The Legislature is taking this week off and isn't sitting, so I thought it would be a good time to let you know the latest Scuttlebutt from Queen's Park and the riding.
The Liberals have been busy little bees this session, but they're being more of a pest than actually accomplishing anything productive. Here's some examples and things you may want to keep abreast of:
Energy Policy - High Electricity Costs
The Wynne Liberals have announced they will be selling off 60% of Hydro One, although they don't have the statutory authority to do so at the moment.
By all accounts people are increasingly getting fed up with Ontario being the highest cost electricity jurisdiction in North America and getting far more vocal. You can watch my remarks to the recent Queen's Park protest here.
I've included a price comparison of electricity prices here along with my position on the Hydro One sell off here. If you're on Facebook, check out the Enough is Enough page. In addition, the long awaited and delayed Ombudsman report is scheduled to be tabled on Monday. Furthermore, the Ombudsman and the Auditor General have spoken out that the sell off will hinder their ability to provide much needed oversight of Hydro One.
Patrick Brown made quite the impression on his first day on the job as the new PC Leader. He was invited to speak to the Legislature in response to the Premier of Quebec, you can watch him turn the tables and skewer Premier Wynne instead here.
I was also astonished earlier last month when the government announced a policy discussion on limiting or preventing people from using the courts to defend themselves or challenge fines and offenses issued by Provincial/Municipal enforcement officers and the police. The proposal is to change many of our laws into Administrative Monetary Penaltys (AMPs), thereby eliminating any recourse or defence. I've been quite involved with a number of groups and people who are opposed to this undertaking and you may want to check out their Facebook page POA/AMPS.
Presently all government advertising is scrutinized by the Auditor General and the Liberals have tabled legislation to remove this oversight. I can assure you that no good will come of this maneuver and I will continue to oppose this attempt.
Healthier Choices Act
Bill 45 will be voted on at Third Reading next week and will mandate that calories be printed on restaurant menus, among other things. However, I'm deeply opposed to Schedule Three of the Bill. This Schedule places severe restrictions on the sale, display and use of the most effective smoking cessation technology yet produced, personal vaporizers. The evidence certainly appears overwhelming that this ban will limit/prevent people from quitting smoking. For more info check out this page on Facebook and my debate in the legislature.
Ontario Pension Plan
Was adopted on Third Reading with the PC Caucus voting against. In a nutshell this will add cost to both employers and employees with very little benefit. Under the proposal only people under the age of 25 will be able to gain any advantage although everyone will have to pay. In addition, any pension benefits that are received will result in a claw back on the federal CPP pension plan. And last but not least existing employer/employee defined contribution plans may have to be abandoned in their favour.
Liberal ABC's -The Absurd, Banal & Confusing highlights of the month
I was astonished when the Deputy Speaker of the House stated in Committee, "The worst thing government can do is give people hope." Here is my question to the Premier about the Deputy Speaker's comments. Here is my statement regarding the College of Nurses of Ontario's treatment of two of my constituents. And finally, when Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli is asked about high electricity rights, here is his response to the Enough is Enough group, which is how he has now earned the nickname Minister Tomato Head.