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Ontario Hansard

Time Allocation

[on Bill 102, An Act to amend the Drug Interchangeability and Dispensing Fee Act and the Ontario Drug Benefit Act]

Legislative Assembly of Ontario
Ontario Hansard
May 9, 2006

Mr. Dunlop: See, he did not explain that. So if you're asking the opposition parties to take every bill to the maximum, we will do that. There's not a question. We've been trying to be fair.

This is a very important bill, ladies and gentlemen, to the citizens of the province of Ontario, and we're seeing time allocation here. We're seeing it cut off. There are a lot of people in the two opposition parties who wanted to speak to this bill, and they're not getting that opportunity. The reality is that this is not a good move on behalf of the citizens of Ontario.

But then, ladies and gentlemen, this hasn't been a good day for the government party, the Liberal Party. I think of three things, for example. One is the embarrassing display by the Premier when he was questioned on Gerard Kennedy's riding, the man who has now disappeared but is still receiving his full pay. When I heard the Premier today respond to the questions, I felt embarrassed to be an Ontario citizen, if that was the best we could do, having him respond that way.

Second of all, we listened to the Minister of Natural Resources today respond to the issues in Caledonia, and clearly he doesn't know what's going on in that ministry. If it wasn't for Toby Barrett, the member from Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant, updating the citizens of this province day in and day out, visiting the blockade, talking to the First Nations, talking to the citizens of Caledonia -- if it wasn't for Toby Barrett, we would not have any input anywhere in this House.

Today I listened to the minister, who clearly didn't have a clue what was going on, and then I listened to Minister Kwinter. When Minister Kwinter tried to respond to the questions on how much it was costing the citizens of the province of Ontario to have the Ontario Provincial Police forces at Caledonia, he clearly had no idea what he was talking about. He didn't realize that it was costing $100,000 a week to accommodate the OPP officers who are at Caledonia. He thinks that money just drops out of the sky. Ladies and gentlemen, the citizens of the province of Ontario, those are our tax dollars. We want to know where that money is coming from and how it is affecting all the other police services and detachments where all of those officers are being taken from so they can be at Caledonia.

I expect that the minister would know those types of answers, and he clearly didn't have a clue. He's saying, "The money's just there. That's all part of the budget." Did the minister budget this year, in that 2006-07 disaster budget, for this kind of waste? Is that what he did? He has that kind of money floating around; there's just those millions of dollars sitting there? So today I said, there's likely $8 million that it has cost the citizens of this province so far for Caledonia, and the minister has no accountability for it, no accountability whatsoever. It's coming, ladies and gentlemen, out of all of the other detachments in this province, and it's affecting public safety and security.

So it hasn't been a good day when you take into account the Premier's comments on former Minister Kennedy, the fact that both Minister Kwinter and Minister Ramsay have no idea what's going on at Caledonia themselves, and now we've got this time allocation motion tonight that is clearly -- the opposition has every reason. To try to make fun of the member from Niagara Centre I think is demeaning, because he had a lot of really good comments in his speech this evening and brought forth a lot of topics and issues that the citizens of the province of Ontario should understand when they're dealing with a government that is trying to time-allocate, particularly a bill of this importance.

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Now that my colleague Toby Barrett, the member from Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant, is in the House, I just want to say on behalf of the folks I represent in Simcoe North, many of whom are Ontario Provincial Police officers who have been dispatched to that area, that we really do appreciate his hard work and his dedication, keeping a close eye and reporting faithfully to the caucus members and to the media, and to act as a mediator, somewhat, in trying to resolve the issue at Caledonia. We know it hasn't been easy for the OPP, it certainly hasn't been easy for the First Nations and it hasn't been easy for the citizens of Caledonia who have had some negative response to this whole issue.

But I can tell you that the one person who has shown leadership in this issue, and tell the members and the citizens of Ontario, is the member from Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant. He's done an extremely good job. I'm proud to say that I sit on the same caucus as Toby Barrett. I wish we could see the same kind of leadership from the government. I wish we could see the same kind of leadership from Minister Kwinter, from Minister Ramsay and from the Premier. Do you know what it is? They're all counting on some sort of magic to resolve the problem, that somehow it will resolve itself. Meanwhile they set the Ontario Provincial Police out there as the blockade that will try to help resolve this, and the OPP are taking the blame for things. We should see leadership from the ministers' offices.

I know I haven't got a lot more time to speak to this. Four or five of my colleagues would like to speak to this bill as well.

I absolutely will be voting against Bill 102. I will be voting against the time allocation. I'm disappointed that we're seeing time allocation on this bill. It's a very, very important bill. But of course we saw it last week with Bill 81. We saw it then and we're seeing it again today. I guess what the government wants us to do is to drag every bill out to the last second so that they'll have to time-allocate everything. I don't think that's the right way. Important bills like this bill, important bills that affect our small business community, that affect our senior citizens, that affect our communities in rural Ontario, should be listened to. Everybody in this House should have an opportunity to have their comments and not have the government cut them off and end debate at such an early stage.

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