KENORA – Leaders Ledger – We need your support to get MPPs back to work! Last week Premier Dalton McGuinty announced his resignation as Liberal leader and Premier of Ontario.
As surprising as the announcement is, more shocking is his decision to lock MPPs out of Queen’s Park until his party can field a leadership race, meaning MPPs will likely not sit again until February or March of next year. In no way is this decision necessary because the Premier has decided to stay on until his successor is picked. Business can- and should- continue as usual.
Because of the decision to Prorogue, or lock out MPPs, much of the work of the past year has been wasted. Bills that had been debated, but not passed into law are now scrapped completely, while others, like my own Private Members’ Bill on northern economic development, are on hold indefinitely. The work of improving existing laws and refining proposed laws at committees has been thrown out, along with hearings aimed at finding the true cost to taxpayers resulting from the Liberal Party’s decision to scrap two power plants in Oakville and Mississauga. Also gone is our ability to question how McGuinty’s adamant assurances that the cost $40 Million cancellation costs, could balloon into $1 Billion and counting.
The decision to lock MPPs out was not only excessive but completely unnecessary. While McGuinty often lamented the fact that he had difficulty “making the minority situation work,” any stalemates were often of his own doing. For months following last fall’s election the Premier refused to create committees, which guaranteed that no existing legislation could be changed and no proposed legislation could be passed into law. Of the few pieces of legislation that made their way to committee, the majority never saw their way back onto the floor of the legislature, because the Premier refused to call them back for a third and final vote, thereby ensuring they could not become law.
Despite McGuinty’s unwillingness to accept a minority Parliament, we were successful in making the situation work. We passed the budget, anti-bullying legislation, a senior’s home repair tax credit and call before you dig legislation, to name a few.
Locking the doors at Queen’s Park kills important legislation, wastes the work that has already been done, limits the ability of MPPs to effectively do our jobs, and is completely unnecessary. As it is, I believe MPPs don’t have enough time to put forward and debate all of the legislative changes we need to make, in order to fix things like lowering our hydro bills, bringing some fairness to insurance prices, fixing health care in Northern Ontario and revitalizing our forest industry, to name a limited few. I strongly believe that MPPs need to work longer, not less.
It is for this reason that I am asking the Premier to stop holding Ontarians hostage and recall MPPs so we can do the job we were elected to do. Shutting the doors because the Liberal Party is electing a new leader is not acceptable.
This is why I have helped launch a ‘Get MPPs Back to Work’ campaign, aimed at pressuring McGuinty to recall the legislature.
Sarah Campbell, MPP Kenora-Rainy River