. SPEAKER, JUST TO CONTEXTUALIZE WHAT OUR GOVERNMENT COULD DO, WHAT THE PEOPLE OF THIS PROVINCE COULD DO. WE COULD HELP HIRE 7,500 MENTAL HEALTH WORKERS, HELP BUILD 64 NEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS OR 2 NEW SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN THIS PROVINCE. SPEAKER, THE PRIORITY OF THIS GOVERNMENT IS TO INVEST IN OUR STUDENTS, AND WHILE THE TEACHERS' UNION AND OSSTF SPECIFICALLY HAS A 1.5 BILLION DOLLAR...

The Speaker says ORDER.

Lecce says DEMAND OF THE GOVERNMENT, IF WE DON'T MEET THAT INCREASE IN COMPENSATION FOR WORKERS WHO WE VALUE THE SECOND HIGHEST PAID IN THE NATION 292,000 ON AVERAGE PAID IN THIS PROVINCE, THAT THEY'RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO STRIKE. I THINK THAT'S UNACCEPTABLE. WE'RE GOING TO REMAIN FOCUSED ON INVESTING IN OUR KIDS.

The Speaker says THE FINAL SUPPLEMENTARY.

Horwath says WELL, SPEAKER, HOW ABOUT PROTECTING OUR PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM.

[APPLAUSE]

Horwath says AND NOT GOING SO LOW AS TO PIT ONE SEGMENT OF ONTARIO AGAINST ANOTHER IN THEIR DRIVE TO CUT PUBLIC SERVICES, SPEAKER. THAT IS DISGRACEFUL.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Horwath says IN BRANT NORFOLK CONSERVATIVE CUTS COULD MEAN AT LEAST 56 FEWER TEACHERS IN THE CLASSROOM. OVER 40 CLASSES HAVE ALREADY BEEN CUT THIS YEAR ALONE, AND THAT DOESN'T SOUND REASONABLE, SPEAKER, TO THE KIDS WHO HAVE BEEN KICKED OUT OF THEIR CLASSROOMS AND SURE ISN'T REASONABLE TO THE TEACHERS THAT HAVE BEEN KICKED TO THE CURB. WHY DOES THE PREMIER THINK IT'S REASONABLE TO FORCE STUDENTS TO ACCEPT THESE CUTS? AND WHY DOES HE THINK IT'S REASONABLE FOR HIS MINISTER OF EDUCATION TO PIT ONE ONTARIAN AGAINST ANOTHER...

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MEMBERS PLEASE TAKE THEIR SEATS. MINISTER TO REPLY.

Lecce says MR. SPEAKER, THE FOCUS OF THIS GOVERNMENT IS TO KEEP KIDS IN CLASS. WE JUST NEGOTIATED ANOTHER AGREEMENT WITH THE EWAO, WHICH DEMONSTRATES THAT WE CAN GET DEALS WITH LABOUR IN THIS PROVINCE AND WE'RE REALLY PROUD OF THE WORK THAT THEY DID AS WELL TO GET IT DONE. MR. SPEAKER, THE CONTEXT OF OUR TEACHERS, I WANT TO BE CLEAR. THESE ARE OUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY, OUR CAUCUS MEMBERS. WE VALUE THEIR CONTRIBUTION.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Lecce says PREPARED AND I BELIEVE WE SHOULD BE PAYING AND SPENDING SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT IN THE CONTEXT OF ENSURING WE GET GOOD TEACHERS IN FRONT OF THE CLASS. HOWEVER, MR. SPEAKER, WHAT IS UNFAIR TO THE TAXPAYER IS FOR THEM TO SAY THAT THEY WILL CONTINUE TO STRIKE AND KEEP KIDS OUT OF CLASS IF THEY DO NOT GET AN ADDITIONAL 750 MILLION DOLLARS. SINCE 2003-4, MR. SPEAKER, WE HAVE 12 percent MORE TEACHERS. SINCE THAT PERIOD WE HAVE LESS THAN 1 percent MORE STUDENTS. SPEAKER, JUST TO CONTEXTUALIZE IN 2018-19 THE NUMBER OF TEACHERS INCREASED BY 2,140, A 1.6 percent INCREASE LARGEST YEAR-OVER-YEAR INCREASE OF THE NUMBER OF TEACHERS IN OVER A DECADE. WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO INVEST IN OUR EDUCATORS, BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY IN OUR STUDENTS.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE NEXT QUESTION. ONCE AGAIN LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION.

Horwath says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. MY NEXT QUESTION'S ALSO TO THE PREMIER. BEFORE I DELIVER IT I DO WANT TO ALSO PERSONALLY ON BEHALF OF MY CAUCUS AS THE LEADER OF THE OFFICIAL OPPOSITION THANK SUSAN SLIP FOR HER EXCELLENT TENURE HERE AT THE LEGISLATURE... SUSAN SWIFT.

[APPLAUSE]

Horwath says SPEAKER, NO ONE BELIEVES THAT THE FORD GOVERNMENT... NO ONE BELIEVES THE FORD GOVERNMENT WHEN THEY SAY THAT THEY'RE STANDING UP FOR EDUCATION. PARENTS TOLD THIS GOVERNMENT, DURING THE CONSULTATION, THAT THEY DIDN'T WANT THESE CUTS. TEACHERS TOLD THEM AT THE BARGAINING TABLE THAT THE CUTS WOULD HURT OUR KIDS. STUDENTS MARCHED OUT IN THE THOUSANDS TO TELL THEM THAT THEY DIDN'T WANT THESE CUTS. THE PREMIER OWES THEM AN ANSWER TODAY, SPEAKER. WHY DID HE IGNORE THEM ALL?

[APPLAUSE]

Ford says MINISTER OF EDUCATION.

Lecce says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. WE ARE LISTENING TO ALL PARENTS OF THIS PROVINCE, WHICH IS WHY UNDER THE PREMIER'S LEADERSHIP THIS GOVERNMENT IS INVESTING OVER 1.2 BILLION DOLLARS MORE ON TAX SPENDING 1.2 BILLION DOLLARS MORE THIS YEAR THAN LAST YEAR ALONE IN THE DEFENCE OF PUBLIC EDUCATION FOR STUDENTS IN ENGLISH AND FRENCH, CATHOLIC AND PUBLIC, NORTH and AND SOUTH, EAST AND WEST AND EVERY REGION WE'RE SEEING MORE INVESTMENT IN THE FRONT OF CLASS. THE CONTRAST, MR. SPEAKER, IS THAT THERE ARE THOSE IN THIS HOUSE.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Lecce says WHO INSIST ON INCREASING SPENDING FOR COMPENSATION, FOR PAY AND BENEFITS. WHEREAS THE PRIORITY OF THIS GOVERNMENT IS TO BE FAIR, IS TO INCREASE.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Lecce says INCREASE COMPENSATION BY 750 MILLION DOLLARS. IT IS REASONABLE. HOWEVER, SOME WOULD PREFER US TO DOUBLE THAT NUMBER. AND MY POINT, SPEAKER, IS THAT IT'S FAIR FOR TAXPAYERS TO OFFER 750 MILLION DOLLARS BUT IT'S ALSO IMPORTANT AND FAIR TO THE FUTURE OF THIS COUNTRY THAT WE INVEST IN OUR STUDENTS IN MENTAL HEALTH, IN MATH SUPPORT IN STEM.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Lecce says AND GIVING THEM EVERY TOOL TO ACHIEVE THEIR POTENTIAL IN THIS PROVINCE.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Horwath says WELL, SPEAKER, I'D LIKE TO GO BACK TO THE PREMIER AND HOPEFULLY I'LL GET A RESPONSE, BECAUSE HIS GOVERNMENT'S EDUCATION CUTS ARE HITTING COMMUNITIES ACROSS ONTARIO. FAMILIES FROM HASTINGS AND PRINCE EDWARD DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD ARE FIGHTING BACK AGAINST CONSERVATIVE CUTS THAT COULD LEAD TO AT LEAST 73 FEWER TEACHERS IN THEIR CLASSROOMS. IN GRAND ERIE, CONSERVATIVE CUTS HAVE LED TO THE LOGS OF 98 CLASSES THIS YEAR ANUMBER THAT COULD GROW TO OVER 900 FEWER CLASSES IN A FEW YEARS' TIME. HOW CAN THIS PREMIER AND THIS GOVERNMENT LOOK THESE FAMILIES IN THE EYE WHEN THEY GO HOME OVER THE HOLIDAYS AND TELL THEM THAT THIS ATTACK ON THEIR CHILDREN'S FUTURE IS REASONABLE?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER.

Lecce says MR. SPEAKER, THIS GOVERNMENT, THIS PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT IS INVESTING MORE IN PUBLIC EDUCATION THAN ANY GOVERNMENT IN THE HISTORY OF THIS PROVINCE. WE ARE...

[APPLAUSE]

Lecce WE ARE INVESTING, SPEAKER, AN ADDITIONAL 1.2 BILLION PUBLIC ACCOUNTS THAN LAST TERM. MR. SPEAKER, WE ARE INVESTING 24 BILLION DOLLARS IN SCHOOL BOARDS ACROSS OUR PROVINCE. WE HAVE DOUBLED THE MENTAL HEALTH FUNDING. WE ARE SPENDING OVER 3 BILLION DOLLARS BECAUSE WE VALUE THE DAY-TO-DAY OF EVERY CHILD INCLUDING THOSE WITH EXCEPTIONALITIES IN SCHOOLS. PROVIDING MORE SUPPORTS IN MATH. FOUR-YEAR STRATEGY TO LIFT MATH SCORES AFTER TEN YEARS OF CONSECUTIVE DECLINES UNDER THE FORMER LIBERAL GOVERNMENT. THE CONTRACT COULD NOT BE MORE CLEAR. THE PRIORITY OF OUR MEMBERS IS TO INVEST IN STUDENTS, NOT IN COMPENSATION.

[APPLAUSE]

THE SPEAKER SAYS THE FINAL SUPPLEMENTARY.

Horwath says WELL, SPEAKER, THE PROBLEM IS VIRTUALLY NOBODY INVOLVED IN THE EDUCATION SYSTEM, FROM THE STUDENTS TO THE PARENTS TO THE EDUCATORS AND EDUCATIONAL WORKERS BELIEVE A SINGLE WORD THAT THIS MINISTER'S SAYING. NOR DO THEY AGREE...

[APPLAUSE]

Horwath says WHAT THIS GOVERNMENT IS DOING TO OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM. THE GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN CLEAR IT'S NOT ABOUT KIDS IN THE CLASSROOM. IF IT WAS, THE PREMIER WOULDN'T BE KICKING THEM OUT OF THE CLASSROOM AND FORCING THEM INTO THE ONLINE LEARNING COURSES THAT WILL NOT WORK FOR MANY OF THEM. THIS GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN LASER FOCUSED ON ONE THING, SPEAKER, AND THAT IS MAKING CLASSROOM CUTS AND BLAMING ANYBODY BUT THEMSELVES FOR THE FALLOUT. TEACHERS, STUDENTS, PARENTS HAVE ALL BEEN CLEAR, CANCEL THE CUTS. CANS THE CUTS. STOP HURTING EVERYDAY FAMILIES AND LET TEACHERS AND STUDENTS GET BACK TO WORK IN THE CLASSROOM. WILL THE PREMIER OF THIS PROVINCE DO THAT?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MEMBERS PLEASE TAKE THEIR SEATS. MINISTER TO REPLY.

Lecce says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. MY MESSAGE TO OSSTF IS TO CANCEL THE STRIKE THAT IS NEEDLESSLY HURTING STUDENTS IN THE CLASSROOM.

[APPLAUSE]

Lecce says MR. SPEAKER, THIS GOVERNMENT IS INVESTING MORE IN PUBLIC EDUCATION THAN ANY GOVERNMENT IN OUR HISTORY. SPEAKER, JUST YESTERDAY I WAS PROUD TO ANNOUNCE, AS A PROOF POINT THAT WE ARE WORKING IN GOOD FAITH TO GET DEALS, KEEP KIDS IN CLASS. ANOTHER DEAL WITH THE ALLIANCE FOLLOWING THE DEAL WITH CUPE. FAMILIES SHOULD NOT BE IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS DEBATE. I APPRECIATE THERE ARE, YOU KNOW, PRINCIPAL POSITIONS ON ALL SIDES BUT THE KIDS SHOULDN'T PAY THE PRICE FOR THE DIFFERENCE AT THE TABLE.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Lecce says A 750 MILLION DOLLAR DEMAND IN COMPENSATION IS UNREASONABLE. IT IS UNFAIR AND WE WILL FIGHT HARD EVERY DAY TO INVEST MORE IN CHILDREN, NOT IN COMPENSATION.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE NEXT question. The member for Mushkegowuk-James Bay.

The caption changes to "Guy Bourgouin. NDP. Mushkegowuk-James Bay."

Bourgouin is in his forties, clean-shaven, with short brown hair. He wears glasses, a gray suit, white shirt and printed gray tie.

He speaks in French and a translator says
THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. MY QUESTION IS TO THE PREMIER. THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS REGISTERED IN FRANCOPHONE SCHOOLS IS ON THE RISE, BUT AS A RESULT OF A SHORTAGE OF TEACHERS WE KNOW THAT THERE WILL BE FEWER ADULTS AVAILABLE TO HELP OUR STUDENTS. WE'RE ALREADY SHORT ON TEACHERS. WE'RE SHORT ON SUPPLY TEACHERS AND EDUCATORS, AND YOUR GOVERNMENT WANTS TO ELIMINATE HUNDREDS OF POSITIONS IN SCHOOLS. WE ALSO KNOW THAT THIS SHORTAGE WILL HAVE A BUTTERFLY EFFECT THROUGHOUT THE FRANCOPHONE EDUCATION SYSTEMS. FRANCOPHONES HAVE ALREADY BEEN THE SUBJECT OF VARIOUS ATTACKS BY YOUR GOVERNMENT. SO WHY ARE YOU CONTINUING YOUR ATTACKS ON EDUCATION?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says ADDRESSED TO THE PREMIER.

Ford says EDUCATION.

The Speaker says AND referred to the Minister of Education.

Lecce says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. MR. SPEAKER, I WANT TO BE CLEAR OUR GOVERNMENT IS INVESTING MORE IN FRENCH LANGUAGE EDUCATION THAN ANY GOVERNMENT IN THE HISTORY. AN ADDITIONAL 16 MILLION DOLLARS AS REPORTED IN THE BUDGET IN THE PUBLIC ACCOUNT. IT IS A COMMITMENT WE HAVE TO LINGUISTIC DUE ALT IN THIS PROVINCE. WE ARE PROUD AND I'M PROUD TO WORK IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE MINISTER OF FRANCOPHONE AFFAIRS AS WE WORK TO ENSURE FRENCH LANGUAGE EDUCATORS ARE ABLE TO BE RETAINED IN THIS PROVINCE. WE'RE WORKING WITH OUR STAKEHOLDERS WITHIN THE SECTOR TO ENSURE WE HAVE ACCESS TO HIGH TALENTED FRENCH LANGUAGE EDUCATORS.

[SPEAKING IN FRENCH]

Lecce speaks in French and a translator says WE'LL CONTINUE OUR WORK WITH OUR FRANCOPHONE PARTNERS IN ONTARIO.

[END OF TRANSLATION]

In English, Lecce continues
WE HAVE A PLAN TO HELP ENSURE WE HAVE FRENCH LANGUAGE EDUCATORS IN THE FRONT OF CLASS AND I'M GOING TO CONTINUE TO WORK BY INVESTING MORE IN FRENCH LANGUAGE THAN ANY GOVERNMENT IN THE HISTORY OF THIS PROVINCE.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Bourgouin speaks French and a translator says IT'S NOT BY CUTTING IN THE SYSTEM THAT WITH LESS AND LESS TEACHERS THAT YOU WILL HAVE... SCHOOLS THAT WILL GROW. STILL TO THE PREMIER. THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION SAID YESTERDAY YOUR GOVERNMENT IS REASONABLE DURING NEGOTIATION. HOWEVER, A FEW DAYS AGO, WE LEARNED THAT PARENTS REJECTED IF YOULY THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS IN CLASSROOMS. THE MINISTER DIDN'T LISTEN TO THE PARENTS NOR THE STUDENTS AND NOT THE TEACHERS. MR. SPEAKER, IF THE MINISTER IS SO REASONABLE, WHY THOUSANDS OF PARENTS AND TEACHERS ARE OUTSIDE OF CLASSES DEFENDING PUBLIC EDUCATION IN ONTARIO?

[APPLAUSE]

Lecce says MR. SPEAKER, THE FACT IS THIS GOVERNMENT IS INVESTING... EDUCATION. TO THE POINT ON THE FRENCH LANGUAGE SHORTAGE OF TEACHERS, A PHENOMENA THAT HAS EXISTED BEFORE OUR GOVERNMENT. WE ARE WORKING WITH THE ONTARIO COLLEGE OF TEACHERS AND FACULTIES OF EDUCATION AND WORKING WITH THE MINISTER OF COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITYS TO INCENT MORE STUDENTS... RATHER, FUTURE TEACHERS ENTERING THE TRADE, ENTERING THE SECTOR AND ULTIMATELY WORKING IN THE FRONT OF CLASS. SPEAKER, THE CONTEXT OF OUR INVESTMENTS OF EDUCATION WE ARE INVESTING AN ADDITIONAL IN THE ECONOMIC STATEMENT 200 MILLION MORE DOLLARS IN PUBLIC EDUCATION TO SUPPORT FRENCH LANGUAGE AND ENGLISH LANGUAGE EDUCATION IN EVERY REGION OF OUR PROVINCE. WE CONTINUE TO STAY FOCUSED ON OUR STUDENTS INVESTING MORE IN THEIR FUTURES AND FIGHT HARD TO KEEP THEM IN CLASS.

The Speaker says THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

[APPLAUSE]

THE NEXT question. The member for Scarborough-Rouge Park.

[APPLAUSE]

The caption changes to "Vijay Thanigasalam. PC. Scarborough-Rouge Park."

Thanigasalam is in his thirties, clean-shaven, with short black hair. He wears a blue suit, white shirt, and blue plaid tie.

He says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. MY QUESTION IS TO THE PREMIER. PREMIER, WE KNOW THAT THERE'S STRONG RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR NEIGHBOUR TO THE SOUTH CANNOT BE UNDERSTATED. IF ONTARIO WERE A COUNTRY, WE WOULD BE THE U.S.'S THIRD-LARGEST TRADING PARTNER. TWO-WAY TRADE BETWEEN ONTARIO AND U.S. AMOUNTED 301 U.S. LAST YEAR. 301 BILLION DOLLARS U.S. LAST YEAR. WE ARE THE NUMBER-ONE CUSTOMER TO 19 U.S. STATES AND SECOND TO NINE OTHERS. UNDER YOUR LEADERSHIP, OUR PROVINCE IS TURNING AROUND ECONOMICALLY. OUR GOVERNMENT HAS A PLAN THAT IS WORKING. WE ARE SHOWING THE WORLD THAT ONTARIO'S OPEN FOR BUSINESS ONCE AGAIN. PREMIER, CAN YOU TELL THE LEGISLATURE MORE ABOUT THE IMPORTANT ECONOMIC GROWTH ONTARIO HAS FOR NORTH AMERICA.

The Speaker says QUESTION.

Thanigasalam says AND YOUR RECENT VISIT TO MAIN LAND?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE PREMIER.

Premier Ford stands up. He's in his early fifties, clean-shaven, with short blond hair. He wears a gray suit, white shirt, and spotted blue tie.

The caption changes to "Honourable Doug Ford. PC. Premier."

He says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. AND I WANT TO THANK THE MEMBER FOR SCARBOROUGH-ROUGE PARK. HE DOES AN INCREDIBLE JOB. I SAW THAT HE WAS OVER AT THE AND WAM CHRISTMAS CAROL SING OVER AT ST. DUNSTONE AND CANTERBURY CHURCH RECENTLY. I WANT TO WISH EVERYONE A MERRY CHRISTMAS OVER THERE.

[APPLAUSE]

Ford says MR. SPEAKER, OVER THE LAST 16 MONTHS, I'VE TALKED TO OVER 26 GOVERNORS IN PERSON. MEETING ALL THE GOVERNORS, BUILDING A RELATIONSHIP. I CAN TELL YOU MESSAGE IS VERY CLEAR THAT ONTARIO'S OPEN FOR BUSINESS, OPEN FOR JOBS AND WE'RE THE ENVY OF NORTH AMERICA. WHEN I SIT DOWN WITH THESE GOVERNORS, WE'RE LEADING THE ECONOMIC GROWTH IN JOBS ANYWHERE IN NORTH AMERICA. BEFORE WE GOT ELECTED, MR. SPEAKER, WE LOST 300,000 MANUFACTURING JOBS BECAUSE THE N.D.P. AND THE LIBERALS.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Ford says NOW THAT WE'VE BEEN ELECTED THERE'S 271,400 MORE PEOPLE WORKING.

[APPLAUSE]

Ford says 271,000 FAMILIES...

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Thanigasalam says THANK YOU, PREMIER, FOR THAT ANSWER AND FOR YOUR CONTINUED STRONG LEADERSHIP ON THIS FRONT. IN LIGHT OF ALL THE GREAT NEWS AND STATISTICS ASSOCIATED WITH OUR CLOSE ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP WITH THE U.S., THE BUY AMERICAN PROVISION ARE STILL OF GREAT CONCERN. I KNOW OUR GOVERNMENT HAS MADE IT A PRIORITY, IN CLOSE PARTNERSHIP WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, TO ADVOCATE FOR EXEMPTION FOR ONTARIO BUSINESSES AND WORKERS ON THIS FRONT. AS THE PRIME MINISTER NOTED DURING YOUR RECENT MEETING, ONTARIO CONTINUES TO PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN PROMOTING CANADA'S TRADE INTERESTS AND STRENGTHENING THE HISTORIC TIES WITH U.S. PARTNERS FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE PEOPLE OF OUR PROVINCE AND ALL CANADIANS. PREMIER, CAN YOU SPEAK FURTHER ABOUT THE STRENGTHENING PARTNERSHIPS WITH OUR PROVINCE AND OUR U.S. COUNTERPARTS UNDER YOUR LEADERSHIP?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says PREMIER.

Ford says I WANT TO THANK THE N.D.P. THE M.P.P. FOR THAT QUESTION. MR. SPEAKER, I HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO GO TO MARYLAND, WASHINGTON LAST WEEKEND, AN OPPORTUNITY TO SIT DOWN WITH THE CHAIR OF THE GOVERNOR'S ASSOCIATION, GOVERNOR HOGAN. HE IS AN ABSOLUTE CHAMPION. THEY CALL HIM LIKABLE LARRY. I KNOW THE REASON WHY THEY CALL HIM LIKABLE LARRY NOW. FOR THE FIRST TIME, MR. SPEAKER, FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME, THE GOVERNORS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ARE COMING TO ONTARIO.

[APPLAUSE]

Ford says WHY ARE THEY COMING TO ONTARIO? BECAUSE AS MY MEMBER MENTIONED WE'RE THE NUMBER ONE TRADING PARTNER TO 19 STATES, NUMBER TWO TO NINE OTHER STATES. WE DO 391 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR IN TWO-WAY TRADE. WE'RE RESPONSIBLE, BOTH COUNTRIES, FOR MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF JOBS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BORDER. WE HAVE A STRONG RELATIONSHIP, THE LARGEST UNPROTECTED BORDER IN THE WORLD.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Ford says WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT WE NURTURE THESE RELATIONSHIPS AND CONTINUE GROWING ON OUR RELATIONSHIP, AND THAT'S WHY I LOOK FORWARD TO HAVING THE GOVERNORS UP HERE IN FEBRUARY.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THANK YOU VERY MUCH. THE NEXT question. The member for Essex.

The caption changes to "Taras Natyshak. NDP. Essex."

Natyshak is in his late thirties, clean-shaven, with short brown hair. He wears a gray suit, white shirt, and patterned gray tie.

He says THANK YOU VERY MUCH, SPEAKER. THROUGH YOU TO THE PREMIER. SPEAKER, THROUGHOUT THE WEEK, THE PREMIER HAS REFUSED TO ANSWER MY QUESTIONS ABOUT LUCRATIVE AGENT GENERAL PATRONAGE HOSTS THAT HE SINGLE-HANDEDLY CREATED IN DALLAS AND CHICAGO. SPEAKER, YESTERDAY WE LEARNED THAT THE TWO REMAINING APPOINTEES TO DALLAS AND CHICAGO HAVEN'T EVEN SET UP THEIR OFFICES AFTER SIX MONTHS ON THE JOB. SPEAKER, EVER SINCE THE PREMIER CREATED THESE PATRONAGE POSTS, THERE HAVE BEEN QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW MUCH ONTARIO FAMILIES ARE PAYING TO GIVE THE PREMIER'S FRIENDS THESE LUCRATIVE JOBS AND WHETHER THEY'LL ACTUALLY DO ANY WORK. SPEAKER, THE KEY QUESTION IS WHY IS THE PREMIER REFUSING TO TALK ABOUT HIS BUDDIES THAT HE SUPPOSEDLY SENT TO DALLAS AND CHICAGO?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says QUESTION'S ADDRESSED TO THE PREMIER.

Ford says ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.

The Speaker says REFERRED TO THE MINISTER OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, JOB CREATION AND TRADE.

The caption changes to "Honourable Victor Fedeli. Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade."

Fedeli is in his fifties, with short white hair and glasses. He wears a gray suit, white shirt and yellow tie.

He says THANK YOU VERY MUCH. SPEAKER, WE TALK ABOUT OUR AGENTS GENERAL IN DALLAS AND CHICAGO. THEY'VE BEEN WORKING THROUGH A VERY THOROUGH AND MANDATORY SECURITY PROCESS BECAUSE THEIR OFFICES ARE LOCATED WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN THE CONSUL-GENERAL OFFICE. THIS IS EXACTLY THE PROCESS THAT HAS BEEN REQUIRED OF ALL AGENTS GENERAL THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. SPEAKER, THESE AGENTS GENERAL, THEY ARE BRINGING A MESSAGE ALL ACROSS THE UNITED STATES THAT ONTARIO IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS, OPEN FOR TRADE, THAT WE'VE TAKEN 5 BILLION DOLLARS OUT OF THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS IN ONTARIO. THIS IS THE MESSAGE THEY'RE DELIVERING, THAT WE REDUCE WSIB PREMIUMS BY MORE THAN 2 BILLION DOLLARS THAT WE DID NOT GO AHEAD WITH THE LIBERAL TAX OF 308 MILLION DOLLARS. THOSE THINGS THAT WE'VE DONE TO REDUCE THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Fedeli says 5 BILLION DOLLARS HAVE CREATED 271,600 JOBS IN THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Natyshak says THANK YOU VERY MUCH, SPEAKER. CONSPICUOUS IN HIS SILENCE, SPEAKER, THE PREMIER CLEARLY WOULD RATHER NOT TALK ABOUT THE JOBS THAT HE'S HANDING TO FRIEND, INSIDERS AND RELATIVES. IN FACT WHEN WE CHECKED THE JUNE 20TH GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENT OF THEIR APPOINTMENTS WE LEARNED THAT THE PREMIER HAD RETROACTIVELY EDITED THE NEWS RELEASES TO REMOVE ALL REFERENCES TO THE RELATIVES OF THE LACROSSE-PLAYING FRIENDS OF DEAN FRENCH, WHO WERE SO UNQUALIFIED. SPEAKER, THE PREMIER HAD TO TURF THEM ONLY DAYS AFTER THEIR APPOINTMENT. SPEAKER, THE QUESTION IS WHY DID HE HAVE HIS OFFICE QUIETLY CHANGE THE ORIGINAL NEWS RELEASES?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.

Fedeli says THANK YOU VERY MUCH. YOU KNOW, OUR AGENTS GENERAL ARE VERY HARD AT WORK, SPEAKER, BOTH IN MARKET AND STILL HERE IN ONTARIO WHILE THEY WORK THROUGH THIS NECESSARY AND VERY THOROUGH PROCESS. THEY'LL BE PERMANENTLY IN MARKET IN THE VERY NEAR FUTURE AT WHICH TIME THEY'RE GOING TO CONTINUE WITH THE MESSAGE OF BEING OPEN FOR BUSINESS AND OPEN FOR JOBS AND INDEED OPEN FOR TRADE. A COUPLE OF NEW THINGS HAPPENED YESTERDAY AND BILLS GOT PASSED TO GIVE THEM EVEN MORE TOOLS THAT THEY CAN TALK ABOUT. FOR INSTANCE BUSINESSES LOCATING IN NORTHERN ONTARIO NO LONGER PAY THE AVIATION FUEL TAX OF 6.7 CENTS. IT'S BEEN REDUCED TO 2.7 CENTS.

[APPLAUSE]

Fedeli says PARTICULARLY HELPING OUR NORTHERN AND FIRST NATIONS COMMUNITIES. THE SMALL BUSINESS TAX CREDIT IS REDUCED BY 8.7 percent. BY THE WAY, SPEAKER, THESE ARE ALL THINGS THAT THE N.D.P. VOTED AGAINST. BUT THAT SHOULD COME AS NO SURPRISE, SPEAKER.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Fedeli says THEY VOTED AGAINST A 90 MILLION DOLLAR PAYMENT FOR PROVIDING.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Fedeli says FREE DENTAL SERVICE TO OUR LOW INCOME SENIORS. WHO DOES THAT, SPEAKER?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE NEXT question. The member for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston.

The caption changes to "Randy Hillier. Independent. Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston."

Hillier is in his early sixties, clean-shaven, with short receding gray hair. He wears glasses, a gray suit and a blue shirt.

He says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. SPEAKER, TO THE MINISTER OF ENERGY. DURING THE 2018 ELECTION CAMPAIGN.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Hillier says THE PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVES AND I CAMPAIGNED ON A PROMISE TO REDUCE ELECTRICITY BY 12 percent. IN NOVEMBER, THE ONTARIO ENERGY BOARD APPROVED A TIME OF USE INCREASE FOR HYDRO ONE. THIS INCREASE CONFLICTS AND CONTRADICTS WITH THE MANDATE GIVEN TO THIS GOVERNMENT BY THE PEOPLE OF ONTARIO. ONCE AGAIN MY OFFICE IS BEING CONTACTED BY RESIDENTS AND SMALL BUSINESSES THAT ARE CONCERNED AND WORRIED THAT THIS INCREASE WILL AFFECT THEIR STANDARD OF LIVING AND THE BOTTOM LINE. SPEAKER, TO THE MINISTER. AS THE LARGEST SHAREHOLDER OF HYDRO ONE NETWORKS, WHY ARE YOU ALLOWING HYDRO ONE TO ACT IN A MANNER THAT BOTH FRUSTRATES AND OBSTRUCTS YOUR MANDATE AND MAKES A MOMRY... MOCKERY OF YOUR COMMITMENT?

The Speaker says MINISTER OF ENERGY, NORTHERN DEVELOPMENT AND MINES.

The caption changes to "Honourable Greg Rickford. PC. Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines."

Rickford is in his early fifties, clean-shaven, with short gray hair. He wears a light gray suit, blue shirt, and spotted blue tie.

He says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT WE INHERITED A MESS AND THE STEPS THAT WE'VE TAKEN OVER THE PAST YEAR AND A HALF, MR. SPEAKER, ARE A TESTAMENT TO OUR RESOLVE TO REDUCE COSTS SYSTEM WIDE, TO WORK MORE EFFECTIVELY, RENEW THE CORPORATE CULTURE OF PUBLIC UTILITIES, PUBLICLY TRADED UTILITIES THAT ONTARIO RATEPAYERS AND ONTARIO TAXPAYERS HAVE A SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENT IN. MOVING FORWARD, MR. SPEAKER, WE HAVE THE KIND OF PARTNERSHIPS WITH HYDRO ONE, O.P.G. AND OUR LOCAL DISTRIBUTION COMPANIES THAT IS FOCUSED ON REDUCING COSTS IN THE SYSTEM, MR. SPEAKER, SO THAT WE CAN PROVIDE RELIEF FOR RATEPAYERS AFTER MORE THAN A DECADE AND A HALF OF BUILDING UP ONE OF THE MOST COMPLEX AND EXPENSIVE SYSTEMS KNOWN THE COULDN'T NEN OVER. THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Hillier says AGAIN TO THE MINISTER OF ENERGY. THE GOVERNMENT ALSO MADE A COMMITMENT TO IMPROVE AND EXPAND BROADBAND RURAL INTERNET SERVICES. WE ALL KNOW THAT THE GREATEST OBSTACLES IN THIS EXPANSION IS THE UNCERTAIN, CONVOLUTED, COSTLY AND LENGTHY APPROVAL PROCESS OF ATTACHING FIBRE OPTIC CABLES TO HYDRO ONE'S POLES. IN SEPTEMBER I MET WITH HYDRO ONE EXECUTIVES AND PROVIDED OPTIONS FOR THIS PROCESS. AND RECEIVED A COMMITMENT TO REFORM THEIR APPROVAL PROCESS AND ACTUALLY BECOME PARTNERS IN FACILITATING RURAL BROADBAND EXPANSION. BUT HYDRO ONE'S COMMITMENTS APPEAR TO BE EMPTY AS WELL. FOR MORE THAN A YEAR, THE HYDRO ONE AND O.E.B. HAVE BEEN FRUSTRATING AND OBSTRUCTING THE GOVERNMENT'S MANDATE. SPEAKER, MY QUESTION TO THE MINISTER. WHEN WILL THE MINISTER DIRECT HYDRO ONE TO CUT THEIR RED TAPE AND FACILITATE BROADBAND EXPANSION IN RURAL ONTARIO?

The Speaker says MINISTER OF ENERGY.

Rickford says NOT LONG AGO, MR. SPEAKER, THAT THAT MEMBER WAS VOTING FOR ALL OF THE IMPORTANT STEPS THAT WE'VE TAKEN ON THIS PARTICULAR MATTER, DISCUSSIONS HAVE TAKEN PLACE WITH HYDRO ONE, MR. SPEAKER. WE'RE MAKING HISTORIC INVESTMENTS IN BROADBAND HERE IN THIS PROVINCE, ACROSS RURAL AND NORTHERN ONTARIO, MR. SPEAKER, IN PARTICULAR SO THAT PEOPLE CAN HAVE THE KIND OF SERVICE THAT THEY SHOULD EXPECT AND OTHER PEOPLE IN OTHER PARTS OF THE PROVINCE DO. IN MOVING FORWARD, MR. SPEAKER, I CAN ASSURE THE MEMBER OPPOSITE THAT THOSE DECISIONS OF THE PAST, THE ONTARIO ENERGY BOARD, MR. SPEAKER, IS GOING TO BE RENEWED. OUR GOVERNANCE RESTRUCTURED SO THAT THESE KINDS OF DECISIONS AFFECTING OUR ABILITY TO MOVE BROADBAND FORWARD, MR. SPEAKER, WILL BE REMOVED. THANK YOU.

The Speaker says THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE MEMBER FOR YORK CENTRE.

The caption changes to "Roman Baber. PC. York Centre."

Baber is in his late thirties, clean-shaven, with short brown hair. He wears a gray suit, white shirt, and striped blue tie.

He says THANK YOU. THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. MY QUESTION'S TO THE MINISTER OF GOVERNMENT AND CONSUMER SERVICES. I WANT TO BEGIN BY THANKING THE BABCOCK FAMILY FOR BEING HERE TODAY. I WOULD LIKE TO EXPRESS OUR GOVERNMENT'S DEEPEST SYMPATHIES AND CONDOLENCES FOR YOUR LOSS. WE RECOGNIZE THAT WHAT WAS ALREADY A VERY DIFFICULT TIME IN YOUR LIFE WAS MADE MORE DIFFICULT BY A LENGTHY AND EXHAUSTING LEGAL PROCESS. MR. SPEAKER, COULD THE MINISTER PLEASE TELL THE HOUSE ABOUT THE BABCOCK FAMILY'S COURAGE IN RAISING THEIR ISSUE WITH OUR GOVERNMENT?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says RECOGNIZE THE MINISTER OF GOVERNMENT AND CONSUMER SERVICES.

The caption changes to "Honourable Lisa M. Thompson. PC. Minister of Government and Consumer Services."

Thompson is in her forties, with chin-length wavy blond hair. She wears glasses and a purple plaid blazer over a black shirt.

She says THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. SPEAKER. I THANK THE MEMBER FOR YORK CENTRE FOR THIS VERY SENSITIVE AND IMPORTANT QUESTION. AND I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO EXPRESS MY HEARTFELT APPRECIATION TO THE BABCOCK FAMILY FOR THEIR ADVOCACY IN PARTICULAR ON THIS VERY SENSITIVE AND IMPORTANT ISSUE. WHEN A FAMILY IS GRIEVING, SPEAKER, THERE SHOULD NEVER BE A SITUATION WHEN GOVERNMENT BUREAUCRACY STANDS IN THE WAY. IN MOST CASES, TO REGISTER A DEATH ACERTIFICATE IS COMPLETED BY A PHYSICIAN, NURSE PRACTITIONER OR CORONER. SADLY, IN LAURA'S CASE, THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE. THE BABCOCK FAMILY BRAVELY AND SELFLESSLY RAISED THIS ISSUE WITH HER GOVERNMENT. AND THAT'S WHY MY MINISTRY, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, AND THE PREMIER, EXPLORED CHANGES TO MAKE DEATH REGISTRATION LESS BURDENSOME TO THE VICTIM'S FAMILY IN CASES LIKE THE BABCOCKS'. WE HAVE A DUTY, ALL OF US IN THIS HOUSE, TO HEAR THE CONCERNS OF ONTARIANS AND GET THINGS RIGHT. I AM PLEASED TO SAY THAT THE PREMIER AND THE M.P.P. FROM ETOBICOKE CENTRE VISITED WITH LAURA'S FAMILY LAST MONTH AND DELIVERED LAURA'S DEATH CERTIFICATE.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THANK YOU. SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Baber says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. THE SITUATION THAT THE BABCOCK FAMILY WENT THROUGH IS HEARTBREAKING AND THE LEGAL PROCESS MADE IT THAT MUCH MORE DIFFICULT. CAN THE MINISTER TELL US ABOUT THE STEPS OUR GOVERNMENT TOOK TO ENSURE THAT NO OTHER FAMILY WILL HAVE TO ENDURE A LENGTHY LEGAL PROCESS SO THAT THEY'RE ABLE TO PUT PAPERWORK BEHIND AND FOCUS ON FAMILY?

The Speaker says MINISTER TO REPLY.

Thompson says SPEAKER, TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL.

The Speaker says ATTORNEY GENERAL.

The caption changes to "Honourable Doug Downey. PC. Attorney General."

Downey is in his late forties, clean-shaven, with short gray hair. He wears a dark blue suit, white shirt, and blue plaid tie.

He says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. AND I TOO WANT TO EXTEND MY DEEPEST GRATITUDE TO THE BABCOCK FAMILY FOR RAISING THIS ISSUE WITH OUR GOVERNMENT, FOR BEING HERE WITH US TODAY. EARLIER THIS WEEK WE ANNOUNCED CHANGES TO THE VITAL STATISTICS ATH ACT THAT WOULD AMEND THE DEATH REGISTRATION PROCESS TO EASE THE BURDEN FOR FAMILIES PHASE... FACED WITH REGISTERING THE DEATH OF A LOVED ONE IN THE ABSENCE OF THEIR REMAINS. LAURA'S LAW AS WE HAVE NAMED IT WOULD PROVIDE A SIMPLER METHOD FOR FAMILIES TO OBTAIN A DEATH CERTIFICATE IN THESE TRAGIC CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS CHANGE WILL THE PROVIDE TOOLS TO THE COURTS TO FACILITATE THE REGISTRATION OF DEATH IN THESE CASES AND ENSURE THAT FAMILIES HAVE THE NECESSARY SUPPORT. LAURA'S LAW WILL ENSURE THAT, IN THE FUTURE, THE DEATH REGISTRATION PROCESS IS LESS BURDENSOME FOR FAMILIES WHO EXPERIENCE A SIMILAR UNTHINKABLE TRAGEDY. I'D LIKE TO THANK THE MEMBER FOR ETOBICOKE CENTRE FOR HER ASSISTANCE AND THE PREMIER, OF COURSE, AND MY COLLEAGUE THE MINISTER OF GOVERNMENT AND CONSUMER SERVICES.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THANK YOU VERY MUCH. NEXT question. The member for Kiiwetinoong.

The caption changes to "Sol Mamakwa. NDP. Kiiwetinoong."

Mamakwa is in his thirties, clean-shaven, with short black hair. He wears a blue suit, white shirt, and printed tie.

He says GOOD MORNING, MR. SPEAKER. MY QUESTION IS TO THE PREMIER. ON NOVEMBER 27TH, KERI LYNN BUNTING DIED BY SUICIDE IN THE COMMUNITY OF CONSTANCE LAKE FIRST NATION. SHE WAS 13 YEARS OLD. ON NOVEMBER 28TH, RIEDEL MCINACK DIED BY SUICIDE IN WEBEQUIE FIRST NATION. HE WAS 12 YEARS OLD. PREMIER, THESE YOUNG PEOPLE DIED AND WHY? BECAUSE THEY LOST HOPE. THEY LOST HOPE RESPONDING TO THE NEEDS OF THEIR COMMUNITIES. I SPEAK ABOUT LACK OF CLEAN DRINKING WATER, LACK OF SAFE HOUSING IN OUR COMMUNITIES, INFRASTRUCTURE AND SAFE SCHOOLS. PREMIER, I ASK YOU, WHAT ARE YOU PREPARED TO DO TO GIVE HOPE TO THESE YOUNG PEOPLE?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says QUESTION'S FOR THE PREMIER.

Ford says MINISTER OF INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS.

The Speaker says REFERRED TO THE MINISTER OF INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS.

The caption changes to "Honourable Greg Rickford. PC. Minister of Indigenous Affairs."

Rickford says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. I WANT TO THANK THE HONOURABLE MEMBER FOR HIS QUESTION WITH RESPECT TO THE PASSING, UNFORTUNATE PASSING OF THESE TWO YOUNG PEOPLE. THE INDIGENOUS HEALING AND WELLNESS STRATEGY UNIT HAS ADVANCED A SIGNIFICANT RESOURCE FOR NAN TO IMPROVE THEIR CAPACITY TO RESPOND TO THESE PARTICULAR SITUATIONS, MR. SPEAKER. WE'LL CONTINUE TO MOBILIZE RESOURCES AND SUPPORT NISHNAWBE ASKI NATION IN THEIR REQUEST TO HELP IN THESE PARTICULAR MATTERS, MR. SPEAKER. WHILE OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE WITH THIS COMMUNITY, I CAN ASSURE THE HONOURABLE MEMBER THAT, MOVING FORWARD,, WE WILL CONTINUE, REDOUBLE OUR EFFORTS TO ENSURE THAT YOUNG PEOPLE IN THESE INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES HAVE HOPE, MR. SPEAKER, HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO THINK ABOUT ECONOMIC PROSPERITY FOR CORRIDORS, MR. SPEAKER, THAT WILL OPEN THEIR COMMUNITIES TO NEW JOBS.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Rickford says ECONOMIC SOCIAL AND HEALTH BENEFITS THAT COME WITH THESE KINDS OF SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENTS IN THEIR COMMUNITIES AND TO THEIR COMMUNITIES. THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER.

The Speaker says THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Mamakwa says MR. SPEAKER, WE NEED MORE THAN THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS FROM THIS PLACE. THE ISSUE OF YOUTH SUICIDE IN OUR COMMUNITIES IS A LONG-TERM PROBLEM. COLONIZATION AND ITS ONGOING EFFECTS CONTRIBUTE TO THE CRISIS OF YOUTH SUICIDE. THE CONTINUED NEGLECT BY COLONIAL GOVERNMENTS SUCH AS THIS PLACE MEANS YOUNG PEOPLE FALL THROUGH THE CRACKS, LIKE RIEDEL, KERI LYNN AND DEVON FREEMAN WHO DIED BY SUICIDE WHILE CHILD WORKER ASSISTED BUT WAS NOT FOUND FOR SEVEN MONTHS. THE CRISIS OF FIRST NATIONS YOUTH SUICIDE AND THE APPROACHES USED TO ADDRESS IT ARE NOT AS SUFFICIENT AND DO NOT REFLECT THE UNIQUE NEEDS. PREMIER, THERE NEEDS TO BE DEDICATED RESOURCES, AND A SPECIALIZED STRATEGY TO ADDRESS SUICIDE AMONG FIRST NATIONS YOUTH.

The Speaker says QUESTION.

Mamakwa says WILL ONTARIO MAKE THIS COMMITMENT TODAY?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THANK YOU. MEMBERS PLEASE TAKE THEIR SEATS. REPLY.

Rickford says I THANK THE HONOURABLE MEMBER FOR HIS QUESTION. I WANT TO ASSURE HIM THAT MUCH OF THAT WORK IS UNDER WAY. WE HAVE BENCHMARKS FOR SUCCESS, MR. SPEAKER, IN TERMS OF REDUCING THE FREQUENCY IN COMMUNITIES BY HAVING HUB SERVICES, WRAPAROUND SERVICES FOR TEENS IN CRISIS IN THE SCHOOL, A FACILITY IN THEIR COMMUNITY. FOR EXAMPLE I'M THINKING OF PIKANJIKUM, MR. SPEAKER, WHERE WE'VE MADE SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS, COORDINATING ACROSS DIFFERENT MINISTRIES TO ENSURE, MR. SPEAKER, THAT WE ARE PRESENT IN THOSE COMMUNITIES OFFERING SERVICES AND PROGRAMS THAT CAN HELP TO PREVENT, MR. SPEAKER, AND TREAT TEENAGERS IN PARTICULAR WHO ARE EXPERIENCING SOME FORM OF CRISIS. BUT MOVING FORWARD, MR. SPEAKER, WE NEED TO TALK MORE SERIOUSLY ABOUT THE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES OF THESE COMMUNITIES. OPENING UP THESE COMMUNITIES SO THAT PEOPLE HAVE A CHANCE, MR. SPEAKER, FOR A GOOD JOB, MR. SPEAKER.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Rickford says AND THE HOPE OF THE KIND OF ECONOMIC PROSPERITY THAT MOST COMMUNITIES IN OTHER PARTS OF THE PROVINCE HAVE A GOOD SHOT AT. THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER.

The Speaker says THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MEMBER FOR NORTHUMBERLAND-PETERBOROUGH SOUTH.

The caption changes to "David Piccini. PC. Northumberland-Peterborough South."

Piccini is in his early forties, clean-shaven, with short blond hair. He wears a blue plaid suit, white shirt, and printed pink tie.

He says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER.

[APPLAUSE]

Piccini says MR. SPEAKER, MY QUESTION IS TO THE MINISTER OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, JOB CREATION AND TRADE. MINISTER, EARLIER THIS WEEK, YOU ROSE IN THE HOUSE TO TALK ABOUT ONTARIO'S GROWTH IN JOB NUMBERS IN THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER. IN FACT, SINCE JUNE OF 2018, 271,600 NEW JOBS HAVE BEEN CREATED IN THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO, DUE IN PART TO THE SWIFT ACTION OUR GOVERNMENT HAS TAKEN TO RESTORE ONTARIO'S COMPETITIVENESS, ENSURE THAT THIS PROVINCE IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS AND OPEN FOR JOBS. WE KNOW, MR. SPEAKER, THAT IN A HIGHLY COMPETITIVE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT UNLOCKING THE ECONOMIC POTENTIAL OF TRADE WILL BE CRITICAL TO ONTARIO'S SUCCESS. GROWING TRADE AND FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT WILL HELP CREATE JOBS AND ECONOMIC PROSPERITY FOR ALL ONTARIANS. CAN THE MINISTER PROVIDE THE HOUSE WITH AN UPDATE ON WHAT ACTIONS OUR GOVERNMENT IS TAKING TO RESTORE ONTARIO'S COMPETITIVENESS AND REDUCE THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS IN THIS GREAT PROVINCE? THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER.

The Speaker says MINISTER OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, JOB CREATION AND TRADE.

Fedeli says THANK YOU VERY MUCH, SPEAKER. AND TO THE MEMBER FOR NORTHUMBERLAND-PETERBOROUGH SOUTH. OUR GOVERNMENT IS ABSOLUTELY COMMITTED TO CREATING AND PROTECTING GOOD JOBS FOR THE PEOPLE OF ONTARIO. AS I SAID EARLIER, MR. SPEAKER, WE HAVE TAKEN 5 BILLION DOLLARS OUT OF THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS. WE WERE TOLD A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO THE FORMER GOVERNMENT MADE ONTARIO THE MOST EXPENSIVE JURISDICTION IN ALL OF NORTH AMERICA IN WHICH TO DO BUSINESS. THE PREMIER'S MADE A COMMITMENT RIGHT AWAY TO REDUCE THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS. WE REDUCED THE WORKPLACE SAFETY AND INSURANCE BOARD PREMIUMS FIRST BY 30 percent, SPEAKER LAST YEAR, 17 percent THIS YEAR. THAT'S 2.2 BILLION DOLLARS THAT WILL BE REDUCED. WE HAVE INTRODUCED A CORPORATE INCOME TAX CUT OF 3.8 BILLION DOLLARS TO THE ONTARIO JOB CREATION INVESTMENT INCENTIVE. SPEAKER, WE DID NOT PROCEED WITH THE PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT'S.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Fedeli says TAX OF 308 MILLION DOLLARS AND WE'RE GOING TO BE REDUCING THE COST OF RED TAPE BY 400 MILLION DOLLARS. SPEAKER, THAT'S HOW YOU CREATE 271,600 JOBS.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Piccini says THANK YOU, MINISTER. IT'S GREAT TO HEAR THAT OUR PLAN TO RESTORE ONTARIO'S COMPETITIVENESS IS WORKING AND JOB CREATORS ARE ONCE AGAIN LOOKING TO ONTARIO TO INVEST AND GROW THEIR BUSINESS. MY QUESTION'S BACK TO THE MINISTER. REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IS IMPORTANT IN GROWING LOCAL ECONOMIES AND STRENGTHENING THE SMALL BUSINESS COMMUNITY. IT'S CRITICAL TO RURAL COMMUNITIES LIKE MINE THAT WERE IGNORED BY THE PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT. AS A MEMBER IN A NORTHERN RIDING I'M SURE YOU NO DOUBT HAVE HEARD THE SAME CONCERNS FROM CONSTITUENTS OF YOURS. MINISTER, COULD YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN HOW OUR GOVERNMENT IS TAKING ACTION TO SUPPORT REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN THE NORTH AND IN OTHER RURAL COMMUNITIES LIKE MINE? THANK YOU.

The Speaker says MINISTER?

Fedeli says SPEAKER, WE KNOW THAT IN RURAL AND NORTHERN ONTARIO, THERE ARE UNIQUE CHALLENGES, AND THAT'S WHY WE'VE COME UP WITH UNIQUE SOLUTIONS AS WELL. THE SMALL BUSINESS TAX CREDIT WILL REDUCE THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS IN ONTARIO. THAT'S A REDUCTION OF 8.7 percent. SPEAKER, THE NORTHERN ONTARIO AVIATION TAX CREDIT. THIS REDUCES THE COST OF AVIATION FUEL IN THE NORTH FROM 6.7 CENTS TO 2.7 CENTS. THOSE ARE BIG NUMBERS, SPEAKER, WHEN YOU ADD THEM ALL UP. WHEN I THINK OF THE RED TAPE REDUCTIONS I THINK OF DEBBIE WHO CUTS MY HAIR EVERY SECOND FRIDAY BACK IN NORTH BAY. AND THERE'S RED TAPE REDUCTIONS FOR DEBBIE SHAW. WHEN I THINK.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Fedeli says ABOUT RED TAPE REDUCTION BILL I THINK OF KAYVON ROUHANI WHO OWNS HAPPY JACK'S CLI DRY CLEANERS. SPEAKER, THERE'S REDUCTION IN RED TAPE COSTS FOR TRUCKERS, MINING AND FORESTRY COMPANIES. ALL BY THE WAY.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Fedeli says WHICH THE N.D.P. VOTED AGAINST. THEY VOTED AGAINST THE SMALL BUSINESS TAX CREDIT. THEY VOTED AGAINST THE NORTHERN ONTARIO AVIATION FUEL TAX CREDIT. THEY VOTED AGAINST ALL OF THOSE SAVINGS FOR OUR SMALL BUSINESSES.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THANK YOU. NEXT question. The member for BRAMPTON-NORTH.

THE CAPTION CHANGES TO "KEVIN YARDE. NDP. BRAMPTON NORTH."

Yarde is in his forties, clean-shaven, with short-cropped dark hair. He wears glasses, a gray suit, white shirt, and printed blue tie.

He says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. I'D ALSO LIKE TO THANK THE MEMBER FOR HIS QUESTION AND CONCERNS REGARDING YOUTH SUICIDE IN HIS COMMUNITY. MY QUESTION IS TO THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION. COMMUNITY MEMBERS IN PEEL ARE WORRIED THAT THIS GOVERNMENT JUST DOESN'T UNDERSTAND WHAT'S NECESSARY TO ADDRESS ANTIBLACK RACISM IN OUR SCHOOLS. THEY HAVE CRITICIZED THE MINISTER FOR NOT HIRING BLACK REVIEWERS BECAUSE THEY KNOW YOU NEED TO HAVE PEOPLE WITH THE EXPERTISE AND LIVED EXPERIENCE AT THE TABLE. NOW WE'RE HEARING THAT THE TWO PEOPLE HIRED TO DO OUTREACH FOR THE REVIEW ARE NOT BLACK EITHER. ACCORDING TO THE "TORONTO STAR," COMMUNITY LEADERS AND EXPERTS IN ANTIBLACK RACISM ARE, QUOTE, A GUEST AT THE REVIEWING TEAM'S WHOLLY INADEQUATE OUTREACH EFFORTS, UNQUOTE. MY QUESTION TO THE MINISTER IS CAN HE EXPLAIN WHY HE THINKS IT'S UNNECESSARY TO HAVE BLACK STAFF CONDUCT THE MUCH NEEDED OUTREACH INTO BLACK COMMUNITIES FOR THIS REVIEW OF ANTIBLACK RACISM?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THANK YOU VERY MUCH. QUESTION'S TO THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION.

Lecce says THANK YOU VERY MUCH, SPEAKER. THANK YOU TO THE MEMBER OPPOSITE FOR THE QUESTION. I REACHED OUT TO EACH OF THE MEMBERS OPPOSITE FROM PEEL REGION AS WELL AS MEMBERS OF OUR GOVERNMENT IN THE DAYS LEADING UP TO MY DECISION TO APPOINT REVIEWERS. WE MOVED VERY QUICKLY PERHAPS WITH THE QUICKEST DECISION POINTS MADE IN THE CONTEXT OF SENDING IN REVIEWER TO A BOARD THAT HAD MADE SOME REQUESTS, BOTH COMPLAINTS FROM PARENTS AND FAMILIES. ANY FORM OF DISCRIMINATION AND PREJUDICE IS UNACCEPTABLE IN OUR SCHOOLS. IT'S WHY WE MOVED QUICKLY. MR. SPEAKER, IN ADDITION PATRICK CASE, THE ASSISTANT DEPUTY MINISTER FOR SUPPORTING STUDENT POTENTIAL, SECOND TO MY MINISTRY, IS THE LEAD OF THIS REVIEW. MR. CASE IS NOT ONLY A LEADER WITHIN THE BLACK COMMUNITY, A HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER APERSON OF IMPECCABLE INTEGRITY BUT SOMEONE WHO IS INVOLVED IN EVERY SINGLE REVIEW AND THIS INDIVIDUAL BRINGS HIS OWN LIVED EXPERIENCE AS SOMEONE WHO FIGHTS STRONGLY FOR EQUITY AND EQUALITY WITHIN OUR SCHOOLS, AND WE HAVE CONFIDENCE IN HIM.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Lecce says TO LEAD THE PROCESS TO ENSURE WE ACTUALLY COME FORTH WITH RECOMMENDATIONS THAT CAN CHANGE THE CULTURE WITHIN THE SCHOOL'S APPEAL... SCHOOLS OF PEEL.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY question. The member for TORONTO Saint PAUL'S.

The caption changes to "Jill Andrew. NDP. Toronto Saint Paul's."

Andrew is in her thirties, with black hair in a bun. She wears a blue blazer over a striped red and blue shirt.

She says SPEAKER, MAY I JUST SAY THAT PATRICK CASE IS A PHENOMENAL LEADER. HE IS A COMMUNITY LEADER IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY, BUT HE IS NOT AN INDEPENDENT REVIEWER. ARE YOU NOT LISTENING TO THE COMMUNITY. IN ORDER FOR A REVIEW OF ANTIBLACK RACE NISM OUR SCHOOLS TO HAVE ANY CREDIBILITY AND THE QUESTION GOES TO THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION, THE MINISTER NEEDS TO GET THE FUNDAMENTALS RIGHT. BLACK REVIEWERS NEED TO BE AT THE TABLE. BLACK COMMUNITY OUTREACH STAFF NEED TO BE IN PLACE TO CONNECT WITH SAID BLACK COMMUNITY. AND THE REVIEW NEEDS TO BE ACCESSIBLE TO STUDENTS AND PARENTS WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED ANTIBLACK RACISM. THEY NEED TO KNOW WHERE TO SIGN UP. BLACK COMMUNITY MEMBERS SHOULDN'T BE CONFUSED ABOUT WHERE TO SIGN UP, SPEAKER. ALL COMMUNICATION MUST BE TRANSPARENT. IT IS CURRENTLY OPAQUE, ESPECIALLY WITH THESE RUSHED TIME LINES. SPEAKER, HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO TRUST THAT THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION'S REVIEW WILL ACCURATELY REFLECT WHEN BLACK STUDENTS, PARENTS AND STAFF.

The Speaker says QUESTION.

Andrew says HAVE BEEN EXPERIENCING AT THE PEEL DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD, WHEN HE CANNOT GET THESE BASIC, FUNDAMENTAL COMPONENTS RIGHT?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER TO REPLY.

Lecce says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. AND THANK YOU TO THE MEMBER OPPOSITE FOR THE QUESTION. MR. SPEAKER, OBVIOUSLY IT IS THE AIM OF THE GOVERNMENT TO ENSURE INCLUSIVITY AND RESPECT OF EVERY STUDENT IN ONTARIO. PEEL REGION, WHEN THE ALLEGATIONS FROM STUDENTS AND PARENTS, ADMINISTRATORS, THE CHAIR AND VICE-CHAIR AMONG OTHERS AND TRUSTEES EMERGED TO MY DESK, WE TOOK IMMEDIATE ACTION TO CALL IN REVIEWERS. ONE OF THE REVIEWERS IS INVOLVED IN YORK REGION DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD ON ANOTHER ISSUE OF ANTIBLACK RACISM. BUT THE POINT IS, SPEAKER, I HAVE ASKED MY ASSISTANT DEPUTY MINISTER, MR. PATRICK CASE, WHO WILL BE A REVIEWER, WHO WILL BE PRESENT IN THOSE MEETINGS IN EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM WITHOUT EXCEPTION, TO ENSURE THAT THERE'S LIVED EXPERIENCE AT THE TABLE AND TO ENSURE THAT HE, WHO'S LEADING THIS PROCESS IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE OTHER TWO REVIEWERS, DELIVERS RESULTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS THAT FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMS THE CULTURE OF GOVERNANCE AND DECISION MAKING IN PEEL SO WE ENSURE THAT THERE'S NO CHILD THAT FEELS SO ISOLATED AND DISCRIMINATED AGAINST AGAIN.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THANK YOU VERY MUCH. THE NEXT question. The member for Thornhill.

The caption changes to "Gila Martow. PC. Thornhill."

Martow is in her forties, with wavy blond hair to her shoulders. She wears a black blazer over a white shirt, black-rimmed glasses and a pearl necklace.

She says THANK YOU. MY QUESTION THIS MORNING IS TO THE ASSOCIATE MINISTER OF MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTIONS. MR. SPEAKER, WE'RE ALL LOOKING FORWARD TO WHAT OUR GOVERNMENT'S NEXT STEPS WILL BE TO ADDRESS LONG-STANDING GAPS THAT HAVE PREVENTED SO MANY ONTARIANS FROM RECEIVING THE NECESSARY SERVICES AND SUPPORTS THEY REQUIRE TO OVERCOME THEIR MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION CHALLENGES. I KNOW THAT THE MINISTER'S WORKING EVERY DAY, ALONGSIDE THE DEPUTY PREMIER AND THE MINISTER OF HEALTH, SO THAT ONTARIANS CAN BE FULLY SUPPORTED ON THEIR JOURNEY TOWARDS MENTAL WELLNESS. MR. SPEAKER, COULD THE MINISTER PLEASE PROVIDE AN UPDATE TO THE MEMBERS OF THIS LEGISLATURE ON WHAT ONTARIANS CAN EXPECT TO SEE WHEN THEIR MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION STRATEGY HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED?

The Speaker says QUESTION'S TO THE ASSOCIATE MINISTER OF MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION.

The caption changes to "Honourable Michael A. Tibollo. Associate Minister of Mental Health and addictions."

Tibollo is in his late fifties, clean-shaven and balding. He wears a black suit, white shirt, and gray tie.

He says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE MEMBER FOR THORNHILL FOR THAT EXCELLENT QUESTION. MR. SPEAKER, AS THE MEMBER STATED, OUR GOVERNMENT IS WORKING TIRELESSLY TO ENSURE THAT WE CREATE A CONNECTED AND INTEGRATED MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION SYSTEM THAT WORKS FOR ALL ONTARIANS, NO MATTER WHERE IN THE PROVINCE THEY RESIDE. WHETHER SOMEONE IS LIVING IN REMOTE COMMUNITIES IN NORTHERN ONTARIO OR ONE OF THE INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES, OR ONE OF OUR BRAVE FIRST RESPONDERS, WE WILL ENSURE THAT ALL ONTARIANS WILL BE ABLE TO GET THE HELP THEY REQUIRE WHEN AND WHERE THEY NEED IT. OUR STRATEGY, MR. SPEAKER, WILL ENSURE THAT ONTARIANS ACROSS THE ENTIRE LIFE SPAN WILL BE ABLE TO FIND THE HELP THEY NEED FOR THEIR UNIQUE CHALLENGES. WE REALIZE THERE'S NO ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL SOLUTION TO MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTIONS IN THE PROVINCE AND THAT'S WHY WE'RE WORKING COLLABORATIVELY ACROSS GOVERNMENT.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Tibollo says TO ENSURE WE GET THIS RIGHT. I LOOK FORWARD TO CONTINUE WORKING ALONGSIDE MY COLLEAGUES FROM PARTNER MINISTRIES TO ENSURE THAT NOBODY IN ONTARIO IS LEFT BEHIND.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Martow says I WANT TO THANK THE MINISTER FOR HIS RESPONSE, MR. SPEAKER. I'M PROUD TO SEE THAT OUR GOVERNMENT IS MAKING MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTIONS A PRIORITY. WE ALL SHARE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO ENSURE THAT ONTARIANS RECEIVE THE SERVICES AND SUPPORTS THEY REQUIRE TO OVERCOME THEIR MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTIONS CHALLENGES. PREVIOUS GOVERNMENTS FAILED TO ADDRESS THE NUMEROUS GAPS IN OUR MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION SYSTEM SO IT'S REASSURING TO HEAR THAT WE ARE CREATING A STRATEGY THAT WILL ALLOW PEOPLE ACROSS THE PROVINCE, NO MATTER WHERE THEY LIVE, TO LOCATE AND RECEIVE THE SERVICES AND SUPPORTS FOR THEIR UNIQUE MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTIONS NEEDS. MR. SPEAKER, WE MUST ALL WORK TOGETHER TO CREATE A CONNECTED AND INTEGRATED MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION SYSTEM. COULD THE MINISTER PLEASE INFORM THE MEMBERS OF THIS LEGISLATURE WHAT OUR GOVERNMENT'S NEXT STEPS WILL BE TO ADDRESS MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTIONS IN ONTARIO?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER?

Tibollo says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. I THANK THE MEMBER AGAIN FOR THAT IMPORTANT QUESTION. FIRST AND FOREMOST, MR. SPEAKER, I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH THE IMPORTANCE OF BILL 116. BILL 116, IF PASSED, WOULD SEE THE CREATION OF A DEDICATED MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION CENTRE FOR EXCELLENCE. IF PASSED, BILL 116 WOULD ALSO ENABLE THE IMPLEMENTATION OF OUR MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION STRATEGY. BILL 116 ALSO PROPOSES TO GIVE US THE TOOLS WE REQUIRE TO HOLD OPIOID MANUFACTURERS AND WHOLESALERS ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR ROLE IN THE ONGOING OPIOID CRISIS. IT WOULD ALSO HELP US RECOVER HEALTH CARE COSTS PAID BY THE PROVINCE DUE TO OPIOID RELATED DISEASE, INJURY OR ILLNESS. MR. SPEAKER, SHOULD BILL 116 PASS, OUR GOVERNMENT INTENDS TO INVEST ANY AWARD FOR LITIGATION AGAINST THE MANUFACTURERS AND WHOLESALERS OF OIP YOIDS.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Tibollo says DIRECTLY TO FRONT-LINE MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION SERVICES. MACHINE FOR TOO LONG PREVIOUS GOVERNMENTS FAILED TO TAKE MEANINGFUL ACTION TO ADDRESS MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTIONS IN ONTARIO AND WE'RE COMMITTED TO DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THANK YOU VERY MUCH. THE NEXT question. The member for Nickel Belt.

The caption changes to "France Gélinas. NDP. Nickel Belt."

Gélinas is in her forties, with short straight blond hair and bangs. She wears a dark red dress and a metal necklace.

She speaks in French and a translator says
THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. TO THE PREMIER.

[END OF TRANSLATION]

In English, Gélinas continues
ON JANUARY 1ST, HIS GOVERNMENT'S CUTS TO PUBLIC HEALTH WILL COME INTO EFFECT, DESPITE THE PREMIER HIRING AN ADVISOR WITH A SIX-FIGURE SALARY TO HOLD CONSULTATION ON THE FUTURE OF PUBLIC HEALTH IN ONTARIO. CAN THE PREMIER TELL US WHY THE GOVERNMENT IS STILL GOING AHEAD WITH CUTS TO PUBLIC HEALTH EVEN AS THEY HOLD CONSULTATIONS ON THE FUTURE OF PUBLIC HEALTH?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE QUESTION RESPONDED TO BY THE MINISTER OF HEALTH.

The caption changes to "Honourable Christine Elliott. PC. Minister of Health."

Elliott is in her late fifties, with long blond hair. She wears a green blazer over a black dress.

She says I THANK THE MEMBER VERY MUCH FOR THE QUESTION. IN FACT WE ARE UNDERTAKING A FULL KILTTATION ON BOTH PUBLIC HEALTH AND EMERGENCY MEDICINE WITH MR. JIM PINE WHO IS ACTUALLY TRAVELLING TO COMMUNITIES ACROSS ONTARIO TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THEIR NEEDS ARE, RECOGNIZING THAT THERE ARE DIFFERENT GEOGRAPHIC NEEDS IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE PROVINCE OF COURSE. AND WE HAVE SPOKEN WITH A NUMBER OF PUBLIC HEALTH UNITS. THEY ARE VERY PLEASED WITH THE WAY THINGS ARE MOVING FORWARD AND THEY UNDERSTAND PARTICULARLY IN THE CASE OF THE OTTAWA PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICES THAT THEY'RE ABLE TO MAKE THOSE CHANGES THAT WE HAVE SUGGESTED WITHOUT ANY IMPACT ON FRONT-LINE CARE, THAT NO PATIENT WILL BE NOT RECEIVING ASSISTANCE. THEY WILL STILL BE ABLE TO DO THEIR WORK IN PUBLIC HEALTH AND WILL BE ABLE TO DO SO UNDER THE DIFFERENT CIRCUMSTANCES COMING FORWARD NEXT YEAR.

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Gélinas says WHEN WILL THIS GOVERNMENT LEARN THAT THE CUT-FIRST CONSULT-LATER APPROACH IS NOT WORKING? IT DIDN'T WORK IN LONG-TERM CARE, DIDN'T WORK IN EDUCATION. IT DIDN'T WORK FOR CHILDREN WITH AUTISM AND IT IS NOT WORKING FOR PUBLIC HEALTH AND THE MUNICIPALITIES THAT ARE TRYING TO DELIVER THESE CRITICAL SERVICES. IN FACT BECAUSE OF THE CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT CUTS TO PUBLIC HEALTH, MUNCIPALITIES ARE NOW FACING REALLY TOUGH DECISIONS. LAST WEEK, CHATHAM-KENT MUNICIPAL COUNCIL SAID THAT THE PREMIER'S CUTS TO PUBLIC HEALTH AND OTHER MUNICIPAL SERVICES WILL COST US 2.3 MILLION DOLLARS, FORCING THEM TO CONSIDER RAISING PROPERTY TAXES. AND YESTERDAY BARRIE'S CITY COUNCIL APPROVED AN INCREASED PROPERTY TAXES BECAUSE OF THE PROVINCIAL CUTS. WHY IS THE MINISTER DOWNLOADING... THE PREMIER DOWNLOADING THEIR IRRESPONSIBLE PUBLIC HEALTH CUTS TO MUNICIPALITIES?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER OF HEALTH.

Elliott says MR. SPEAKER, I THINK IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT THERE ARE NO CUTS TO PUBLIC HEALTH. WE ARE MODERNIZING...

The Speaker says ORDER.

[INTERJECTIONS]

Elliott says RECOMMENDED FOR SEVERAL YEARS BY THE AUDITOR GENERAL OF ONTARIO WHO HAS RECOGNIZED THAT THERE'S OFTEN AN OVERLAP IN SERVICES. THERE'S NOT GREAT COORDINATION OF SERVICES AMONG PUBLIC HEALTH UNITS, AND THAT THERE ARE SITUATIONS WHERE IT'S VERY DIFFICULT TO FIND A PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICER. SO WHAT WE'RE DOING IS MODERNIZING THE SYSTEM WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF MR. PINE. OTTAWA PUBLIC HEALTH, AS YOU'VE RAISED AN EXAMPLE, OTTAWA PUBLIC HEALTH WAS ABLE TO FIND EFFICIENCIES IN NEXT YEAR'S BUDGET BY ELIMINATING VACANT POSITIONS AND REDUCING ADVERTISING EXPENSES AND INTERNAL ADMINISTRATION. WHAT WE NEED TO FOCUS ON ARE WHAT ARE THE PARTICULAR ISSUES IN PUBLIC HEALTH IN EACH GEOGRAPHIC AREA OF ONTARIO. THAT IS WHAT WE'RE FOCUSING ON.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Elliott says WE RECOGNIZE THAT THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT ALSO HAS A ROLE TO PLAY. THAT IS WHY WE BROUGHT FORWARD THE DENTAL PROGRAM FOR LOW INCOME SENIORS, A 90 MILLION DOLLAR-A-YEAR PROGRAM THAT'S GOING TO BENEFIT LOW INCOME SENIORS ACROSS THE PROVINCE.

The Speaker says THANK YOU VERY MUCH. THANK YOU.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE NEXT question. The member for Oakville.

The caption changes to "Stephen Crawford. PC. Oakville."

Crawford is in his forties, clean-shaven, with short brown hair. He wears a gray suit, white shirt, and gray plaid tie.

He says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. MY QUESTION IS TO THE MINISTER OF ENERGY. MR. SPEAKER, RECENTLY OUR PREMIER SIGNED A MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING WITH PREMIER HIGGS AND PREMIER MOE TO WORK TOGETHER ON DEVELOPING SMALL MODULAR REACTORS TECHNOLOGY RIGHT HERE IN THIS PROVINCE. MR. SPEAKER, WE HAVE THE ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMIC BENEFITS THAT DEVELOPING NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY BRINGS TO ONTARIO. IN ADDITION, MR. SPEAKER, THE NUCLEAR POWER INDUSTRY IS RESPONSIBLE FOR CREATING 60,000 DIRECT AND INDIRECT JOBS IN THIS PROVINCE. THOUSANDS OF THESE JOBS ARE IN FULL-TIME POSITIONS IN THE OAKVILLE CORRIDOR. WILL THE MINISTER PLEASE TELL US WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT THAT WE WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT THE NUCLEAR POWER INDUSTRY IN ONTARIO?

The Speaker says QUESTION'S TO THE MINISTER OF ENERGY, NORTHERN DEVELOPMENT AND MINES.

Rickford says I WANT TO THANK THE ALL-STAR MEMBER FROM OAKVILLE WHO'S ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. HIS CONSTITUENCY IS THE EPICENTRE OF SMALL MODULAR REACTOR TECHNOLOGY, MR. SPEAKER. THE OPPORTUNITIES ARE LIMITLESS. THE ON GRID POWER GENERATION POTENTIAL MARKET VALUE EXCEEDS 100 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR, MR. SPEAKER. AND IMPORTANTLY WOULD REPLACE FOSSIL FUEL PLANTS IN OUR SYSTEM HERE IN ONTARIO. OFF-GRID, MORE THAN 30 BILLION DOLLARS OF POTENTIAL MARKET VALUE, MR. SPEAKER, WITH APPLICATIONS ACROSS NORTHERN COMMUNITIES AND ISOLATED AND REMOTE MINING AND FORESTRY OPPORTUNITIES. THEN OF COURSE THERE'S THE EXPORT POTENTIAL AND THIS IS THE KEY, MR. SPEAKER. ONTARIO HAS CHOSEN, UNDER THIS PREMIER, MR. SPEAKER, TO LEAD SMALL MODULAR REACTOR TECHNOLOGY BY MOVING AHEAD, MR. SPEAKER, WITH...

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Rickford says MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING WITH OUR PROVINCIAL PARTNERS, MR. SPEAKER. WE'RE CERTAIN WE HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO EXCEED MORE THAN 150 BILLION DOLLARS IN EXPORT MARKET POTENTIAL, MR. SPEAKER, WITH MADE-IN-ONTARIO SMALL MODULAR...

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Crawford says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. MY SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION IS TO THE ASSOCIATE MINISTER OF ENERGY. MR. SPEAKER, IT IS APPARENT THAT NUCLEAR ENERGY IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF ONTARIO'S ECONOMY AND ENERGY SUPPLY MIX. INVESTING IN SMALL MODULAR REACTOR TECHNOLOGY IS A CRITICAL NEXT STEP TO BECOMING AN INTERNATIONAL LEADER IN NONEEE EMITTING POWER FOR OFF GRID COMMUNITIES. S.M.R.S ARE A PROMISING POTENTIAL SOURCE OF SAFE AND RELIABLE POWER FOR OUR ENTIRE COUNTRY AND WILL HELP US ACHIEVE CANADA'S CLIMATE TARGETS. WILL THE MINISTER PLEASE TELL US MORE ABOUT THE POTENTIAL OF S.M.R.S AND THE MULTITUDE OF WAYS IN WHICH THEY CAN BE USED?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER OF ENERGY.

Rickford says ASSOCIATE MINISTER OF ENERGY.

The Speaker says QUESTION'S referred to the Associate Minister of Energy.

The caption changes to "Honourable Bill Walker. PC. Associate Minister of Energy."

Walker is in his forties, clean-shaven, with short gray hair. He wears glasses, a gray suit, white shirt, and striped gray tie.

He says THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. SPEAKER. I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE HONOURABLE HARD WORKING MEMBER FROM OAKVILLE FOR HIS QUESTION. I'M HAPPY TO SHED SOME LIGHT ON JUST HOW IMPORTANT THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY IS FOR THE PEOPLE OF ONTARIO. THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY HAS BECOME A STRATEGIC ASSET FOR CANADA AT HOME AND ON THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE. IN MY AREA ALONE BRUCE POWER'S EIGHT UNITS PROVIDE OVER 4,000 FULL-TIME HIGH-PAYING JOBS TO HIGHLY SKILLED WOMEN AND MEN. THE IMPORTANT WORK THAT THESE HARD WORKING ONTARIANS DO DAY IN AND DAY OUT ADDS BILLIONS OF DOLLARS INTO ONTARIO'S ECONOMY ANNUALLY. MR. SPEAKER, ALL THE WHILE BRUCE POWER PRODUCES SAFE AND RELIABLE ENERGY FOR OUR PROVINCE AND PRODUCES ZERO CARBON EMISSIONS AND NOW THERE'S THE OPPORTUNITY FOR SMALL MODULAR REACTORS. THIS IS WHY OUR GOVERNMENT CONTINUES TO STAND UP FOR OUR NUCLEAR INDUSTRY AS THEY CONTINUE TO INNOVATE AND LEAD ON THE WORLD STAGE.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE NEXT question. The member for Oshawa.

The caption changes to "Jennifer French. NDP. Oshawa."

French is in her thirties, with shoulder-length straight gray hair. She wears a red blazer over a black turtleneck.

She says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. MY QUESTION'S TO THE PREMIER. SPEAKER, THERE'S BIG NEWS IN DURHAM REGION. HIGHWAY 418 IS FINISHED AND FOLKS WILL BE ABLE TO CONNECT FROM THE 401 TO THE 407 AND 115. IT WILL, LIKE THE 412, BE A TOLL ROAD. BACK IN THE DAY WHEN P.C. DAND CANDIDATES WERE CAMPAIGNING IN THE ELECTION THEY PROMISED TO MAKE TAKING THE TOLLS OFF THE 412 AND 418 THEIR FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS IF ELECTED. SPEAKER, SPOILER ALERT. THEY BECAME THE GOVERNMENT AND THE TOLLS ARE STILL THERE. WILL THE PREMIER COMMIT, AS THE DURHAM CANDIDATE DID ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL WHEN THEY NEEDED THE VOTES, TO REMOVING THE TOLLS FROM THE 412 AND THE 418?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says DEPUTY PREMIER.

The Deputy Premier says MINISTER OF TRANSPORTATION.

The Speaker says REFERRED TO THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORTATION.

[APPLAUSE]

The caption changes to "Honourable Caroline Mulroney. Minister of Francophone Affairs. Minister of Transportation."

Mulroney is in her mid-forties, with long wavy brown hair. She wears a dark blue blazer over a mustard-yellow shirt.

She says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. MR. SPEAKER, AS THE MEMBER OPPOSITE KNOWS OUR GOVERNMENT CAMPAIGNED ON A PROMISE TO MAKE LIFE MORE AFFORDABLE FOR THE PEOPLE OF ONTARIO.

[INTERJECTIONS]

The Speaker says ORDER.

Mulroney says AND FOR THE PEOPLE OF DURHAM REGION. THE M.P.P.S FROM DURHAM REGION AS WE CALL THEM IN OUR CAUCUS, MR. SPEAKER, THE DURHAM FOUR INCLUDES THE PRESIDENT OF THE TREASURY BOARD, THE MINISTER OF FINANCE, THE CHIEF GOVERNMENT WHIP AND THE MEMBER FOR DURHAM HAVE BEEN ADVOCATING VERY MUCH, MR. SPEAKER, TO ENSURE THAT WE ARE TAKING STEPS TO MAKE SURE THAT RESIDENTS OF DURHAM HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE HEARD ON THE ISSUE OF TOLLS. THAT IS WHY OUR GOVERNMENT IS UNDERTAKING A STUDY TO ASSESS THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF TOLLS IN THE REGION OF DURHAM AND ON MOTORISTS' BEHAVIOUR IN THE AREA, MR. SPEAKER. WE LOOK FORWARD TO RECEIVING THE OUTCOME OF THIS STUDY AND IT WILL INFORM OUR NEXT STEPS ON THIS MATTER. THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

French says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. BACK TO THE PREMIER. SINCE THE ELECTION, STUDENTS, COMMUTERS, SPORTS AND TRADE, COMMUNITY GROUPS, CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE, MUNCIPALITIES AND I HAVE ALL MADE THE CASE FOR THE REMOVAL OF TOLES FROM THE 412 AND 14. NOW THE GOVERNMENT WANTS TO APPLY A SHINY NEW STUDY TO SEE THERE F THERE'S A CASE FOR THE REMOVAL OF TOLLS. I DON'T THINK THIS GOVERNMENT HAS ANY INTENTION OF REMOVING THE TOLLS OR DOING RIGHT BY THE FOLKS IN DURHAM. I THINK THIS IS ABOUT KICKING THE CAN DOWN THAT WIDE OPEN UNDERUTILIZED ROAD ONCE AGAIN BACKPEDALLING ON COMMITMENTS MADE TO THE FOLKS ACROSS DURHAM REGION. WHEN I GOT ELECTED I TABLED BILL 23 TO REMOVE THE TOLLS FROM 412 AND 418. NOW THE 418 IS OPENED AND JUST AS THE LIBERALS PROMISED AND JUST AS THE LIBERALS PLANNED IT WILL UNFAIRLY COST THE FOLKS OF DURHAM. DURHAM REGION DESERVES TRANSPORTATION AND TRANSIT THAT WILL KEEP UP WITH OUR GROWTH AND POTENTIAL. SO WILL YOU COMMIT TO REMOVING THE TOLLS FROM THE 412 AND THE 418, YES OR NO OR?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER.

Mulroney says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. ONCE AGAIN, ONCE AGAIN...

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says ORDER. ORDER.

Mulroney says ONCE AGAIN, MR. SPEAKER, THE MEMBERS FROM THE DURHAM REGION ARE EXCELLENT ADVOCATES FOR THEIR CONSTITUENTS ON THIS ISSUE AS WELL AS OTHERS AND I WANT THE PEOPLE OF DURHAM TO KNOW.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Mulroney says THAT I AM LISTENING TO THE M.P.P.S FROM THE DURHAM REGION. TOLL INCREASES.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Mulroney says MR. SPEAKER, WERE CEMENTED INTO THE LIBERALS' PLAN TO BUILD THESE HIGHWAYS.

The Speaker says I APOLOGIZE TO THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORTATION FOR INTERRUPTING. THE HOUSE MUST COME TO ORDER SO I CAN HEAR THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORTATION'S RESPONSE. MINISTER OF TRANSPORTATION.

Mulroney says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. TOLL INCREASES WERE CEMENTED INTO THE LIBERAL PLAN TO BUILD THESE HIGHWAYS, MR. SPEAKER, AND THEY WERE PART OF THEIR PLAN TO TOLL THEM FOR THE NEXT 25 YEARS. WE ARE LOOKING INTO OPTIONS MOVING FORWARD AND I HAVE DIRECTED THE MINISTRY TO UNDERTAKE A STUDY ON THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF THESE TOLLS. THE PEOPLE OF DURHAM HAVE OUR WORD, MR. SPEAKER, THAT WE ARE LISTENING AND THAT WE COULD NOT ASK FOR BETTER ADVOCATES THAN THE DURHAM FOUR. THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE NEXT question. The member for Eglington-Lawrence.

The caption changes to "Robin Martin. PC. Eglinton-Lawrence."

Martin is in her fifties, with short wavy blond hair. She wears glasses and a dark purple blazer.

She says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. MY QUESTION IS FOR THE MINISTER OF GOVERNMENT AND CONSUMER SERVICES. CONSUMER SPENDING DRIVES ONTARIO'S ECONOMY ACCOUNTING FOR APPROXIMATELY 55 TO 60 percent OF G.D.P. ANNUALLY. THE PEOPLE OF ONTARIO NEED STRONGER PROTECTIONS WHEN THEY SPEND THEIR HARD-EARNED MONEY WHETHER THEY'RE MAKING DAY-TO-DAY PURCHASES OR MAKING INVESTMENTS IN THEIR FUTURES. THE ECONOMY HAS CHANGED AND SO HAVE CONSUMER SPENDING PRACTICES. IT'S QUITE CLEAR THAT ONTARIO'S CONSUMER PROTECTION FRAMEWORK NEEDS SIGNIFICANT CHANGE TO KEEP UP WITH HOW THE PEOPLE OF THIS PROVINCE BUY GOODS AND SERVICES. SPEAKER, ACCOUNT MINISTER EXPLAIN TO THIS HOUSE WHAT OUR GOVERNMENT IS DOING TO STRENGTHEN PROTECTION AND PROMOTE TRUST AND CONFIDENCE FOR THE PEOPLE OF ONTARIO?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER OF GOVERNMENT AND CONSUMER SERVICES.

Thompson says THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. SPEAKER. THANK YOU TO THE MEMBER FOR EGLINTON-LAWRENCE FOR YOUR EXCELLENT QUESTION. BECAUSE OUR GOVERNMENT RECOGNIZES ONTARIO'S CONSUMER PROTECTION FRAMEWORK HAS NOT KEPT PACE WITH THE WAY PEOPLE MAKE PURCHASES OR HOW BUSINESSES WORK TODAY, INCLUDING THE SHIFT TO THE ONLINE MARKET. THAT IS WHY WE'RE PROPOSING CHANGES TO IMPROVE AND UPDATE CONSUMER SERVICES AND PROTECTIONS ACROSS THIS PROVINCE THROUGH THE REBUILDING CONSUMER CONFIDENCE ACT. OUR LEGISLATION PROPOSES A WHOLESALE REVIEW OF THE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT. WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERY ELEMENT OF THE LEGISLATION WORKS FOR CONSUMERS AND BUSINESSES THROUGHOUT ONTARIO. OUR GOVERNMENT IS ALSO EMBARKING ON AN EXTENSIVE ROUND OF CONSULTATIONS THAT WILL FOCUS ON INCREASING CONSUMER PROTECTION FOR EVERY PERSON ACROSS THIS PROVINCE, BECAUSE WE NEED TO BE LOOKING CLOSELY AT OUR LEGISLATION TO MAKE SURE IT REFLECTS THE REALITIES OF TODAY. THANK YOU.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Martin says MR. SPEAKER, I WANT TO THANK THE MINISTER FOR HER ANSWER. THE WAY THAT PEOPLE MAKE PURCHASES AND HOW BUSINESSES OPERATE HAS CHANGED, ESPECIALLY WITH THE RISE OF E-COMMERCE OVER THE YEARS. CONSUMER PROTECTION ALLOWS INDIVIDUALS TO HAVE THE TRUST THEY NEED TO MAKE KNOWLEDGEABLE AND INFORMED DECISIONS. ONTARIANS SHOULD BE ABLE TO RELY ON LEGAL PROTECTIONS. CONSUMER PROTECTION LAWS NEED TO BE UPDATED SO THEY REMAIN FAIR AND PROVIDE CONSUMERS THE PROTECTION AND CONFIDENCE THEY NEED. CAN THE MINISTER ELABORATE FURTHER ON THE PROPOSED CHANGES IN THE REBUILDING CONFIDENCE ACT AND EXPLAIN MORE ABOUT THE ROLE CONSULTATION WILL PLAY IN THE REVIEW OF CONSUMER PROTECTION LEGISLATION?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER?

Thompson says THANK YOU VERY MUCH, SPEAKER. I WOULD BE PLEASED TO SPEAK TO THE CONSULTATIONS. THANK YOU TO THE MEMBER FOR EGLINTON-LAWRENCE FOR AGAIN THAT IMPORTANT QUESTION. BECAUSE IT'S IMPORTANT THAT ONTARIANS KNOW THAT WE'RE LOOKING AT THIS VERY SERIOUSLY. OUR GOVERNMENT WILL BE CONDUCTING A THOROUGH REVIEW OF THE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 15 YEARS. THIS REVIEW IS BEING CENTERED AROUND HOLDING CONSULTATIONS WITH STAKEHOLDERS AND CONSUMERS. THESE CONSULTATIONS WILL ENABLE US TO CONTINUE TO IMPLEMENT STRONGER PROTECTIONS FOR THE PEOPLE OF THIS PROVINCE. THE LEGISLATION COVERS A WIDE VARIETY OF PROTECTIONS FROM CONSUMERS, PROTECTIONS FOR THOSE WHO TRAVEL, USE ELEVATORS, CREDIT CARDS OR BUY TICKETS TO THEIR FAVOURITE GAMES OR CONCERTS. WE WANT TO HEAR FROM EVERYONE IN EARLY 2020 TO HELP SHAPE ONTARIO'S NEW KOUMR PROTECTION FRAMEWORK. OUR GOVERNMENT IS FOCUSED ON UPDATING THE REGULATIONS SO THAT IT IS CLEAR TO BUSINESSES WHAT PRACTICES ARE UNACCEPTABLE.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Thompson says AND SO THERE ARE CLEAR DETERRENTS FOR BAD ACTORS WHO TRY TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF CONSUMERS IN THIS PROVINCE. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says NEXT question. The member for University-Rosedale.

The caption changes to "Jessica Bell. NDP. University-Rosedale."

Bell is in her late thirties, with shoulder-length wavy brown hair. She wears a gray blazer and a burgundy shirt.

She says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. MY QUESTION IS TO THE PREMIER. EVERY WEEK I HEAR FROM DESPERATE TENANTS WHOSE LANDLORDS ARE TRYING TO RAISE THEIR RENT MORE THAN THE LEGAL LIMIT. TENANTS LIKE LEONARD. LEONARD 172. HE LIVES AT 103 AVENUE ROAD. LEONARD LIVES ON 1,600 A MONTH FROM HIS PENSION AND 1,500 OF THAT GOES TO RENT. HE HAS 100 LEFT. FOR FOOD LEONARD LIVES ON PROTEIN SHAKES AND ONE SMALL MEAL A DAY. NOW HIS CORP. AT LANDLORD WANTS TO INCREASE HIS RENT BY 9 percent, WELL ABOVE THE LEGAL LIMIT. LEONARD IS TERRIFIED. IF THIS INCREASE IS APPROVED HE WILL BE HOMELESS. HOW CAN THE PREMIER STAND BY AND LET SENIORS, LIKE LEONARD, FALL INTO HOMELESSNESS?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says QUESTION'S ADDRESSED TO THE PREMIER.

Ford says MINISTER OF MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS.

The Speaker says REFERRED TO THE MINISTER OF MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS AND HOUSING.

The caption changes to "Honourable Steve Clark. PC. Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing."

Clark is in his fifties, clean-shaven and bald. He wears rounded glasses, a gray suit, blue shirt and red tie.

He says I THANK THE HONOURABLE MEMBER FOR PUTTING THE QUESTION ON THE FLOOR THIS MORNING. OBVIOUSLY IF THE MAT THE TER IS BEFORE THE LANDLORD TENANT BOARD, I'M NOT GOING TO SPEAK TO THE SPECIFICS OF THE CASE. BUT I HAVE LISTENED TO A LOT OF CONCERNS BY BOTH LANDLORDS AND TENANTS IN THE PROVINCE. THAT WAS PART OF OUR HOUSING SUPPLY ACTION PLAN. WE TOOK VERY SERIOUSLY THE 2,000 SUBMISSIONS WE RECEIVED ACROSS THE PROVINCE ON THE FIVE THEMES OF THE HOUSING SUPPLY ACTION PLAN, WHICH INCLUDED THE RENT PIECE. SPEAKER, WE HE ARE VERY CAREFULLY REVIEWING WHAT WE'VE HEARD FROM BOTH LANDLORDS AND TENANTS. I'VE BEEN IN CONSTANT CONTACT WITH THE ATTORNEY GENERAL ABOUT RESOURCES REQUIRED FOR THE LANDLORD TENANT BOARD. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE MORE TO SAY IN THE COMING YEAR AS WE MOVE FORWARD ON THE NEXT PHASE OF OUR HOUSING SUPPLY ACTION PLAN.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Clark says WE TAKE THE CONCERNS VERY SERIOUSLY. AGAIN IF THE MEMBER WANTS TO PASS ALONG THOSE INDIVIDUAL CONCERNS TO ME, THEY'RE ALWAYS WELCOME.

[APPLAUSE]

Watch: Question Period: Wednesday, December 11, 2019