From the Provincial Office of OSSTF
BILL 48, SAFE AND SUPPORTIVE CLASSROOMS ACT
Education Minister Lisa Thompson’s (Huron—Bruce) bill is scheduled to begin second reading debate on Monday November 12, when the Legislature reconvenes after its constituency week break. With bills requiring six and a one-half hours debate before a vote at second reading, it is possible that the bill could move to the appropriate committee for review prior to the end of the week of November 12. At this stage, OSSTF/FEESO has requested an opportunity to appear before the appropriate committee, if public hearings are held.
Thompson’s bill would require all teacher candidates to pass a math test before being licensed. Thompson’s bill would also revoke the certification of teachers and licensed early childhood educators disciplined by their respective professional regulatory body for committing sexual abuse against a student or child. As well, the bill would create guidelines for school boards to implement policies for the inclusion of service animals. Currently, 39 of the 72 school have policies in place. Thompson’s bill also would allow future changes to the composition of the Ontario College of Teachers and its various committees to be made by regulation rather than having to pass a bill in the Legislature.
NDP MPP and Education Critic Marit Stiles (Davenport) accused the Minister of Education Lisa Thompson (Huron—Bruce), of cutting funding for helping teachers improve their math skills while calling for a new math test for teacher candidates, as outlined in Bill 48. Stiles said,” Last week, the government jumped the gun on their own consultations and introduced legislation to create a new math test for teacher certification. Though the details of their plan remain secret, we now know that funding meant to help teachers upgrade their skills in math is set to come to an end, with no indication that the government will keep up that investment. How can the minister justify imposing a new math test for teachers on one hand while cutting the funding meant to strengthen those skills on the other?”
Minister Thompson replied, “First and foremost, I would like to suggest to the member from Davenport—and to the rest of the party, actually, as well—NDP: No drama, please. What we are doing is hitting the pause button. The fact of the matter is, over the last 15 years, the government that they propped up has put Ontario in a $15-billion hole. We’ve put a pause on EPO funding so that we can do our own line-by-line audit, so that we can justify the return on investment dollars that we’re going to be putting forward in our EPO funding pockets, if you will. The fact of the matter is that we’re doing so much for teachers. Just on the weekend, I had a teacher come up to me at dinner. She said she loved the math resource guide that we provided to help them transition from discovery math—”
CANCELLATION OF COLLEGE CAMPUSES
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath (Hamilton—Centre) used her party’s Opposition Day to focus debate on the cancellation of three college Campuses. Horwath’s introduced a motion that read,
“Whereas existing commitments were in place for post-secondary expansion in Brampton, Markham and Milton; and
Whereas this investment would have brought hundreds of jobs to each city and encouraged broader economic growth in these communities; and
Whereas the municipalities of Brampton, Markham and Milton have already spent significant amounts of money, time and effort related to the already-approved projects;
Therefore the Legislative Assembly calls on the government to honour established commitments to fund post-secondary expansion in Brampton, Markham and Milton.”
In response to Horwath’s motion, The Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, Merrilee Fullerton (Kanata—Carleton), repeated that budget constraints forced the government’s decision. Fullerton said, “We made a promise to the people of Ontario to restore accountability and trust in Ontario’s finances, and part of that process means making tough decisions about projects across Ontario. Tough decisions—because the previous Liberal government left us $15 billion in deficit. Irresponsible spending has left Ontario in a dire economic situation. We are forced to make tough decisions—disappointing decisions for some, but thoughtful decisions. Our government has begun and will continue to do the heavy lifting needed to achieve our goal of sustainable economic prosperity.”
Horwath’s motion was easily defeated the Progressive Conservative government by a vote of 61–36.
The next day in Question Period, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath (Hamilton Centre), continued her advocacy for the college campus asking, “PC candidates spent the last campaign promising that these campuses would go ahead. During the campaign, the MPP for Milton said, “We will do everything we can to make this project a reality…whether it takes $90 million or there’s more we need to do.” The MPP for Markham actually went to the groundbreaking ceremony of the new Markham campus. I guess this truly is a case of promises made, promises broken. Why did the government break their word to the parents and students in these communities who were promised a university?” In response, Minister Fullerton repeated her comments that the government faced a $15 billion deficit causing the cancellation of the campuses.
FRENCH-LANGUAGE COLLEGE EXPANSION
While cutting three college campuses, the Provincial government was still able to find $15 million to help fund the expansion of the French-language College Boreal in Toronto’s distillery district. Attorney General Caroline Mulroney (York—Simcoe), the Minister responsible for Francophone Affairs, took part in the ground-breaking ceremony.
IN OTHER NEWS
FALL ECONOMIC STATEMENT
Ontario’s Minister of Finance, Vic Fedeli (Nipissing) announced that he will deliver the fall economic statement on Thursday, November 15.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT MINISTER RESIGNS
In a stunning development, The Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Jim Wilson (Simcoe—Grey) resigned his ministerial post and quit the PC caucus citing an addictions problem. A MPP since 1995, Wilson has been a prominent member of the PC caucus since his election in 1995 under the Mike Harris government. Earlier on the day of his resignation announcement, Wilson had joined Premier Doug Ford to unveil Ontario’s new Open For Business signs at border crossings. At this point, Wilson remains a MPP.
MUNICIPAL ELECTION—WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN UPDATE
Last week’s edition of Queen’s Park Notes referenced the seven MPPs, most of whom lost their provincial election in June but made a successful comeback as municipal candidates. These included:
Former Liberal MPP and Cabinet Minister Bill Mauro became mayor of Thunder Bay,
Former Liberal MPP and Cabinet Minister Kathryn McGarry became mayor of Cambridge,
Former Liberal MPP and Cabinet Minister Jim Bradley became a city councillor in St. Catharines,
Former Liberal MPP Dipika Damerla became a City Councillor in Mississauga,
Former Liberal MPP Granville Anderson became a Regional Councillor in Clarington,
Former Liberal MPP Mike Colle became a City Councillor in Toronto,
Former PC MPP Michael Harris became a Regional Councillor in Waterloo.
There were also two other former MPPs including past PC Leader Patrick Brown, who did not run in 2018, narrowly defeating another former MPP and incumbent Brampton Mayor Linda Jeffery. As well, long-time Beaches—East York NDP MPP Michael Prue, who lost in 2014, made a political comeback by winning a council seat in Amherstburg.
NEW BILLS INTRODUCED
BILL 49, CHARTER RIGHTS TRANSPARENCY ACT
In response to this past summer’s potential imposition of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ Notwithstanding Clause to pass legislation, Liberal MPP Nathalie Des Rosiers’ (Vanier) bill seeks to bring greater clarity around its use. Des Rosiers’ bill would require the attorney general to assess whether any new government legislation violates Ontarians’ Charter Rights and Freedoms and to report the findings to the Legislature.
BILL 50, CUTTING RED TAPE FOR MOTOR VEHICLE DEALERS ACT
PC MPP Mike Harris’ (Kitchener—Conestoga) bill would amend the Highway Traffic Act to enable certain motor vehicle dealers to apply for permits, number plates and other things by electronic means or in an electronic format.
BILL 51, LONG-TERM CARE HOMES AMENDMENT ACT (PREFERENCE FOR VETERANS)
NDP MPP and Critic for Veterans, Jennie Stevens’ (St. Catharines) bill would require the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care ensure that preference in admission to long-term care homes is given to veterans.
BILL 52, JURIES STATUTE LAW AMENDMENT ACT (JUROR ELIGIBILITY)
Liberal MPP Nathalie Des Rosiers’s (Vanier) bill seeks to make juries more representative of Indigenous communities and other groups. As well, the bill would amend the Juries Act so that people convicted of minor criminal offences be allowed to serve as jurors, which is currently prohibited.
BILLS REFERRED TO COMMITTEE
BILL 10, BRUNT AND KENDALL ACT (ENSURING SAFE FIREFIGHTER AND TRAINEE RESCUE TRAINING)
NDP MPP Jennifer French’s (Oshawa) bill seeks to make it safer for firefighters to train for their jobs. French’s bill passed second reading and was referred to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy.
BILL 32, ACCESS TO NATURAL GAS ACT
Infrastructure Minister Monte McNaughton’s (Lambton—Kent—Middlesex) bill amends the Ontario Energy Board Act to “provide rate protection for consumers” and that gas companies are “entitled to be compensated for lost revenue resulting from the rate reduction.” McNaughton’s bill passed second reading and was referred to the Standing Committee on General Government.
BILL 4, CAP AND TRADE CANCELLATION ACT
The Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, Rod Phillips (Ajax) pushed through his party’s signature legislation eliminating the previous Liberal government’s greenhouse gas reduction plan. The PCs passed the bill by a vote of 74–42. The bill subsequently received Royal Assent that same afternoon.
BILL 44, ENDING AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE DISCRIMINATION IN THE GREATER TORONTO AREA ACT
NDP MPP Gurratan Singh’s (Brampton East) bill was defeated by the PC government by a vote of 55–24. Singh’s bill was his party’s response to the issue of high auto insurance premiums for Brampton drivers. Singh’s bill would have specifically prevented residents of the Greater Toronto Area from paying different rates for automobile insurance based solely on the municipality or area in which they reside in the Greater Toronto Area.
BILL 45, THE CHILD CARE AND EARLY YEARS AMENDMENT ACT (NOT-FOR-PROFIT CORPORATIONS)
NDP MPP Doly Begum’s (Scarborough Southwest) bill was defeated by the PC government by a vote of 55–24. Begum’s bill sought to ensure that corporations not be eligible to receive funding for child care and early years programs and services unless they were not-for-profit corporations.
The Legislature will not be in session the week of November 5, 2018.
It will resume the week of November 12, 2018.