Transcript: Question Period: Thursday, February 20, 2020 | Feb 21, 2020

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.

The Speaker says IT IS NOW TIME FOR ORAL QUESTIONS. I RECOGNIZE THE LEADER OF HER MAJESTY'S LOYAL 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 gray blazer over a pale pink blouse.

She says THANK YOU. THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. SPEAKER. TOMORROW... THIS IS TO THE PREMIER. TOMORROW PARENTS, TEACHERS AND STUDENTS FROM EVERY SINGLE CORNER OF OUR PROVINCE WILL BE STANDING UP FOR OUR CHILDREN'S FUTURE. THE PREMIER CONTINUES TO STICK HIS HEAD IN THE SAND AND PRETEND THAT PARENTS ARE ON HIS SIDE, WHILE EVERY DAY THEY TELL HIM TO REVERSE HIS CUTS TO EDUCATION. WHY IS HE IGNORING PARENTS, SPEAKER?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says QUESTION'S ADDRESSED TO 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 THROUGH YOU, MR. SPEAKER, I JUST WANT TO REMIND THE LEADER OF THE N.D.P. THAT WHAT SHE'S CALLING CUTS, WE'RE ACTUALLY INCREASING BY 1.2 BILLION DOLLARS.

[APPLAUSE]

Ford says THAT'S 1.2 BILLION DOLLARS. WE BELIEVE THAT PARENTS WANT US TO INCREASE INVESTMENT INTO THE SCHOOLS AND INTO OUR CHILDREN THAT GO THERE. WHAT THEY DO NOT... AND I'VE HEARD IT RIGHT ACROSS THIS PROVINCE... BELIEVE IN INCREASING COMPENSATION. THEY'D RATHER HAVE THAT MONEY, WHICH WE'RE DOING.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Ford says BACK INTO THE CLASSROOM, MR. SPEAKER. WE DON'T PUT IT IN SOME VAULT IN THE BACK OF QUEEN'S PARK. WE'RE PUTTING IT BACK INTO THE CHILDREN. WE'RE PUTTING IT BACK INTO THE CLASSROOMS. THESE STRIKES, MR. SPEAKER, ARE IMPACTING FAMILIES. AND WHEN YOU IMPACT A FAMILY... AND JUST IMAGINE HOW MANY PEOPLE.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Ford says CHILD CARE OR TAKE A DAY FROM WORK. THAT'S UNACCEPTABLE, MR. SPEAKER.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Horwath says SPEAKER, IT'S IRONIC THAT THE PREMIER CAN'T CITE ANY PARENTS WHO ARE IN FAVOUR OF HIS AGENDA OF CUTS, BECAUSE WE ARE SURE THAT HE'S HEARING FROM PARENTS WHO OPPOSE IT JUST AS WE ARE. SELBY PUBLIC SCHOOL IS IN THE RIDING OF HASTINGS-LENNOX AND ADDINGTON AND THEIR PARENT COUNCIL WROTE TO THE PREMIER AN OPEN LETTER STATING, AND I QUOTE... "EDUCATORS ARE SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PEOPLE IN OUR CHILDREN'S LIVES. MEMBERS OF OUR PARENT COUNCIL, AS WELL AS OUR COMMUNITY AT LARGE, STAND BEHIND OUR EDUCATORS."

[APPLAUSE]

Horwath says WE WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT THEM NOW AND INTO THE FUTURE. SO WHY DOES THE PREMIER THINK HE KNOWS BETTER THAN THOSE PARENTS, SPEAKER?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says PREMIER?

Ford says MR. SPEAKER, I NEVER KNOW MORE THAN THE PARENTS. THE ONLY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MYSELF AND THE LEADER OF THE N.D.P., I TRAVEL RIGHT ACROSS THE PROVINCE. THERE'S PROBABLY NO ONE IN THE CHAMBER THAT TRAVELS.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Ford says TO MORE AREAS THAN I DO. I SPEAK TO THE PARENTS. BUT GUESS WHAT, MR. SPEAKER? I SPEAK TO OUR GREAT TEACHERS. I SUPPORT OUR FRONT-LINE TEACHERS THAT WORK HARD DAY IN AND DAY OUT.

The Speaker says OPPOSITION, COME TO ORDER.

Ford says THEY'RE JUST AS FRUSTRATED. THEY WANT TO GET BACK IN THE CLASSROOM AND DOT JOB THAT THEY DO BEST. THAT'S TEACHING OUR KIDS.

[APPLAUSE]

Ford says WE WANT OUR KIDS BACK IN THE CLASSROOM, MR. SPEAKER.

The Speaker says THE FINAL SUPPLEMENTARY.

Horwath says WELL, SPEAKER, I INVITE THE PREMIER TO COME AND SPEAK TO 25 OR 30,000 OF THEM AROUND QUEEN'S PARK TOMORROW.

[APPLAUSE]

Horwath says I INVITE HIM TO DO THAT.

[APPLAUSE]

Horwath says YOU KNOW, THE PREMIER AND THE CONSERVATIVES SAY THAT THEIR PLAN TO FIRE THOUSANDS OF TEACHERS IS REASONABLE, BUT PARENTS ARE TELLING US THAT THE REASONABLE THING TO DO IS ABSOLUTELY THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT THIS PREMIER IS SUGGESTING. JUSTIN FROM OSHAWA TOLD US THAT HE SUPPORTS TEACHERS. WHY? BECAUSE, AND I QUOTE... "YOU CAN'T THREATEN TO BURN A HOUSE DOWN AND THEN THREATEN TO ONLY BURN THEIR GARAGE DOWN AND SAY YOU'RE BEING REASONABLE IN THE NEGOTIATION." THAT'S WHAT JUSTIN FROM OSHAWA HAS TO SAY. WHY DOES THE PREMIER THINK HE KNOWS BETTER THAN PARENTS LIKE JUSTIN?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says PREMIER.

Ford says THROUGH YOU, MR. SPEAKER, I FIND IT SO IRONIC LISTENING TO THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION THAT VOTED, THAT VOTED, MR. SPEAKER, TO CLOSE WITH THEIR LIBERAL BUDDIES 600 SCHOOLS. THEY DIDN'T BURN THEM DOWN. THEY JUST CLOSED THEM, KICKED THE KIDS OUT. THAT'S THE DIFFERENCE. WE'RE BUILDING NOW SCHOOLS RIGHT ACROSS THE PROVINCE.

[APPLAUSE]

Ford says THAT'S OUR PRIORITY. MR. SPEAKER, WE WILL CONTINUE TO INVEST MORE PRIORITIES THAT PARENTS WANT. PARENTS WANT US TO FOCUS ON MATH, ON STEM AND ON MENTAL HEALTH AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHERE THE MONEY IS GOING TO THE CLASSROOMS, TO THE STUDENTS. THAT'S WHAT THEY WANT. AGAIN, MR. SPEAKER, I TALKED TO NUMEROUS TEACHERS AND I CAN ASSURE YOU NOT ALL THE TEACHERS WANT TO BE OUT THERE. THEY WANT TO BE IN THE CLASSROOM TEACHING THE KIDS. AND THEY UNDERSTAND.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Ford says THE PARAMETERS BECAUSE WE WERE LEFT WITH A 15 BILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT, 346 MILLION DOLLAR DEBT. THEY APPRECIATE JUST GOING BACK IN THE CLASSROOM AND TEACHING THE KIDS.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THE NEXT QUESTION. LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION.

Horwath says NEXT QUESTION'S ALSO FOR THE PREMIER. I WOULD SUBMIT, THEN, THAT THE PREMIER NEEDS TO TAKE THE CUTS OFF THE TABLE SO THOSE TEACHERS CAN GET BACK IN A THE... INTO THE CLASSROOMS ACROSS OUR PROVINCE.

[APPLAUSE]

Horwath says LOOK, SPEAKER, PARENTS ARE VERY, VERY FRUSTRATED AND THEY'RE FEELING IGNORED BY THIS GOVERNMENT. HILLARY WROTE TO US AND TO TELL US ABOUT HER CHILD'S EXPERIENCE WITH E-LEARNING. AND IN HER WORDS, THAT EXPERIENCE HAS BEEN A DISASTER. SHE SAYS STUDENTS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES, OR DIFFICULTIES LIKE HER CHILD, NEED FACE TIME WITH THEIR TEACHERS AND THEY STILL STRUGGLE THROUGH THESE COURSES WITH THAT FACE TIME. EXCEPT NOW, THANKS TO THE CONSERVATIVE CUTS, STUDENTS LIKE HILLARY'S CHILD HAVE EVEN FEWER TEACHERS IN THEIR SCHOOLS AND WILL ONLY FALL FURTHER AND FURTHER BEHIND. PARENTS LIKE HILLARY NEED TEACHERS.

The Speaker says QUESTION.

Horwath says TO TEACH THEIR CHILD. WHY IS THE PREMIER FORCING THEIR CHILDREN INTO E-LEARNING PROGRAMS THAT JUST DON'T WORK FOR THEM?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER OF EDUCATION TO REPLY.

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 black tie.

He says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. MR. SPEAKER, THIS GOVERNMENT WANTS A DEAL THAT KEEPS KIDS IN CLASS. THAT IS OUR COMMITMENT.

[APPLAUSE]

Lecce says TO 2 MILLION YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE PROVINCE. SPEAKER, PARENTS ARE WORKING HARDER. THEY GIVE OF THEMSELVES FOR THEIR CHILDREN. THEY PAY SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF THEIR INCOME TO GOVERNMENT, AND THEY EXPECT A BETTER RETURN ON THAT INVESTMENT. WHEN 50 percent OF STUDENTS ARE NOT MEETING THE PROVINCIAL MATH STANDARD, HOW IS IT THAT THIS GOVERNMENT AND THIS LEGISLATURE'S NOT UNITED TO EXPECT BETTER FOR THE NEXT GENERATION OF OUR PROVINCE? SPEAKER, WE'RE BUILDING AND MODERNIZING OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM WITH A FOCUS ON ENSURING EVERY STUDENT IS TECHNOLOGICALLY FLUENT, IS FINANCIALLY LITERATE, IS EMOTIONALLY INTELLIGENT AND IS READY FOR THE JOBS OF TOMORROW. THAT'S OUR POSITIVE VISION AND STARTS, SPEAKER, WITH KEEPING KIDS IN CLASS.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Horwath says WELL, SPEAKER, EVERYONE KNOWS THIS MINISTER THINKS HE CAN TALK WELL BUT HE SURE DOESN'T LISTEN TO HIS OWN WORDS. HOW IS THE MATH STANDARD GOING TO INCREASE WHEN YOU HAVE FEWER TEACHERS IN THE CLASSROOM TEACHING OUR KIDS?

[APPLAUSE]

Horwath says THERE'S NO SENSE WHATSOEVER AND PARENTS KNOW IT, SPEAKER. AND THEY'RE CALLING THIS GOVERNMENT ON EXACTLY THAT. THE PREMIER IS PRETENDING THAT HIS CUTS ARE GOING TO HAVE NO IMPACT. I'D LIKE HIM TO HEAR FROM JESSICA, A MOM FROM PETROLIA IN THE RIDING OF SARNIA. JESSICA'S DAUGHTER HAS SPECIAL NEEDS AND NEEDS EXTRA ATTENTION IN THE CLASSROOM. SHE WRITES, AND I QUOTE... EVEN BEFORE THESE CUTS, OUR SCHOOL WAS SO UNDERSTAFFED. MEETING AFTER MEETING AFTER MEETING I ATTENDED BEGGING FOR THE HELP THAT SHE NEEDED. WE ARE BARELY HANGING ON. WHY IS THE PREMIER IGNORING THE PLEAS FROM PARENTS LIKE JESSICA?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER?

Lecce says MR. SPEAKER, LET ME ANSWER THE QUESTION OF HOW WE'RE GOING TO IMPROVE MATH STANDARDS IN THIS PROVINCE IS BY GOING BACK TO BASICS AND ELIMINATING THE DISCOVERY MATH APPROACH UNDER THE FORMER LIBERAL GOVERNMENT.

[APPLAUSE]

Lecce says WE HAVE A FOUR-YEAR MR. SPEAKER... THIS GOVERNMENT HAS A FOUR-YEAR MATH STRATEGY.

The Speaker says ORDER. OPPOSITION COME TO ORDER.

Lecce says FINANCIAL LITERACY FOR THE FIRST TIME CODIFIED IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS IN THIS PROVINCE.

[APPLAUSE]

Lecce says I AM PROUD, MR. SPEAKER, THAT WE HAVE A NEW CURRICULUM THAT WILL BE UNVAELD IN SEPTEMBER OF 2020. WE HAVE NUMERACY, NOW FOUNDATIONAL COMPETENCIES. WE ARE EXPECTING NEW EDUCATORS IN THE PROVINCE TO BE ABLE TO MEET A GRADE 9 MATH STANDARD, RAISING THE BAR OF OUR TEACHERS, RAISING THE BAR OF OUR STUDENTS. WE EXPECT OUR STUDENTS TO BE BETTER IN NUMERACY, IN FINANCIAL LITERACY.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Lecce says AND MATH. THAT'S WHY WE'RE MAKING INVESTMENTS IN STEM EDUCATION, MR. SPEAKER.

[APPLAUSE]

THE SPEAKER SAYS THE FINAL SUPPLEMENTARY.

Horwath says WELL, SPEAKER, THE OFFICIAL OPPOSITION NEW DEMOCRATS WOULD AGREE THAT THE CONSERVATIVES ARE DRAGGING US BACKWARDS WHEN IT COMES TO CHANGES...

[APPLAUSE]

Horwath says WE AGREE WITH THAT. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT? THE PREMIER CAN'T GET AWAY FROM STORIES LIKE THE ONES I'VE BEEN SHARING THIS MORNING. CONSERVATIVE CLASSROOM CUTS ARE MAKING LIFE WORSE FOR FAMILIES ALL ACROSS OUR PROVINCE. JESSICA IS BLUNT WHEN SHE WRITES ABOUT HER DAUGHTER AND I QUOTE... "I AM SICK TO MY STOMACH ABOUT WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF DOUG FORD WINS THIS FIGHT WITH TEACHERS. I'VE HAD NIGHTMARES ABOUT IT." PARENTS, TEACHERS AND STUDENTS ALL WANT A GOVERNMENT THAT WORKS WITH EDUCATORS TO IMPROVE OUR KIDS' EDUCATION. WHY IS THE PREMIER SO DETERMINED TO MOVE IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION OF WHERE EVERYONE ELSE WANTS THIS PROVINCE TO GO?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER.

Lecce says MR. SPEAKER, IF THE AIM OF THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IS TO IMPROVE EDUCATION, THEN I EXPECT HER TO BE THE FIRST...

The Speaker says ORDER.

Lecce says LEADER OF THE NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY TO SUGGEST THAT SHE STANDS WITH THE GOVERNMENT TO OPPOSE REGULATION 274 THAT PROVIDES ABSOLUTE...

[APPLAUSE]

Lecce says WHEN MERIT IS NOT EVEN A CONSIDERATION. WHEN MULT QUALIFICATION DOESN'T GUIDE THE HIRING OF... CERTAINLY WOULD ACCEPT WE COULD DO BETTER FOR TEACHERS IN THIS PROVINCE.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Lecce says SO WE COULD HIRE CANDIDATES OF MERIT OF QUALIFICATION AND OF DIVERSITY IN OUR SCHOOLS. YES, WE WANT TO BE ABLE TO KEEP THEM IN CLASS. WE WANT A DEAL THAT IS GOOD FOR OUR STUDENTS. A DEAL THAT SEES MORE INVESTMENT IN OUR SCHOOLS, NOT IN HIGHER COMPENSATION. THAT IS THE PRIORITY OF PARENTS AND WE'RE GOING TO STAND UP FOR THAT PRINCIPLE EVERY DAY.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says 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, gray shirt, and patterned blue tie.

He says THANK YOU VERY MUCH, SPEAKER. MY QUESTION IS TO THE PREMIER. SPEAKER, IF THE PREMIER THOUGHT THE INVISIBLE LICENCE PLATES WERE BAD, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO PEEL HIM OFF THE CEILING AFTER HE HEARS THIS ONE, SPEAKER. BECAUSE AS THE PREMIER KNOWS THE MINISTER OF LABOUR INVESTIGATES CASES WHERE EMPLOYERS FAIL TO PAY THEIR WORKERS. ONE OF THOSE CASES IS FROM OSHAWA IN THE 2018 ELECTION. THE MINISTRY FOUND THAT THE TREASURY BOARD PRESIDENT'S OWN P.C. CONSTITUENCY ASSOCIATION FAILED TO PAY AN EMPLOYEE PROPERLY. THE P.C.S ONLY PAID SOME OF THE WAGES AN EMPLOYEE THAT THE TREASURY BOARD HAD EMPLOYED DURING THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN. THEY WERE SO DELINQUENT, IN FACT, SPEAKER, THAT THE MINISTRY HAD TO CALL IN A COLLECTIONS AGENCY TO GET THIS WOMAN HER WAGES, WHICH AS OF YESTERDAY SHE HAD STILL NOT BEEN PAID. SPEAKER, CAN THE PREMIER TELL US WHY HIS PARTY OFFICIALS ARE NOT PAYING P.C. STAFFERS, AS IS THE LAW IN ONTARIO?

[APPLAUSE]

[HECKLING]

The Speaker says I'M ALLOWING THE QUESTION. MINISTRY OF LABOUR. GOVERNMENT HOUSE LEADER WILL RESPOND.

The caption changes to "Honourable Paul A. Calandra. PC. Government House Leader."

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

He says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. OF COURSE THIS PARTY WILL ENSURE THAT ALL MINISTRY OF LABOUR STANDARDS ARE MET, MR. SPEAKER. THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WE'VE CONTINUED TO FOCUS ON AFTER 15 YEARS OF NEGLECT THROUGH THE COALITION OF THE N.D.P. AND THE LIBERAL PARTY. BUT I THINK WHAT IS A SAD SPECTACLE TODAY, MR. SPEAKER, IS TO HAVE AFTER THE LEADOFF QUESTION SOMETHING LIKE THIS, MR. SPEAKER, WHEN THIS PROVINCE AND THIS COUNTRY IS FACED WITH ECONOMIC, ECONOMIC STRUGGLES, WHEN WE HAVE 2 MILLION...

The Speaker says ORDER.

Calandra says STUDENTS WHO ARE GOING TO BE OUT OF THE CLASSROOMS TOMORROW, MR. SPEAKER. THE N.D.P. CHOSE TO FOCUS.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Calandra says SLINGING MUD. I THINK IT IS A SAD SPECTACLE OF THE N.D.P. IT IS A SAD ILLUSION OF THE PARTY THAT THEY USED TO BE, MR. SPEAKER. THEY USED TO BE CALLED THE CONSCIENCE OF PARLIAMENT. ALL THEY DO RIGHT NOW, MR. SPEAKER, IS SLING MUD AND THAT IS WHY THEY HAVE NEVER BEEN GIVEN THE PRIVILEGE OF SITTING ON THIS SIDE OF THE HOUSE AFTER THE ONE TIME THAT THEY DID, AND THE PEOPLE WILL NEVER...

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says I APOLOGIZE TO THE GOVERNMENT HOUSE LEADER BUT I HAD TO INTERRUPT HIM. THE OFFICIAL OPPOSITION ASKED A SERIOUS QUESTION. I WOULD HAVE ASSUMED THAT THEY WOULD HAVE WANTED TO HEAR THE ANSWER. SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Natyshak says THANK YOU VERY MUCH, SPEAKER. THE MINISTER ESTABLISHES A PATTERN. NOT ONLY DO THEY NOT WANT TO PAY THEIR TEACHERS OF THE PROVINCE. THEY DON'T WANT TO PAY THEIR OWN STAFFERS IN THEIR OWN PARTY.

[APPLAUSE]

Natyshak says SPEAKER, I TAKE NO PLEASURE IN THIS AND I HATE TO BE THE BEARER OF BAD NEWS BUT THERE'S ACTUALLY MORE. TWO WEEKS AGO THE CTV NEWS REPORTED THE SAME MINISTER BROKE THE RULES WHEN HIS STAFF TRIED TO GET THE SAME CONSTITUENCY ASSOCIATION TO PAY FOR LIKES ON FACEBOOK. IT'S ALMOST AS IF FOLLOWING THE RULES IS DIFFICULT FOR THIS MINISTER. ON THE MINISTER'S CONSTITUENCY ASSOCIATION FINANCIAL STATEMENT, NO MENTION OF THIS WOMAN'S SALARY CAN BE FOUND. TODAY I'VE WRITTEN TO ELECTIONS ONTARIO TO ASK FOR A FULL INVESTIGATION INTO THE PICKERING UXBRIDGE P.C. ASSOCIATION'S FINANCIAL RETURNS AS TO WHY THERE APPEARS TO BE SUCH A GLARING ERROR IN THEM. SPEAKER, WHAT WILL IT TAKE FOR THIS MINISTER TO SIMPLY FOLLOW THE RULES? AND WILL HE LET ELECTIONS ONTARIO DO THEIR JOB AND INVESTIGATE WHY HIS FINANCIAL STATEMENTS ARE FILED INCOMPLETE?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says PRESIDENT OF THE TREASURY BOARD TO REPLY.

The caption changes to "Honourable Peter Bethlenfalvy. PC. President of the Treasury Board."

Bethlenfalvy is in his late fifties, clean-shaven, with receding gray hair. He wears a gray suit, white shirt, and blue tie.

He says MR. SPEAKER, THANK YOU. THROUGH YOU TO THE MEMBER OPPOSITE. I HAVE SEEN THIS CORRESPONDENCE THAT YOU'RE REFERRING TO AND I WILL MAKE SURE THAT THE C.F.O. OF THE RIDING ASSOCIATION COMPLIES FULLY WITH ANYTHING THAT THE ELECTORAL OFFICER MAY DO SO I THANK YOU FOR BRINGING IT TO OUR ATTENTION.

[APPLAUSE]

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

The caption changes to "Stan Cho. PC. Willowdale."

Cho is in his thirties, clean-shaven, with black hair gelled back. He wears a blue suit, white shirt, and purple plaid tie.

He says THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. SPEAKER. MY QUESTION THIS MORNING IS FOR THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORTATION. IT'S LONG BEEN KNOWN THAT POLITICAL GRIDLOCK BETWEEN LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT HAS PREVENTED BIG PROJECTS FROM GETTING BUILT. WE UNDERSTOOD THIS WHEN WE PROMISED ONTARIANS THAT WE WOULD INVEST IN KEY TRANSIT INFRASTRUCTURE. WE KNEW IT WAS POSSIBLE. LAST WEEK THE PROVINCE TOOK ANOTHER STEP WITH THE CITY OF TORONTO TO BUILD TOWARDS BUILDING OUR FOUR PRIORITY SUBWAY LINES. SPEAKER, COULD THE MINISTER TELL US ABOUT THE PROGRESS THAT'S BEEN MADE BETWEEN THE PROVINCE AND THE CITY OF TORONTO?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER OF TRANSPORTATION.

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

Mulroney is in her mid-forties, with long wavy brown hair. She wears a blue blazer over a black dress.

She says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. AND I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE MEMBER FOR WILLOWDALE FOR THE QUESTION. AND I'M HAPPY TO BRING EVERYONE IN THIS HOUSE UP TO SPEED ON THE PROGRESS THAT WE'VE MADE TO DATE WITH THE CITY OF TORONTO. OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH THE CITY OF TORONTO IS A KEY MILESTONE IN OUR PLAN TO BUILD PUBLIC TRANSIT IN THE G.T.A. IT IS TRULY HISTORIC, MR. SPEAKER. AFTER YEARS OF DISCUSSION WE FINALLY HAVE ONE SINGLE UNIFIED PLAN FOR SUBWAY EXPANSION IN TORONTO. OUR FOUR PRIORITY PROJECTS CONSTITUTE ONE OF THE LARGEST UNDERTAKINGS IN NORTH AMERICA. AND LAST WEEK, THE PROVINCE AND THE CITY SIGNED A PRELIMINARY AGREEMENT TO DELIVER OUR UNIFIED TRANSIT PLAN. TODAY I'M PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THAT THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO AND HYDRO ONE, TORONTO HYDRO AND ENBRIDGE SIGNED A MEMORANDA OF UNDERSTANDING.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Mulroney says TO IMPROVE COORDINATION OF OUR FOUR PRIORITY TRANSIT PROJECTS. MR. SPEAKER, PARTNERSHIP AND COLLABORATION IS THE ONLY WAY WE CONTINUE TO MOVE FORWARD FOR THE PROGRESS THAT WE HAVE ACHIEVED TO DATE.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Cho says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. THANK YOU TO THE MINISTER FOR THAT ANSWER. CREATING ONE SINGLE UNIFIED PLAN THAT ALL THREE LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT CAN AGREE ON IS NO EASY FEAT. BUT OUR GOVERNMENT HAS MANAGED TO ACCOMPLISH THIS. OUR SHARED GOAL OF ADDRESSING CONGESTION AND BUILDING BETTER TRANSIT INFRASTRUCTURE HAS BROUGHT US TO WHERE WE ARE TODAY. WE AGREE THAT BUILDING THE ONTARIO LINE, THE THREE-STOP SUBWAY EXPANSION, THE YONGE NORTH EXTENSION AND THE EGLINTON WEST EXTENSION WILL PROVIDE THE MOST RELIEF FOR THE MOST COMMUTERS. CAN THE MINISTER TELL US WHY OUR PARTNERSHIP AND COLLABORATION WITH THE CITY OF TORONTO IS SO IMPORTANT TO GETTING THESE PROJECTS BUILT?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER.

Mulroney says THANK YOU AGAIN TO THE MEMBER FOR THE QUESTION. I WOULD LIKE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE PREMIER AND MAYOR TORY FOR THEIR COMMITMENT TO MAKING THIS HAPPEN. MR. SPEAKER, TORONTO CITY COUNCIL DID NOT JUST ENDORSE OUR SUBWAY PLAN WITH AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY BUT THEY ALSO DIRECTED THE CITY MANAGER TO WORK WITH US TO, AND I QUOTE... IDENTIFY ALL OPPORTUNITIES TO ACCELERATE THE DELIVERY OF THE EXPANSION PROJECT, UNQUOTE.

[SPEAKING FRENCH]

Mulroney SPEAKS IN FRENCH AND A TRANSLATOR SAYS THERE'S URGENCY HERE, MR. SPEAKER. DRIVERS AND COMMUTERS ARE IN BOTTLENECKS AND THEY CANNOT WAIT ANY MORE FOR TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM THAT'S IMPROVED. WE HAVE INTENTION TO WORK IN COLLABORATION WITH THE CITY OF TORONTO, WITHIN THE BIGGEST EXPANSION OF SUBWAY IN THE HISTORY OF CANADA. I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO TAKE THIS OCCASION TO REMIND OUR FEDERAL PARTNERS THAT WE ARE STILL WAITING THEIR COMMITMENT TO FINANCE 40 percent OF OUR PLAN.

[END OF TRANSLATION]

In English, Mulroney continues
OPPORTUNITY TO REMIND OUR FEDERAL PARTNERS WE'RE STILL WAITING ON CONFIRMATION OF THEIR 40 percent COMMITMENT TO OUR PLAN.

[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 black three-piece suit and a white shirt.

She says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. AND MY QUESTION'S TO THE PREMIER. SPEAKER, ONTARIANS STILL WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE PLAN IS TO DEAL WITH THIS ABSURD LICENCE PLATE FIASCO. YESTERDAY THE MINISTER OF GOVERNMENT AND CONSUMER SERVICES DECIDED TO DODGE AND DIFFERENT THE MEDIA RATHER THAN ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT FAULTY LICENCE PLATES. WHILE THE CAMERAS WERE WAITING AND WHEN THE LIGHTS WERE BRIGHT THE MINISTER DISAPPEARED. NOT UNLIKE HER LICENCE PLATES. SPEAKER, THIS GOVERNMENT IS BOTCHING THEIR EXCITING NEW TORY LICENCE PLATE JUST LIKE THEY'RE BOTCHING EDUCATION. THE ONTARIO AUTISM PROGRAM AND EVERYTHING ELSE QUITE FRANKLY THAT THEY TOUCH. SAFETY SHOULD ALWAYS BE A PRIORITY EVEN IN THE FACE OF EXCITING NEW VANITY PLATES. ONTARIANS DESERVE TO KNOW HOW THIS HAPPENED, WHAT'S BEING DONE ABOUT IT AND WHEN IT WILL BE FIXED. MINISTER, WHAT IS THE PLAN?

[APPLAUSE]

Interjection: YEAH.

The Speaker says MINISTER OF GOVERNMENT AND CONSUMER SERVICES.

[APPLAUSE]

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 black blazer and blouse.

She says THANKS VERY MUCH, MR. SPEAKER. AND I JUST HAVE TO SAY, IN RESPONSE TO WHAT WE HEARD THROUGH THE OPPOSITION MEMBER OVER THERE, WE ARE FOCUSED ON GETTING THE JOB DONE, AND THAT'S OUR NUMBER ONE PRIORITY. AND I'M TELLING YOU THAT I CAN CONFIRM WITH YOU, SPEAKER, THAT PREMIER FORD HAS SPOKEN TO THE PRESIDENT OF 3M CANADA ON THREE SEPARATE OCCASIONS, AND WE ARE SEEKING AN IMMEDIATE SOLUTION TO THE ISSUES THAT HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED WITH THEIR PRODUCT. WE'RE EXTREMELY FRUSTRATED, SPEAKER, AND QUITE FRANKLY DISAPPOINTED WITH 3M THAT WE'RE ALL AT THIS POINT. BUT WE ARE WORKING. WE ARE WORKING TOGETHER TO REMEDY THE ISSUE. THE LICENCE PLATES WERE DESIGNED AND TESTED WITH KEY STAKEHOLDERS IN MIND, SPEAKER. WE ARE NOT HAPPY WITH THE RESULTS AND WE ARE CONTINUING TO WORK HAND IN HAND WITH 3M. SPEAKER, WE HAVE HEARD...

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Thompson says CONCERNS. WE ARE LISTENING, AND WE ARE MAKING SURE THAT WE GET THIS RIGHT. WE ARE TAKING CONCERNS VERY SERIOUSLY. WE'RE FRUSTRATED AND WE'RE DISAPPOINTED...

The Speaker says THANK YOU. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says Supplementary question.

French says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. AND AGAIN TO THE PREMIER. THIS FAULTY LICENCE PLATE MUCK-UP IS A GLOWING EXAMPLE OF THIS GOVERNMENT NOT TAKING ACCOUNTABILITY FOR ITS MISTAKES. THE ONLY THING THAT WE'VE HEARD FROM THE GOVERNMENT IS ABOUT THEIR PARTNERSHIP WITH 3M AND THEIR TECHNOLOGY WHICH ONLY A FEW DAYS AGO WAS BEING CELEBRATED BY THIS MINUTE... MINISTER. IT IS DIZZYING TO WATCH THIS GOVERNMENT FLIP THROUGH DAMAGE CONTROL STRATEGIES. WHAT IS THE ACTUAL PLAN GOING TO BE? PLAN "B" COULD HAVE BEEN TO USE THE REPORTEDLY 16,000 NEW WHITE LICENCE PLATES THAT WERE STILL IN STOCK. HOWEVER, THOSE PLATES GOT SENT BACK AND SCRAPPED AND THEY HAD BEEN BOUGHT AND PAID FOR BY TAXPAYERS, AND THIS GOVERNMENT DECIDED TO DESTROY THEM TO GET THEIR BLUE VANITY PLATES OUT FAST. SEEMINGLY FASTER THAN THEY COULD BE EXHAUSTIVELY TESTED. THIS IS A QUESTION THAT NEEDS AN ANSWER. THIS KIND OF ABSURD.

The Speaker says QUESTION.

French says DOES NOT REFLECT WELL ON THIS GOVERNMENT OR ON ITS LEADERSHIP. SO WHAT IS THE PLAN TO FIX THESE PLATES AND KEEP PEOPLE SAFE?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER TO REPLY.

Thompson says THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. SPEAKER. AND I'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH THE MEMBER OPPOSITE THAT WE ARE CONTINUING TO WORK WITH 3M CANADA. WE'RE GOING TO ABSOLUTELY CONTINUE TO LISTEN TO CONCERNS. WE'RE GOING TO BE CONTINUOUSLY WORKING DILIGENTLY TO REMEDY THIS SITUATION. WE'RE AS FRUSTRATED AND DISAPPOINTED AS ANYONE. BUT WE ARE GOING TO WORK TOGETHER ON A PATH FORWARD TO MAKE SURE THAT WE UPHOLD THE PLATES THAT HAVE BEEN DESIGNED AND TESTED WITH KEY STAKEHOLDERS IN MIND.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Thompson says BUT WE'RE ALSO GOING TO BE TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION THE CONCERNS THAT WE HAVE HEARD AND AGAIN WE'RE MOVING QUICKLY WITH 3M TO REMEDY THIS SITUATION. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says NEXT question. The member for Ottawa-South.

The caption changes to "John Fraser. Liberal. Ottawa South."

Fraser is in his late forties, clean-shaven, with wavy white hair. He wears glasses, a gray suit, white shirt, and striped blue tie.

He says THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. SPEAKER. MY QUESTION'S FOR THE PREMIER. IF I COULD TAKE A MOMENT I WANT TO WISH THE PREMIER A SPEEDY RECOVERY. BY MY COUNT, I THINK THIS IS THE FOURTH TIME YOU'VE HIT THE ROOF IN THE LAST YEAR. AND SPEAKER, IT'S LOOKING LIKE HE MIGHT GET REPETITIVE STRAIN. SO, SPEAKER, THE LICENCE PLATE FIASCO IS EPP BLEM MATIC OF THE PREMIER'S RECORD IN GOVERNMENT. MISPLACED PRIORITY, BAD DECISIONS, HASTILY IMPLEMENTED, BAD RESULTS. AUTISM, SAME THING. CLIMATE CHANGE, SAME THING. PUBLIC HEALTH, SAME THING. EDUCATION...

The Speaker says ORDER.

Fraser says HEAD UNDER THAT DIRECTION. SO MY QUESTION FOR THE PREMIER IS THE WILL HE LISTEN TO ONTARIO FAMILIES AND KEEP CLASS SIZES SMALL? THANK YOU, SPEAKER.

The Speaker says MINISTER OF EDUCATION TO REPLY ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT.

Lecce says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. MR. SPEAKER, IN THE LAST ELECTION, THE PEOPLE OF THIS PROVINCE IN THEIR WISDOM RENDERED A DECISION THAT THEY WILL NOT PROCEED WITH THE KATHLEEN WYNNE LIBERAL GOVERNMENT THAT HAD DOUBLED THE DEBT, INCREASED TAXATION, THE HIGHEST CHILD CARE SPACES IN THE NATION. WE SAW MORE SCHOOLS CLOSE UNDER ONE PARTY THAN ANY GOVERNMENT IN THE HISTORY OF ONTARIO SINCE CONFEDERATION, AND IN THEIR WISDOM THEY CHOSE A GOVERNMENT THAT'S FOCUSED ON INVESTING IN WHAT MATTERS MOST TO PEOPLE IN THIS PROVINCE. MORE MONEY IN HEALTH CARE, MORE MONEY IN EDUCATION, MORE MONEY INTO SOCIAL SERVICES.

[APPLAUSE]

Lecce says LIVES OF WORKING PEOPLE. SPEAKER, UNDER OUR PLAN, WE ENVISIONED A POSITIVE COMMITMENT TO EDUCATION THAT SEES STUDENTS SUCCEEDING, GETTING JOBS AND BEING MORE PRODUCTIVE IN THE ECONOMY. THAT IS OUR PLAN AND IT STARTS WITH KEEPING KIDS IN CLASS. THAT'S WHAT WE'RE FIGHTING FOR AT THE NEGOTIATING TABLE, SPEAKER.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Fraser says SPEAKER, THE LICENCE PLATE IS A 12-BY-6 PETE PIECE OF METAL. THEY CAN'T EVEN GET THE WORD "ONTARIO" BIG ENOUGH FOR CAMERAS TO READ IT. SO I GET A LITTLE CONCERNED WHEN THEY START MESSING WITH THINGS LIKE EDUCATION. THEY CAN'T GET A LICENCE PLATE RIGHT.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Fraser says THROUGH YOU TO THE PREMIER. MINISTER AGAIN. PARENTS WILL TELL YOU WE DON'T WANT LARGER CLASS SIZES. THEY'RE SAYING WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERY CHILD IN THE CLASSROOM GETS THE SUPPORT THAT THEY NEED SO THEY CAN ALL LEARN. THAT CHILD AND MY CHILD AS WELL, TOO. THANK YOU FOR THE N.D.P. FOR A HECKLE, TOO. I KNOW SHE'S SUPPORTIVE OF EDUCATION. THANK YOU VERY MUCH TO THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT. PARENTS DON'T WANT...

[INTERJECTIONS]

The Speaker says ORDER.

Fraser says YOUR CHILD...

The Speaker says STOP THE CLOCK. I APOLOGIZE TO THE MEMBER WHO HAS THE FLOOR.

[INTERJECTIONS]

The Speaker says ORDER. THE GOVERNMENT SIDE WILL COME TO ORDER. THE OFFICIAL OPPOSITION WILL COME TO ORDER. THE CLOCK WILL START. MEMBER FOR OTTAWA SOUTH.

Fraser says OFFICIAL OPPOSITION IS HECKLING A PARTY WHO'S GOT SIX MEMBERS. I HAVEN'T FIGURED THAT OUT YET AND NOT IN GOVERNMENT. THEY COULD EXPLAIN TO ME MAYBE AFTER QUESTION PERIOD.

[INTERJECTIONS]

The Speaker says ORDER.

Fraser says PARENTS... SORRY. I'M HAVING TOO MUCH FUN HERE.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Fraser says PARENTS DON'T WANT A
[UNCLEAR] PLAN FOR ONLINE LEARNING. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. MY QUESTION TO THE PREMIER IS THIS. WILL YOU LISTEN TO THE PARENTS AND JUST KEEP CLASSROOMS SAFE, STRONG PLACES FOR KIDS TO LEARN? THANK YOU.

The Speaker says PREMIER.

Ford says THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE QUESTION. I JUST WANT TO REMIND THE M.P.P. THE REASON HE HAS 6 PEOPLE IN THE HOUSE, BECAUSE HE DESTROYED THIS PROVINCE. YOU ABSOLUTELY DESTROYED IT.

[APPLAUSE]

Ford says YOU INCREASED TAXES, INCREASED TAXES MORE THAN ANY GOVERNMENT IN THE HISTORY OF ONTARIO. YOU RAN UP HYDRO BILLS MORE THAN ANY GOVERNMENT...

The Speaker says I ASK THE PREMIER... GOING TO ASK THE PREMIER... TO RECOGNIZE THEY'RE STANDING UP AND ASK HIM TO TAKE HIS SEAT. STOP THE CLOCK. AND I WILL ASK THE PREMIER TO ADDRESS HIS COMMENTS THROUGH THE CHAIR. START THE CLOCK. AND ASK THE PREMIER TO CONCLUDE.

Ford says THROUGH YOU, MR. SPEAKER, THEY PUT US IN DEBT AND PUT EVERY PERSON UP IN THIS CHAMBER AND EVERYONE IN ONTARIO MORE IN DEBT THAN ANY OTHER JURISDICTION IN THE WORLD. 346 BILLION DOLLARS OF DEBT, A 15 BILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT AND THEY SIT BACK AND WONDER WHY THEY HAVE SIX MEMBERS? THEY'RE LUCKY TO HAVE SIX MEMBERS.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says STOP THE CLOCK.

[APPLAUSE]

[INTERJECTIONS]

The Speaker says ORDER. THE GOVERNMENT SIDE WILL COME TO ORDER. RESTART THE CLOCK. THE NEXT question. The member for Sarnia-Lambton.

The caption changes to "Bob Bailey. PC. Sarnia-Lambton."

Bailey is in his late fifties, clean-shaven and balding. He wears glasses, a gray suit, pale blue shirt, and a dark blue tie.

[APPLAUSE]

He says MR. SPEAKER, MY QUESTION IS FOR THE MINISTER OF INFRASTRUCTURE. FOR YEARS, I HAD ASKED THE WYNNE LIBERAL GOVERNMENT TO LISTEN TO THE CONCERNS OF OUR LOCAL MUNICIPALITIES AND LEADERS TO PROVIDE FUNDING TO ADDRESS THE CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS TO MUNICIPALITIES IN SARNIA-LAMBTON. BUT INSTEAD, THE CONCERNS HAD FALLEN ON DEAF EARS. WITH INFRASTRUCTURE IN MY RIDING BEING LEFT CRUMBLING TO A STATE OF DISREPAIR, MR. SPEAKER. MINISTER, I KNOW WE HAVE COMMITTED TO INVESTING A HISTORIC 144 BILLION DOLLARS TO THINGS LIKE TRANSIT, ROADS AND HOSPITALS RIGHT ACROSS THIS GREAT PROVINCE OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS. AND I CAN SAY THAT THIS INVESTMENT WILL HAVE STRONG, POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF SARNIA-LAMBTON, IMPROVING OUR ABILITY TO ATTRACT INVESTMENT. CAN THE MINISTER PLEASE TELL THIS HOUSE WHAT INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS THE ONTARIO GOVERNMENT IS MAKING IN MY RIDING AND ACROSS THIS PROVINCE? THANK YOU.

The Speaker says MINISTER OF INFRASTRUCTURE.

The caption changes to "Honourable Laurie Scott. PC. Minister of Infrastructure."

Scott is in her mid-fifties, with blond hair in a bob. She wears a gray jacket, a black dress, and a pendant necklace.

She says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. I'D LIKE TO THANK THE MEMBER FROM SARNIA-LAMBTON FOR HIS IMPORTANT QUESTION. AND I AM VERY PROUD TO STAND IN THIS PLACE TODAY AND TELL THIS HOUSE THAT, UNDER PREMIER FORD'S LEADERSHIP AND WITH THIS GOVERNMENT, WE HAVE NOMINATED MORE THAN 350 PROJECTS TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UNDER THE INVESTING IN CANADA INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM FOR FINAL FUNDING APPROVAL. THIS INCLUDES 144 ROADS, BRIDGE, AIR AND MARINE INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS AND OVER 200 PUBLIC TRANSIT PROJECTS FOR A TOTAL PROVINCIAL INVESTMENT OF MORE THAN 480 MILLION DOLLARS THROUGH THE PUBLIC TRANSIT AND RURAL AND NORTHERN STREAMS OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE CANADA PROGRAM. MR. SPEAKER, UNLIKE THE PREVIOUS LIBERAL GOVERNMENT THAT WE JUST HEARD ABOUT, WE ARE LISTENING TO THE CONCERNS OF OUR MUNICIPAL PARTNERS AND ARE MAKING SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENTINGS IN INFRASTRUCTURE WHILE WORKING TO MAXIMIZE THE FEDERAL.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Scott says DOLLARS THAT ARE AVAILABLE. WE'RE BUILDING AND IMPROVING INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO ALL OF US IN ONTARIO.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Bailey says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER, AND THANK YOU, MINISTER, FOR THAT RESPONSE. IT'S REASSURING TO BE ABLE TO TELL MY MUNICIPALITIES OF SARNIA-LAMBTON THAT OUR GOVERNMENT HEARS THEIR CALLS FOR HELP LOUD AND CLEAR, AND WE ARE ACTIVELY DELIVERING ON LONG AWAITED INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS FROM SARNIA-LAMBTON. I'M THRILLED TO ANNOUNCE RECENTLY THAT OUR GOVERNMENT NOMINATED 13 PROJECTS FOR FINAL FEDERAL APPROVAL IN THE ICIP PROGRAM. TWO OF THESE PROJECTS WERE UNDER THE RURAL AND NORTHERN STREAM WORTH OVER 2 MILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF PROVINCIAL INVESTMENT. THE OTHER 11 PROJECTS WERE NOMINATED UNDER THE PUBLIC TRANSIT SCHEME OF ICIP FUNDING AGREEMENT. MR. SPEAKER, I KNOW THESE PROJECTS WILL ATTRACT INVESTMENT AND GET PEOPLE MOVING AGAIN. MINISTER, SARNIA-LAMBTON IS GETTING TIRED OF WAITING. WHEN WILL THE LONG-AWAITED FEDERAL APPROVAL FINALLY ARRIVE FOR THE CITY OF SARNIA AND LAMBTON COUNTY CAN FINALLY GET THEIR SHOVELS IN THE GROUND?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER.

Scott says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. I THANK THE MEMBER AGAIN FOR HIS QUESTION. I UNDERSTAND THE FRUSTRATION OF WAITING, THAT THE MEMBER HAS, AND HIS CONSTITUENTS HAVE AS TO WHY LESS THAN A THIRD OF THE MORE THAN 350 PROJECTS THAT HAVE BEEN NOMINATED THROUGH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FOR APPROVAL HAVE NOT BEEN COMPLETED. BUT, MR. SPEAKER, I REMAIN OPTIMISTIC THAT, WHEN THE FEDERAL MINISTER LOOKS AT THESE PROJECTS THAT WE HOPE SHE ALREADY HAS, THAT THE APPROVAL, MR. SPEAKER, HAS TO BE IN THE MAIL. SO I'M HOPING THE MAIL COMES SOON, MR. SPEAKER, AND THE MINUTE THAT I RECEIVE THE FORMAL WRITTEN APPROVAL, I WILL PERSONALLY ENSURE THAT THE MEMBER AND HIS CONSTITUENTS, FOR THE 7.7 MILLION DOLLARS THAT THEY HAVE BEEN AWARDED FROM THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT ANYWAY, THAT THEY CAN MOVE FORWARD AND THEY CAN PUT SHOVELS IN THE GROUND.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Scott says THEY CAN BUILD THOSE PROJECTS BECAUSE, MR. SPEAKER, AS YOU KNOW, INFRASTRUCTURE IS A MARQUEE PART OF OUR MANDATE ON THIS SIDE OF THE HOUSE AND WE UNDERSTAND HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO THE MUNICIPALITIES...

The Speaker says THANK YOU.

[APPLAUSE]

Scott says THE 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 a gray pinstripe suit, white shirt, and checkered burgundy tie.

He says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. MY QUESTION IS TO THE PREMIER. I RECENTLY HEARD FROM THE YORK REGION SCHOOL BOARD, WHO IS CONCERNED THAT MANDATORY E-LEARNING IS GOING TO BE PARTICULARLY HARD ON STUDENTS WHO ALREADY FACE SYSTEMIC AND INSTITUTIONAL BARRIERS TO LEARNING INCLUDING INDIGENOUS, BLACK AND RACIALLIZED YOUTH. MR. SPEAKER, STUDENTS ARE ALREADY SUFFERING THANKS TO CONSERVATIVE CUTS TO EDUCATION. NOW THIS RECKLESS PLAN TO FORCE EVEN MORE KIDS OUT OF THE CLASSROOM IS GOING TO MAKE THINGS EVEN WORSE. WHY DOES THIS GOVERNMENT CONTINUE TO BELIEVE THAT THEY KNOW BETTER THAN THE TEACHERS, THE STUDENTS, THE PARENTS WHO ARE ALL CALLING FOR THE SAME, THAT THIS GOVERNMENT STOP THIS RIDICULOUS PLAN?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION.

Lecce says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. OBVIOUSLY THROUGH THE NEGOTIATIONS, THE AIM OF THE GOVERNMENT, INCLUDING ON SUBJECT MATTER LIKE ONLINE LEARNING, IS TO GET A DEAL. RIGHT NOW WE'RE NEGOTIATING WITH TWO OF OUR PARTNERS. THE AIM IS TO GET PREDICTABILITY AND STABILITY IN THE SECTOR. OUR KIDS SHOULD BE IN SCHOOL. WHEN IT COMES TO THE VISION AND WHEN IT COMES TO THE MISSION OF OUR NEGOTIATING MANDATE, IT IS TO CONTINUE TO SEE MORE INVEST MANY UNDER THIS PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT IN PUBLIC EDUCATION THAN ANY GOVERNMENT IN THE HISTORY OF ONTARIO. WE EXPECT BETTER. WE EXPECT GREATER LEVELS OF ACCOUNTABILITY FOR THE TAX DOLLARS IN THE SYSTEM. RIGHT NOW, OVER 60 CENTS WE HAVE SEEN... RATHER OVER 80 CENTS ON THE DOLLAR SPENT ON COMPENSATION.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Lecce says TO SEE A STRONG RETURN. WE WANT TO SEE MORE THAN 50 percent OF GRADE SIX KIDS PASSING THEIR MATH STANDARDS. WHEN IT COMES TO ONLINE LEARNING.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Lecce says WE BELIEVE ONE OF THE CRITICAL SKILL SETS OUR YOUNG PEOPLE NEED.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Lecce says IN THE JOB MARKET IS GREATER INFLUENCE ON TECHNOLOGICAL FLUENCY. WE'RE PROVIDING ONLINE LEARNING FOR STUDENTS IN THIS PROVINCE.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Yarde says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. AGAIN TO THE PREMIER. IT'S NOT JUST STUDENTS AND PARENTS IN YORK AND PEEL REGION WHO DON'T WANT MANDATORY E-LEARNING. PARENTS RIGHT ACROSS THE PROVINCE ARE SAYING THAT THIS ISN'T JUST A BAD IDEA. IT'S DOWNRIGHT ABSURD. TWO THIRDS OF PARENTS THINK MANDATORY E-LEARNING WILL BE BAD FOREVER THEIR... FOR THEIR KIDS. WE KNOW THESE CUTS WILL HAVE A DISPROPORTIONATELY NEGATIVE EFFECT ON RACIALLIZED STUDENTS. PARENTS OF BLACK AND RACIALLIZED STUDENTS NEED TO BE CONFIDENT THAT THEIR CHILDREN WILL GET THE EDUCATION THAT THEY RIGHTFULLY DESERVE. IF THE MINISTER IS TRULY LISTENING TO PARENTS AND STUDENTS, WHO ARE CONCERNED ABOUT SYSTEMIC RACISM IN OUR SCHOOLS, HE WOULD NOT IMPOSE MANDATORY E-LEARNING COURSES. WILL THE MINISTER ADMIT THAT HIS MISGUIDED E-LEARNING PROGRAM IS A BAD IDEA AND STOP TRYING TO MAKE LIFE WORSE FOR ONTARIO FAMILIES?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says RESPONSE. MINISTER OF EDUCATION.

Lecce says THANK YOU, SPEAKER, AND THANK YOU TO THE MEMBER OPPOSITE FOR THE QUESTION. IF WE WANT TO CHAMPION THE INTERESTS OF EQUITY AND DIVERSESY IN THIS PROVINCE, THEN WE WILL STAND TOGETHER IN OPPOSITION TO A REGULATION THAT GIVES NO CONSIDERATION FOR EQUITY CONSIDERATIONS OF NEW TEACHERS IN THIS PROVINCE. WE SHOULD SPEAK WITH ONE VOICE.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Lecce says DEMANDING THAT IN THIS NEGOTIATION, REGULATION 274 SEES SOME REFORM. RIGHT NOW THE SYSTEM GIVES PREFERENCE TO UNION SENIORITY. AND IF WE SPEAK WITH A COMMITMENT TO ADVANCE EQUITY IN THE CLASSROOM, TO SEE EDUCATORS REFLECTING THE DIVERSE NEEDS OF THEIR COMMUNITIES, THEN WE WILL STAND TOGETHER, OPPOSE THIS REGULATION AND PUT STUDENTS FIRST IN THIS NEGOTIATION.

[APPLAUSE]

The caption changes to "Honourable Ted Arnott. Speaker."

The Speaker says THE NEXT question. The member for Scarborough-Guildwood.

The caption changes to "Mitzie Hunter. Liberal. Scarborough-Guildwood."

Hunter is in her forties, with long wavy black hair. She wears a purple dress and a pearl necklace.

She says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. MY QUESTION IS TO THE PREMIER. ON THE EVE OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY. SPEAKER, OUR PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT MADE STRIDES IN SUPPORTING WOMEN AND OTHERS WHO HAVE TRADITIONALLY BEEN DISADVANTAGED IN THE WORKPLACE. WE RAISED THE MINIMUM WAGE. WE ENHANCED EMPLOYMENT PROTECTION AND WE PASSED THE PAY TRANSPARENCY ACT TO PROMOTE WOMEN'S FULL AND EQUAL PARTICIPATION IN THE WORKFORCE. UNFORTUNATELY THIS GOVERNMENT HAS ROLLED BACK THESE IMPROVEMENTS TO THE LABOUR FORCE AND TO THE ADVANCEMENT OF GENDER EQUALITY IN ONTARIO. THE MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE WAS CANCELLED. PAID SICK DAYS HAVE BEEN SLASHED AND THE PAY TRANSPARENCY ACT, WHICH HAS RECEIVED ROYAL ASSENT, HAS BEEN SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY AND WITHOUT EXPLANATION. SPEAKER, CAN THE PREMIER EXPLAIN WHY HE DECIDED NOT TO ENACT THE PAY TRANSPARENCY ACT? AND WILL HE COMMIT TO SETTING THE DATE FOR THE ACT TO COME INTO FORCE BY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY ON MARCH 8TH THIS YEAR?

The Speaker says THE ASSOCIATE MINISTER OF CHILDREN AND WOMEN'S ISSUES.

The caption changes to "Honourable Jill Dunlop. PC. Associate Minister of Children and Women's Issues."

Dunlop is in her forties, with long straight blond hair. She wears a black dress.

She says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER.

[APPLAUSE]

Dunlop says THANK YOU TO THE MEMBER FOR YOUR QUESTION. OUR GOVERNMENT IS COMMITTED TO EMPOWERING ALL WOMEN AND GIRLS ACROSS ONTARIO.

[APPLAUSE]

Dunlop says WHILE WE LIVE IN A PROVINCE THAT VALUES INCLUSION AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, WE KNOW THAT WOMEN AND GIRLS IN ONTARIO STILL FACE MANY BARRIERS. WOMEN REMAIN UNDERREPRESENTED IN POLITICAL AND CORPORATE LEADERSHIP AND IN SOME KEY SECTORS OF OUR ECONOMY. WE ALSO KNOW THAT RACIALLIZED WOMEN, INDIGENOUS WOMEN, IMMIGRANT WOMEN AND WOMEN LIVING WITH DISABILITIES TEND TO EXPERIENCE EVEN GREATER BARRIERS ACROSS OUR PROVINCE. WE ALSO KNOW THAT WOMEN EXPERIENCE A DISPROPORTIONATE RISK OF VIOLENCE AS WELL, AND ONE IN THREE WOMEN WILL EXPERIENCE SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN THEIR LIFETIME AND INDIGENOUS WOMEN BEING ESPECIALLY AT RISK. WE ALSO KNOW THAT GENDER STEREOTYPES AND GENDER BIASES DEVELOP EARLY AND AFFECT THE CHOICES OF GIRLS AND WOMEN AND OFTEN FOLLOW THESE WOMEN INTO THE WORKPLACE.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Dunlop says ADDRESSING THESE KIND OF SYSTEMIC BARRIERS AND GENDER BIASES IS IMPER TIFF FOR ACHIEVING FULL GENDER EQUALITY IN ONTARIO.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Hunter says SPEAKER, I APPRECIATE THE MEMBER'S RESPONSE AND THE AWARENESS OF THE PROBLEM. MY QUESTION IS WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT IT? WOMEN STILL EARN 74 CENTS TO EVERY DOLLAR A MAN EARNS IN THIS PROVINCE. SPEAKER, SUSPENDING THIS LEGISLATION FITS IN WITH A LARGER PATTERN THAT WE HAVE SEEN WITH THIS GOVERNMENT. THEY HAVE CANCELLED PLANNED INCREASES TO RAISE RAPE CRISIS CENTRES, CUT FUNDING TO THE ONTARIO COLLEGE OF MIDWIVES AND SLASH BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF FUNDING FROM SOCIAL SERVICES AND CHILDREN'S SERVICES. IN FACT THE WORD "BEER" WAS MENTIONED THREE TIMES MORE IN THE LAST BUDGET THAN THE WORD "WOMEN." 50 percent OF ONTARIO'S POPULATION. SPEAKER, CAN THE PREMIER NAME A SINGLE ACTION THAT HIS GOVERNMENT HAS TAKEN TO PROMOTE GENDER EQUALITY IN OUR PROVINCE? AND WILL HE AND THE MINISTER OF FINANCE COMMIT TO PUTTING THE BUDGET THROUGH A GENDER-BASED LENS?

The Speaker says MINISTER TO REPLY. SORRY, MINISTER OF LABOUR.

The caption changes to "Honourable Monte McNaughton. PC. Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development."

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

He says WELL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. SPEAKER. LET ME REMIND THE MEMBER OPPOSITE. SHE WAS PART OF A GOVERNMENT THAT WAS IN POWER FOR 15 YEARS, MR. SPEAKER. AND ON THE EVE OF THE LAST ELECTION IN 2018, THEY DECIDED TO RAISE THIS ISSUE, MR. SPEAKER. BUT FOR 15 YEARS, DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS PARTY DID, MR. SPEAKER? 300,000 MANUFACTURING JOBS WERE LOST IN THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO.

[INTERJECTIONS]

The Speaker says ORDER.

McNaughton says MR. SPEAKER, FROM SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO.

The Speaker says ORDER.

McNaughton says WHERE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF JOBS WERE LOST. MR. SPEAKER, MANY WOMEN'S JOBS WERE IMPACTED. MR. SPEAKER, OUR PLAN FOR EVERYONE IN ONTARIO IS WORKING. 300,000 JOBS HAVE BEEN CREATED IN 18 MONTHS.

[APPLAUSE]

McNaughton says MR. SPEAKER, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OVER TEN YEARS.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

McNaughton says WAGES ARE GOING UP IN THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO FOR WOMEN AND MEN. AND, MR. SPEAKER, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 30 YEARS, WE HAVE THE LOWEST UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THANK YOU. 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 striped blue tie.

He says THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. SPEAKER. MY QUESTION IS TO THE ASSOCIATE MINISTER OF TRANSPORTATION. THROUGH YOU, SPEAKER. TRANSIT IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST CONCERNS OF MY CONSTITUENTS IN THE RIDING OF OAKVILLE. PEOPLE HAVE BEEN CLEAR TO ME THAT THEY WANT ADEQUATE ACCESS TO PUBLIC TRANSIT SO THAT THEY CAN GET HOME AND TO WORK QUICKLY AND SPEND LESS TIME IN TRAFFIC IDLING IN THEIR CARS WHILE THEY COULD BE SPENDING MORE TIME WITH THEIR FAMILIES. I'M HAPPY TO HEAR THAT OUR GOVERNMENT IS MAKING A COMMITMENT TO BUILD TRANSIT-FOCUSED COMMUNITIES WHICH WOULD ADD MORE HOMES AND MORE JOBS AROUND TRANSIT STATIONS. CAN THE MINISTER PLEASE TELL THE HOUSE WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO BUILD TRANSIT ORIENTED COMMUNITIES IN THE G.T.A?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says ASSOCIATE MINISTER OF TRANSPORTATION.

The caption changes to "Honourable Kinga Surma. PC. Associate Minister of Transportation."

Surma is in her thirties, with long straight blond hair. She wears a gray blazer over a black blouse.

She says THANK YOU VERY MUCH TO THE MEMBER FOR THE QUESTION. THROUGH YOU, MR. SPEAKER. THE GREATEST OPPORTUNITIES BEFORE THE PEOPLE IN THE G.T.A. IS BUILDING FAST, RELIABLE PUBLIC TRANSIT AND MORE HOUSING. TRANSIT ORIENTED COMMUNITIES IS ABOUT PROVIDING HOUSING WHERE PEOPLE WANT IT THE MOST, NEAR PUBLIC TRANSIT. ON TUESDAY WE TOOK A BIG STEP FORWARD. THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORTATION TABLED NEW LEGISLATION TO BUILD SUBWAY INFRASTRUCTURE FASTER. AS WE MAKE PREPARATIONS TO GET SHOVELS IN THE GROUND AND BUILD SUBWAYS, IT'S EQUALLY AS IMPORTANT THAT WE SEIZE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO BUILD STATIONS THE RIGHT WAY. ON JANUARY 30TH, TORONTO CITY COUNCIL ENDORSED OUR MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING FOR TRANSIT ORIENTED COMMUNITIES. TOGETHER, IN COLLABORATION WITH THE MINISTER, MINISTRY OF MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS AND HOUSING, WE WILL BE PROVIDING MORE TRANSIT AND MORE HOMES.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Crawford says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. THANK YOU TO THE MINISTER. I'M GLAD THE MINISTER AND THE GOVERNMENT IS COMMITTED TO DELIVERING TRANSIT ORIENTED COMMUNITIES AND GETTING THEM BUILT THE RIGHT WAY. BUILDING NEW TRANSIT STATIONS WITH APPROPRIATE DENSITY AND AMENITIES FOR THOSE WHO ALREADY LIVE IN A COMMUNITY ISN'T JUST GOOD POLICY. IT'S COMMON SENSE, ESPECIALLY FOR LARGE MUNICIPALITIES LIKE TORONTO. IT'S GOOD TO SEE SOME LEADERSHIP ON THIS FILE, WHICH WILL DELIVER MORE TRANSIT AND MORE HOUSING.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Crawford says ALL OF US IN THE HOUSE WE AGREE WE NEED MORE OF. THERE ARE MANY REASONS AS TO WHY THIS APPROACH SHOULD BE TAKEN. CAN THE MINISTER PLEASE INFORM THE HOUSE OF THE GREAT BENEFITS THAT COME WHEN BUILDING TRANSIT ORIENTED COMMUNITIES AROUND TRANSIT STATIONS?

The Speaker says MINISTER.

Surma says THROUGH YOU, MR. SPEAKER. TRADITIONALLY IN THE G.T.A., STATIONS HAVE BEEN BUILT IN ISOLATION, A LOST OPPORTUNITY. THROUGH OUR TRANSIT ORIENTED COMMUNITIES PROGRAM, WE WILL NOT ONLY BE BRINGING FAST RELIABLE TRANSIT TO NEW COMMUNITIES BUT WE WILL ALSO BE BUILDING COMMUNITIES AROUND FUTURE SUBWAY STATIONS THE RIGHT WAY. ONE THOUGHTFUL INTEGRATED APPROACH. TRANSIT ORIENTED COMMUNITIES WILL INCREASE RIDERSHIP, REDUCE CONGESTION, CREATE JOBS, A MIX OF HOUSING AND BUILD COMPLETE COMMUNITIES BASED ON GOOD PLANNING PRINCIPLES. BY LIVING NEAR TRANSIT, MR. SPEAKER, YOU'RE NOT FORCED TO BUY A CAR OR PAY HIGH AUTO INSURANCE RATES. MACHINE WE ARE CONNECTING PEOPLE TO PLACES AND MAKING LIFE EASIER AND MORE AFFORDABLE FOR THE TAXPAYER.

[APPLAUSE]

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

THE CAPTION CHANGES TO "JENNIFER (JENNIE) STEVENS. NDP. SAINT CATHARINES."

STEVENS IS IN HER LATE FIFTIES, WITH BLOND HAIR IN A SHORT BOB AND BANGS. SHE WEARS A pale pink blazer and a white blouse.

She says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. MY QUESTION IS TO THE PREMIER. TODAY WE ARE JOINED BY KENNETH WHO CAME ALL THE WAY FROM SAINT CATHARINES. KENNETH IS A 72-YEAR-OLD SENIOR, WHO LIVES BY HIMSELF IN A ONE-BEDROOM APARTMENT IN DOWNTOWN SAINT CATHARINES. HE HAS LIVED IN THE APARTMENT FOR OVER A DECADE, BUT KENNETH'S LANDLORD IS TRYING TO EVICT HIM TO UNDERGO RENO VIC SHUNL. THIS IS THE SECOND TIME KENNETH HAS... RENOVICTION. KENNETH IS FACED WITH HAVING TO DEFEND HIS HOME AFTER THE SAME COMPANY DROPPED THE FIRST CLAIM. THROUGHOUT ALL OF THIS, KENNETH HAS BEEN DEALING WITH TERMINAL CANCER. HE JUST WANTS TO SPEND THE TIME HE HAS LEFT IN HIS OWN HOME. PREMIER, WHY DOES THIS GOVERNMENT THINK CREATING ANXIETY AND DOING NOTHING TO PROTECT VULNERABLE SENIORS LIKE KENNETH FROM LOSING THEIR HOMES TO RENOVICTIONS IS OK?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MEMBERS PLEASE TAKE THEIR SEATS. THE 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 glasses, a gray suit, white shirt, and gray tie.

He says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. AND I WANT TO THANK THE MEMBER OPPOSITE FOR RAISING THE CONCERNS OF CONSTITUENTS. WE'VE HEARD CONCERNS OF THEIR OTHER CONSTITUENTS, YOU KNOW, ANGELA AND ROLAND AND LEONARD AND OTHERS THAT THEY'VE BROUGHT UP IN THE HOUSE. WE KNOW, WE KNOW THAT A HOUSE IS MORE THAN A HOUSE. A HOUSE IS A HOME. WE KNOW THAT THAT'S IMPORTANT TO PEOPLE. THERE IS A PROCESS IN PLACE. THERE ARE RULES IN PLACE. THERE ARE RULES TO BE FOLLOWED AND DECISIONS TO BE MADE. SO WITHOUT KNOWING THE VERY SPECIFICS OF THAT SITUATION, MR. SPEAKER, I CAN TELL YOU THIS, THAT WHEN SOMEBODY IS RENOVATING, THERE ARE RULES AROUND WHEN SOMEBODY CAN BE, CAN BE...

The Speaker says ORDER.

Downey says LET THE PROPERTY BE UPGRADED, MR. SPEAKER, AND THERE ARE ROBUST RULES AND THEY'VE BEEN IN PLACE FOR SOME TIME, MR. SPEAKER. SO I'M HAPPY TO CHAT WITH THE MEMBER ABOUT THE SPECIFIC CONCERN AND SEE IF THERE'S ANYTHING WE CAN DO. OF COURSE IF IT'S AN ACTIVE FILE WE CAN'T INTERVENE IN THAT. THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Stevens says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. I'M GLAD THE MINISTER
[UNCLEAR] ME. BUT I'D LIKE HIM TO GIVE ANSWERS TO KENNETH. BACK TO THE PREMIER, MR. SPEAKER. KENNETH WILL NOT BE ABLE TO AFFORD ANOTHER 500-SQUARE-FOOT BACHELOR APARTMENT IN HIS CURRENT BUILDING. SINCE NEW LISTINGS ARE DOUBLED THE PRICE HE IS PAYING NOW. SINCE TAKING OFFICE, THIS GOVERNMENT HAS SIDED WITH DEVELOPERS TIME AND TIME AGAIN. THEY HAVE DONE NOTHING, NOTHING TO MAKE LIFE BETTER FOR TENANTS LIKE KENNETH. THIS GOVERNMENT HAS SCRAPPED RENT CONTROL ON NEW UNITS. THEY HAVE SAT BY, ALLOWED RENTS TO SKYROCKET, AND THEY HAVE CREATED AN ENVIRONMENT THAT ENCOURAGES LANDLORDS TO PURSUE AGGRESSIVE AND ILLEGAL RENOVATIONS, LIKE THE ONE THAT HAS HAPPENED TO KENNETH AND THOUSANDS OF OTHER PEOPLE ACROSS THIS PROVINCE. PREMIER, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO TO HELP PEOPLE LIKE KENNETH AND THE PEOPLE.

The Speaker says QUESTION.

Stevens says ALL ACROSS THIS PROVINCE WHO ARE SUFFERING FROM ILLEGAL RENOVICTIONS, BULLYING AND SCARE TACTICS?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MEMBERS, PLEASE TAKE THEIR SEATS. THE ATTORNEY GENERAL.

Downey says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. IN PART OF THIS DYNAMIC IN ONTARIO IS THAT WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH RENTAL HOUSING. THIS IS PART OF THE CHALLENGE, AND WE'RE MOVING TO FIX THAT.

[INTERJECTIONS]

The Speaker says OPPOSITION, COME TO ORDER.

Downey says MORE SPACES FOR PEOPLE TO RENT. WE NEED TO HAVE PLACES PEOPLE RENT BE UP TO STANDARD, MR. SPEAKER. IT'S CRITICAL THAT WE HAVE PROPERTIES UP TO STANDARD. AND SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO HAVE A PROPERTY RENOVATED TO BRING IT UP TO STANDARD, MR. SPEAKER. AND, AGAIN, I DON'T KNOW THE SPECIFICS OF THIS SITUATION.

The Speaker says OFFICIAL OPPOSITION, COME TO ORDER.

Downey says ONTARIO, WE ARE HEARING FROM BUILDERS THAT THEY WANT TO BUILD RENTAL HOUSING STOCK, MR. SPEAKER, BUT THERE'S SO MANY THINGS IN THE WAY. THAT'S WHY THE HOUSING SUPPLY ACTION PLAN IS SO CRITICAL. 17,000 NEW UNITS, MR. SPEAKER. IT IS INCREDIBLE WHAT THE MINISTER OF MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS AND OUR TEAM HAS DONE, MR. SPEAKER...

The Speaker says ORDER.

Downey says SO I LOOK FORWARD TO CREATING MORE OPPORTUNITY FOR MORE PEOPLE TO RENT ACROSS ONTARIO.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE NEXT question. The member for HASTINGS-LENNOX AND ADDINGTON.

THE CAPTION CHANGES TO "DARYL KRAMP. PC. HASTINGS-LENNOX AND ADDINGTON."

Kramp is in his sixties, clean-shaven, with short side-parted white hair. He wears glasses, a gray suit, white shirt and striped blue tie.

Kramp says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. MY QUESTION TODAY IS FOR THE SOLICITOR GENERAL. THIS SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22ND, IS HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS DAY IN ONTARIO. THIS OFFERS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL OF US IN THIS HOUSE, ALL SIDES TO LEARN MORE AND RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT HUMAN TRAFFICKING. LET'S BE CLEAR, HUMAN TRAFFICKING IS A CRIME AHEINOUS CRIME THAT PREDOMINANTLY AFFECTS YOUNG WOMEN AND GIRLS FROM COMMUNITIES ACROSS THIS PROVINCE AND AROUND THE WORLD ACTUALLY. INDEED ABOUT TWO THIRDS OF ALL REPORTED CASES OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN CANADA, THOUGH, ARE RIGHT HERE IN ONTARIO. MR. SPEAKER, WE ALL HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY IN COMBATING THIS ISSUE AND IT'S A CAUSE THAT I WAS PROUD TO CHAMPION WHILE SERVING AS MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT IN OTTAWA AND HERE IN THE LEGISLATURE WITH ALL OF MY COLLEAGUES WHO ARE SO ENGAGED WITH THIS ISSUE. ACCOUNT SOLICITOR GENERAL SHARE HOW OUR GOVERNMENT IS WORKING WITH COMMUNITY LEADERS AND PARTNERS TO BRING AWARENESS TO THIS DISGUSTING CRIME?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SOLICITOR GENERAL.

The caption changes to "Honourable Sylvia Jones. PC. Solicitor General."

Jones is in her sixties, with straight blond hair in a short bob. She wears glasses, a white blazer and a black dress.

She says THANK YOU AND THANK YOU TO THE MEMBER FOR HASTINGS-LENNOX AND ADDINGTON. I KNOW THAT YOU UNDERSTAND AND APPRECIATE HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS, BUT IT IS ALSO CRITICAL THAT WE SHARE THAT INFORMATION WITH ALL CITIZENS IN ONTARIO. EARLIER TODAY, MY FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE, THE MINISTER... THE ASSOCIATE MINISTER OF CHILDREN YOUTH AND WOMEN'S SERVICES AND I ATTENDED A POP-UP, AND IT WAS HOSTED BY COVENANT HOUSE. AND COVENANT HOUSE IS RAISING AWARENESS ABOUT HUMAN TRAFFICKING. THIS IS NOT JUST GOING TO BE LED AND SOLVED THROUGH GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION. THIS IS GOING TO TAKE MULTIPLE PARTNERS, AND WHEN ORGANIZATIONS LIKE COVENANT HOUSE TODAY ARE STEPPING UP AND RAISING AWARENESS ABOUT HUMAN TRAFFICKING, IT HELPS ALL OF US, BECAUSE PEOPLE NEED TO UNDERSTAND HOW CRITICALLY VILE THIS CRIME IS. WHEN THE AVERAGE AGE IS 13 YEARS OLD. THAT'S HOW OLD PEOPLE ARE WHEN THEY START TO ENGAGE IN AND BRING OUR YOUNG PEOPLE INTO HUMAN TRAFFICKING. SO SHOUT OUT AND CONGRATULATIONS TO COVENANT HOUSE. THERE ARE MANY OTHER PARTNERS. OUR PREMIER AND OUR GOVERNMENT HAS MADE A COMMITMENT TO TACKLE THIS HEINOUS CRIME HEAD ON, AND I AM VERY MUCH LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH ALL OF OUR COLLEAGUES, HOPEFULLY ON BOTH SIDES OF THE HOUSE, TO BRING AWARENESS TO IT AND ULTIMATELY SHUT DOWN THIS CRIME.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Kramp says WELL, I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE MINISTER FOR HER ATTENTION TO THIS FILE. AND I'M SURE THAT ALL MEMBERS IN THIS HOUSE WILL AGREE THAT RAISING PUBLIC AWARENESS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF PROTECTING VULNERABLE WOMEN AND GIRLS FROM EXPLOITATION. HOWEVER AWARENESS ISN'T JUST ENOUGH. ACTION IS NECESSARY. THAT COMES WITH A NEED TO TACKLE THE ROOTS OF THE PROBLEM. INTERVENING EARLY, SUPPORTING SURVIVORS AND HOLDING OFFENDERS ACCOUNTABLE. MR. SPEAKER, THAT'S NO EASY UNDERTAKING. IT REQUIRES VERY STRONG LEADERSHIP. THAT'S WHY I WAS PLEASED THAT THE SOLICITOR GENERAL AND THE ASSOCIATE MINISTER FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN WERE NAMED CO-LEADS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF A PROVINCIAL PLAN TO FINALLY HELP COMBAT HUMAN TRAFFICKING. ACCOUNT SOLICITOR GENERAL UPDATE THIS HOUSE ON HER PROGRESS TO DATE?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SOLICITOR GENERAL.

Jones says THANK YOU. YOU KNOW, OUR FIRST PRIORITY, WE COMMITTED 20 MILLION DOLLARS EACH AND EVERY YEAR TO SERVICES TO SUPPORT VICTIMS AND HOLD DEFENDERS ACCOUNTABLE... HOLD OFFENDERS ACCOUNTABLE. THIS FUND SOMETHING A SUITE OF INVESTMENTS THAT WE ARE MAKING TO COMBAT HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION, PREVENT AND END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, SUPPORT VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE AND EXPLOITATION AND END GUN AND GANG ACTIVITY. ALONG WITH PREMIER FORD, ATTORNEY GENERAL DOUG DOWNEY AND MINISTER DUNLOP, WE RECENTLY CONVENED A ROUNDTABLE WITH KEY SECTORIAL PARTNERS INCLUDING LAW ENFORCEMENT AND VICTIM SERVICES TO SHARE IDEAS, BEST PRACTICES AND HOW WE CAN DEVELOP THIS PLAN. I LOOK FORWARD TO SHARING MORE OF THOSE IN THE WEEKS AND MONTHS AHEAD. THANK YOU.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE NEXT question. The member for Thunder Bay-Atikokan.

The caption changes to "Judith Monteith-Farrell. NDP. Thunder Bay-Atikokan."

Monteith-Farrell is in her fifties, with short brown hair with blond highlights. She wears glasses, a gray blazer and a blue blouse.

She says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. MY QUESTION IS FOR THE PREMIER. STUDENTS AND PARENTS IN MY RIDING ARE VERY CONCERNED ABOUT THIS GOVERNMENT'S CUTS TO EDUCATION. PIA ERICLA, ONE OF THE MANY PARENTS THAT HAVE CONTACTED MY OFFICE, SHE WROTE TO ME AND SAID... THE ONTARIO EDUCATION SYSTEM CANNOT CONTINUE TO BE CUT AND CUT AND CUT AS THE YEARS GO ON. WE ARE NOT GOING TO DEVELOP A FUTURE SOCIETY AND WORKFORCE IF NOT ENSURE THAT QUALITY EDUCATION IS FOREFRONT IN THE PROVINCE'S DECISIONS AND ACTIONS. WHEN WILL THE PREMIER STOP THE CUTS, INVEST IN EDUCATION AND INVEST IN OUR CHILDREN'S FUTURES?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says QUESTION TO BE RESPONDED TO BY THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION.

Lecce says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. THANK YOU TO THE MEMBER OPPOSITE FOR THE QUESTION. MILLIMETRE HOW WE ACHIEVE AN IMPROVED EDUCATION SYSTEM WITH BETTER OUTCOMES FOR THE INVESTMENTS, THE TAXPAYERS OF THIS PROVINCE ARE MAKE SOMETHING BY ENSURING IT IS MODERN, BY ENSURING WE ARE TRANSFORMING AND ALIGNING IT WITH THE LABOUR MARKET NEEDS OF OUR ECONOMY. SPEAKER, HOW WE DO THAT IS ENSURING THAT WHEN WE SELECT EDUCATORS IN THIS PROVINCE, WE CHOOSE THE BEST TEACHER FOR THE JOB. WE ENSURE THAT...

[INTERJECTION]

The Speaker says ORDER.

Lecce says QUALIFICATIONS TRIUMPH OVER UNION SENIORITY. HOW WE MAINTAIN GOOD EDUCATION IS BY PROTECTING FULL-DAY KINDERGARTEN. AS THE PREMIER JUST SAID IN SCHOOLS, IN CURRICULUM, IN OUR KIDS NOT IN HIKING COMPENSATION TO THE SECOND-HIGHEST PAID EDUCATOR IN THE NATION.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Lecce says SPEAKER, HOW WE IMPROVE EDUCATION IS ENSURING ACCOUNTABILITY FOR THE STUDENTS DELIVERING MORE INVESTMENT FOR OUR SCHOOLS AND OUR KIDS AND THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO. FIRST AND FOREMOST, SPEAKER, REQUIRES A GOOD DEAL WORTH FIGHTING FOR TO KEEP KIDS IN CLASS.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Monteith-Farrell says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. BACK TO THE PREMIER. PIA, LIKE MANY PARENTS ACROSS THE NORTH, DON'T WANT TO HEAR MORE TALKING POINTS FROM THIS GOVERNMENT. WHAT THEY WANT IS A GOVERNMENT TO GET BACK TO THE BARGAINING TABLE, STOP THE CUTS AND START INVESTING IN OUR CHILDREN'S FUTURE. PIA WENT ON TO SAY... THE RECENT ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT CLASS SIZES AND ONLINE LEARNING COURSE REQUIREMENTS FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS IS THE WORST POSSIBLE THING TO HAPPEN FOR STUDENTS. MANY TEENS DO NOT HAVE THE NECESSARY SKILLS OR DISCIPLINE REQUIRED TO BE SUCCESSFUL ON ONLINE COURSES. THEY REQUIRE FACE-TO-FACE ENCOURAGEMENT AND CONNECTIONS TO SUCCEED IN LEARNING, AND I COULDN'T AGREE WITH PIA MORE. WILL THE PREMIER COMMIT TO HELPING STUDENTS SUCCEED AND REVERSE THIS GOVERNMENT'S CUTS?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER.

Lecce says WE'RE GOING TO ENSURE OUR STUDENTS SUCCEED, SPEAKER, BY CONTINUING TO INVEST MORE THAN EVER BEFORE IN PUBLIC EDUCATION. WE'RE GOING TO DO THAT BY ANNOUNCING A FOUR-YEAR MATH STRATEGY TO LIFT MATH SCORES AFTER A DECADE OF STAGNATION BY THE FORMER LIBERAL GOVERNMENT. WE'RE GOING TO BUILD NEW SCHOOLS, MR. SPEAKER, AFTER THE LARGEST.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Lecce says SCHOOL CLOSURE POLICY IN THE HISTORY OF ONTARIO. MR. SPEAKER, WE'RE GOING TO DEMAND BETTER FOR THE TAXPAYER, FOR THE PARENTS AND STUDENTS OF THIS PROVINCE. WE'RE GOING TO FIGHT HARD FOR MERIT TO BE THE GUIDING...

The Speaker says MEMBER FOR DAVENPORT NEEDS TO COME TO ORDER.

Lecce says ENSURE OUR KIDS DO BETTER, THAT THEY HAVE ACCESS TO HIGH-WAGE GOOD-PAYING JOBS. THAT'S OUR VISION, THAT'S OUR MISSION AND THE GOAL IS TO KEEP KIDS IN CLASS.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE NEXT question. The member for Sarnia-Lambton.

The caption changes to "Bob Bailey. PC. Sarnia-Lambton."

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

He says THANK YOU, SPEAKER.

[APPLAUSE]

Bailey says MY QUESTION, SPEAKER, IS TO THE MINISTER OF INFRASTRUCTURE. AS YOU KNOW, MINISTER, THERE ARE MORE THAN 420 SMALL, RURAL AND NORTHERN COMMUNITIES ACROSS ONTARIO. ALMOST ALL OF THESE COMMUNITIES FACE CHALLENGES IN BUILDING, MAINTAINING AND REPAIRING CRITICAL LOCAL INFRASTRUCTURE SUCH AS ROADS, BRIDGES, WATER AND WASTEWATER SYSTEMS. INVESTING IN COMMUNITY-BASED INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS HELPS THESE RURAL MUNICIPALITIES TO CONTINUE TO ATTRACT, SUPPORT AND SUSTAIN ECONOMIC GROWTH AND JOB CREATION. ONTARIO'S ECONOMY IS THRIVING, LEADING THE COUNTRY IN JOBS AND ECONOMIC GROWTH. EVERY PERSON IN SARNIA-LAMBTON AND EVERY REGION IN THIS PROVINCE CAN SHARE IN THIS PROSPERITY. CAN THE MINISTER PLEASE TELL THIS HOUSE HOW OUR GOVERNMENT IS SUPPORTING SMALL, RURAL AND NORTHERN COMMUNITIES ACROSS ONTARIO THROUGH INVESTMENTS TO BUILD, MAINTAIN AND REPAIR LOCAL ROADS, BRIDGES, WATER AND WASTEWATER SYSTEMS? THANK YOU.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER OF INFRASTRUCTURE.

Scott says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. AND I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE MEMBER FOR SARNIA-LAMBTON FOR HIS QUESTION. AS MINISTER OF INFRASTRUCTURE, I OFTEN HEAR FROM MUNICIPALITIES THAT THEY NEED SUSTAINABLE FUNDING TO BUILD ROADS, BRIDGES AND RELIABLE TRANSIT IN THEIR COMMUNITIES. AND THAT IS WHY, IN NOVEMBER, OUR GOVERNMENT ADVISED ELIGIBLE MUNICIPALITIES ABOUT THEIR TOTAL FORMULA FUNDING FOR 2020 THROUGH THE ONTARIO COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE FUND. THIS ALMOST 200 MILLION DOLLARS IN FUNDING WILL ALLOW COMMUNITIES TO MOVE FORWARD WITH CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS WHILE PROVIDING FLEXIBILITY TO ADDRESS THEIR UNIQUE NEEDS. ON JANUARY 17TH, PREMIER FORD AND I JOINED M.P.P. FROM PARRY SOUND-MUSKOKA TO ANNOUNCE, UP IN MISS... MUSKOKA, THE OCIP 2020 ALLOCATIONS FOR ALL 424 ELIGIBLE COMMUNITIES. WITH THIS FUNDING.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Scott says WE ARE WORKING DIRECTLY WITH OUR MUNICIPAL PARTNERS, WHO CAN CHOOSE WHERE TO INVEST THEIR 2020 COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING PROGRAM. THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Bailey says WELL, THANK YOU, SPEAKER, AND THANK YOU, MINISTER, FOR THAT INFORMATION. MINISTER, I WAS THRILLED TO LEARN THAT OVER 6.1 MILLION DOLLARS OF OCIP FUNDING, FORMULA FUNDING WAS ALLOCATED TO EIGHT MUNICIPALITIES IN MY RIDING. AMONG THOSE COMMUNITIES IN SARNIA-LAMBTON RECEIVING FUNDING, THE CITY OF SARNIA WILL RECEIVE NEARLY 3 MILLION DOLLARS. THE TOWNSHIP OF ST. CLAIR WILL RECEIVE MORE THAN 1.1 MILLION DOLLARS AND THE COUNTY OF LAMBTON ALMOST 1.1 MILLION DOLLARS AS WELL. IN ADDITION, THE VILLAGE OF POINT EDWARD, TOWNSHIP OF INNISS KILL LEN RECEIVE ALMOST 1 MILLION DOLLARS IN PROVINCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING COMBINED... INNISKILLEN. CAN THE MINISTER PLEASE EXPLAIN HOW THIS IMPORTANT FUNDING CAN IMPROVE THE CURRENT CONDITION OF THE AGING INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE COMMUNITIES OF SARNIA-LAMBTON?

The Speaker says MINISTER.

Scott says THANK YOU AGAIN, MR. SPEAKER. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT QUESTION TO ASK FROM THE MEMBER FOR SARNIA-LAMBTON. AND YOU KNOW WHAT? PREDICTABILITY AND STABILITY IN COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING GOES A LONG WAY FOR OUR SMALL, RURAL AND NORTHERN COMMUNITIES. WE'VE ALL HEARD THIS FROM THE ASSOCIATION OF MUNICIPALITIES CONVENTION, FROM THE RURAL ONTARIO MUNICIPAL ASSOCIATION, DELEGATIONS AT OUR LOCAL AGRICULTURE FAIRS, AND WHENEVER WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO MEET WITH OUR MUNICIPAL PARTNERS. MR. SPEAKER, THE ONTARIO COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE FUND WAS CAREFULLY DESIGNED TO DIRECTLY ADDRESS THE LOCAL PRIORITIES OF OUR SMALL, RURAL AND NORTHERN COMMUNITIES WHO FACE UNIQUE CHALLENGES IN GETTING INFRASTRUCTURE BUILT. THE ONTARIO COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE FUND IS AN EXCELLENT EXAMPLE OF HOW FORMULA-BASED FUNDING HELPS ALL 424 ELIGIBLE COMMUNITIES.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Scott says BUILD AND MAINTAIN THEIR LOCAL ROADS AND BRIDGES, CRITICAL WATER, WASTEWATER SYSTEMS AND PROVIDING THE MUNICIPALITIES WITH THEIR ALLOCATIONS IN A TIMELY MANNER. WE ARE HELPING THEM TO BUDGET...

The Speaker says THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE MEMBER FOR LONDON WEST.

The caption changes to "Peggy Sattler. NDP. London West."

Sattler is in her late fifties, with short wavy blond hair in a bob. She wears glasses and a black blazer over a printed white dress.

She says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. MY QUESTION IS TO THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION. SPEAKER, PARENTS AND STUDENTS IN MY COMMUNITY ARE OVERWHELMINGLY OPPOSED TO MANDATORY ONLINE LEARNING. LINDSAY, A LONDON WEST PARENT, SAID OUR YOUNG PEOPLE ARE SUFFERING FROM GREATER ANXIETY, DEPRESSION AND SUICIDE RATES THAN EVER BEFORE. WHY WOULD WE WANT THEM OUT OF CLASSES WITH SUPPORTIVE TEACHERS AND CLASSMATES? BRAD, ANOTHER LONDON WEST PARENT, TOLD ME... MY CHILDREN HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE TAUGHT BY A HUMAN BEING, NOT A SCREEN. GEORGE, A GRADE 10 STUDENT IN MY RIDING WROTE TO ME THAT... TEACHERS ARE REQUIRED FOR OUR LEARNING. I CAN'T COUNT THE NUMBER OF TIMES I'VE LOOKED TO A TEACHER FOR HELP. SPEAKER, WILL THE GOVERNMENT LISTEN TO PARENTS AND STUDENTS AND WITHDRAW ITS PLAN TO FIRE TEACHERS AND FORCE E-LEARNING?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION.

Lecce says MR. SPEAKER, WE WANT TO ENSURE THAT OUR YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE ACCESS TO THE COMPETENCIES REQUIRED IN THE JOB MARKET. WE KNOW, HAVING SPOKEN TO FOR-PROFIT AND NONPROFIT LEADERS IN THE ECONOMY, THAT THEY SAY TO US THE TECHNOLOGICAL FLUENCY IS A CRITICAL COMPETENCY REQUIRED TO GET ACCESS TO THE JOBS IN THE FUTURE. WE AGREE, MR. SPEAKER. THAT'S WHY WE'RE OFFERING A DIVERSITY OF CORPSES TO STUDENTS THAT IN LONDON WOULD OTHERWISE PERHAPS HAVE ACCESS TO THOSE COURSES IN THAT REGION. WE'RE OFFERING A GOLD STANDARD OF COURSES. WE'RE ALSO ENSURING THERE'S EXCEPTIONS BUILT IN THAT NOT ALL KIDS HAVE TO TAKE THOSE COURSES. ENSURE EVERY HIGH SCHOOL IN THE PROVINCE AT THE START OF THIS PROGRAM IN SEPTEMBER OF 2020. AND, MR. SPEAKER, THE COURSES WE'RE DEVELOPING WILL NOT REQUIRE INTERNET IN ORDER TO USE THEM. SPEAKER, THIS IS A PROGRAM FOR EVERY STUDENT. IT'S A PROGRAM TO INCENT PARTICIPATION IN THE ECONOMY AND WE BELIEVE IT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO TO GET OUR YOUNG PEOPLE JOB-READY FOR THE ECONOMY OF TOMORROW.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Sattler says SPEAKER, ONE OF THE MANY THINGS THAT THIS MINISTER FAILS TO RECOGNIZE ABOUT ITS ILL-ADVISED MANDATORY E-LEARNING PLAN IS THAT IT IS FUNDAMENTALLY UNFAIR TO STUDENTS WHOSE FAMILIES CANNOT AFFORD HIGH-SPEED INTERNET AT HOME. THIS IS FROM AN e-mail FROM LUKE FLANK, A 29-YEAR-OLD LONDON WEST RESIDENT.

The Speaker says COME TO ORDER.

Sattler says "GROWING UP POOR MEANT THAT I DIDN'T HAVE INTERNET ACCESS AND DIDN'T EVEN HAVE A HOME COMPUTER UNTIL I GOT A JOB TO PAIL FOR HAD IT MYSELF."

The Speaker says COME TO ORDER.

Sattler says "IF I WERE FACED WITH MANDATORY E-LEARNING, IT'S ALMOST GUARANTEED I WOULD HAVE FLUNKED." SPEAKER, WHY IS THIS GOVERNMENT PLOWING AHEAD WITH A PLAN THAT WILL MARGINALIZE AND FURTHER DISADVANTAGE LOW-INCOME STUDENTS?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER OF EDUCATION.

Lecce says MR. SPEAKER, WE ARE DRIVING FORWARD WITH A PLAN THAT ENSURES THAT THE BEST EDUCATORS IN THE FRONT OF CLASS. THAT IS A COMMON-SENSE PRINCIPLE WHICH WE BELIEVE PARENTS WANT US TO CHAMPION AT THE NEGOTIATING TABLE. THE BEST WAY TO UNLEASH THE POTENTIAL OF STUDENTS IN LONDON AND EVERY REGION OF THIS PROVINCE IS TO ENSURE THAT MERIT GUIDES THE HIRING OF OUR EDUCATORS IN THIS PROVINCE IN 2020. THAT IS AN EXPECTATION THAT PARENTS HAVE AND IT'S ONE THAT WE'RE PREPARED TO MEET. SPEAKER, THIS NEGOTIATION, WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT MERIT DRIVES THE DECISION MAKING AND THAT ULTIMATELY.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Lecce says THE BEST EDUCATOR IS THE ONE CHOSEN TO BE AT THE FRONT OF THEIR CLASS.

[SOME APPLAUSE]

Watch: Question Period: Thursday, February 20, 2020