STANDING COMMITTEE ON GENERAL GOVERNMENT
COMITÉ PERMANENT DES AFFAIRES GOUVERNEMENTALES
Wednesday 21 March 2012 Mercredi 21 mars 2012
Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield: Thank you, Chair. I’m delighted to be able to read this report. It’s the Standing Committee on General Government subcommittee on committee business report of the subcommittee from Monday, March 19, 2012.
Your subcommittee on committee business met on Monday, March 19, 2012, to consider the method of proceeding on Bill 8, An Act respecting Ontario One Call Ltd., and Bill 11, An Act respecting the continuation and establishment of development funds in order to promote regional economic development in eastern and southwestern Ontario, and recommends the following:
(1) That the committee hold public hearings on Bill 11 in Toronto, at Queen’s Park, on Monday, April 2, 2012, during its regular meeting time, and on Wednesday, April 4, 2012, in Windsor, Ontario, subject to approval of the House.
(3) That the clerk of the committee, with the authorization of the Chair, post information regarding the committee’s business with respect to both Bill 8 and Bill 11 once in the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, the Windsor Star, L’Express and Le Droit newspapers as soon as possible.
(4) That the clerk of the committee, with the authorization of the Chair, post information regarding the committee’s business with respect to both Bill 8 and Bill 11 in English and French on the Ontario parliamentary channel, on the Legislative Assembly website and on the CNW newswire service.
(6) That the clerk of the committee, in consultation with the Chair, be authorized to schedule witness presentations on Bill 8 and Bill 11 as the requests are received, on a first-come, first-served basis.
(16) That the clerk of the committee, in consultation with the Chair, be authorized to commence making any preliminary arrangements necessary to facilitate the committee’s proceedings prior to the adoption of this report.
Mr. Rosario Marchese: I have a little amendment, and that is on number (1). I was very happy to travel to Windsor myself, but the member from Essex has requested that he would like to do the hearings, and to do that, he was available on April 5. So I would ask your indulgence, and hopefully other members would be available to go on April 5.
The Chair (Mr. David Orazietti): I appreciate the suggestion. The committee is free to decide that. The only concern, I guess, would be that the committee is authorized to meet on Mondays and Wednesdays, so we would need the House to approve discussion—
Mr. Rosario Marchese: I understand that. We are already seeking approval to go out, because that’s not something we normally do. So we already need their approval for the change. Our House leader has already spoken to the other House leaders, and I understand there’s agreement on that, so I wanted to put it forth here.
Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield: I don’t see any challenge either, Chair. I think that to accommodate the member is fine. April 5 is just the Thursday, as opposed to the Wednesday, and that’s fine. We’ve asked for permission.
My question to you is, do we have to send a new letter with a request for the change of date to seek this approval? And if we do, do you need an amendment to the subcommittee report or just a request that you resend the request to the House for the change of date? But I’m quite in agreement.
The Chair (Mr. David Orazietti): I’m going to ask Sylwia to add a comment with respect to the advertising—just some concern around making sure there’s ample notification. If you want to just highlight that, that would be helpful.
The Clerk of the Committee (Ms. Sylwia Przezdziecki): In order to adhere to the committee schedule, as was discussed at the subcommittee meeting, the committee would really need to post its advertising tomorrow in order for it to appear in next week’s newspapers, to provide the required notice for people to call in.
While we’re waiting for approval from the House to travel on the fourth, if the committee doesn’t receive that approval by tomorrow during motions, there’s still the possibility of posting the ad, but either removing a reference to locations in the ad or changing Windsor to a Toronto date. That’s because the committee is authorized to sit on the fourth. The committee is not authorized to meet on the fifth. So, prior to receiving approval from the House, we cannot put that date in the ad.
Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield: If I may, Chair, what you’re saying is we could have proceeded without, because the fourth is a normal meeting date, so we wouldn’t have had any challenges, but changing it to the fifth, we still seek permission, but it’s not a regular meeting date.
Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield: I’m not disagreeing. I’m just saying that what I understand the clerk to say is that we can use the fourth because it’s a regularly scheduled date; it’s when we meet. So you’re saying we can go ahead with the advertising, because the fourth is a regularly scheduled date for this committee.
The Clerk of the Committee (Ms. Sylwia Przezdziecki): Committees are authorized to adjourn from location to location in Ontario. What the House needs to approve is for the committee to meet outside of its meeting time. We would need permission to sit on the fifth, to publish that in an ad. Now, if that permission isn’t received by tomorrow during motions, the next opportunity to receive that—
The Clerk of the Committee (Ms. Sylwia Przezdziecki): The ad is prepared; the ad must be submitted tomorrow in order to appear on Monday. If tomorrow, during routine proceedings, the House does not give approval for the committee to travel to Windsor, we can still publish the ad as is, simply indicating that the committee intends to meet on April 2 and April 4; we can remove all reference to locations pending further decisions from the House; or, if the committee wishes it, we can indicate that both meeting days will be in Toronto. But the ad can still run.
The only issue that is obviously raised here is that the ad can go in tomorrow right away to be published on Monday without waiting for authorization from the House to change the date for meetings. We can remove the location and just provide the dates. So if we wait until we have the approval, then we can change the date, and the ad, I would assume, should still run for Monday—if we send the ad in tomorrow, following approval from the House to meet outside regular business days?
The Clerk of the Committee (Ms. Sylwia Przezdziecki): If I may just ask for direction from the committee: In the event that the House does not grant approval, what does the committee wish me to put in the ad?
Mr. Steve Clark: Thank you, Chair. I was unaware until after the subcommittee met that the report was not going to include the minister attending in regard to Bill 11. I’ve copied and circulated to the members of the committee some order paper questions that were discussed with the minister at a quite historic meeting that took place here in the Legislature on February 23, where we had both sitting Liberal and Progressive Conservative MPPs from eastern Ontario to discuss the fund. These were important questions that I think would be fair and reasonable for the committee to have as part of the deliberations. They would certainly give members an overview of the four-year eastern Ontario program.
The first order paper question is pretty simple; I think it just outlines from a chronological basis each year of the four-year program—who got the grants, how many jobs they created, in what municipality. So I guess my question that I’d like some approval on is—I don’t necessarily think that we need the minister. If the committee feels the minister could come and provide these answers, that would be great. Failing that, these order paper questions under our standing orders are supposed to get their response—I believe it’s by April 16; the clerk gave me that date.
I don’t think it’s unreasonable to have these answers before we deliberate. I guess I’m just looking for some consensus that we’ll either have the minister here to address and give us an overview or, failing the minister’s attendance, we can just get these questions answered as a background document on the four-year history of the eastern plan and move forward.
Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield: At the subcommittee meeting, we had some discussion about whether or not to invite the minister, and we felt that that wasn’t necessary. Because you’re going to get these by April 16, I think that should satisfy all the—and it’ll be long before—
Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield: Maybe what we can do is ask if it will be earlier than that, because my question is just one of process. I have no difficulty. But because it’s an inquiry of the ministry and not of us, then it falls under that procedure, and the ministry has till the 16th to respond. I don’t know that we can supersede that requirement other than just by asking—
Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield: Well, as I said, maybe if you could leave it with us and I can ask, because if we can get your questions earlier—I mean, I don’t know why you’d want him here anyways, but I can understand—
Mr. Rosario Marchese: My sense is the minister may not come. That’s what I think will happen, which is fine, but I think it’s a reasonable request to get answers to these questions. The questions are to the minister, not to the civil servants, because he’s actually answerable to these particular issues. So it’s a reasonable request, and I need to—
Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield: So can I ask, then, with your permission, if they say that’s not possible, then it leaves the caveat to call the minister? Is that okay? I’ll get back to the Chair, and then we can maybe just let everybody know that it’s either questions are answered by the sixth or the minister will appear. Which date would you like the minister to appear, though?
Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield: It’s just a procedural question. We talked about the opportunity for individuals to have 10 minutes and then a follow-up question of five minutes, and we did ask that it be by rotation. It doesn’t state that on here, and I don’t know if it needs to or if it’s just a given procedure within the committee.
The Chair (Mr. David Orazietti): I believe that’s the will of the committee. A 10-minute presentation, and any time they leave will be left for questions from committee members. We’ll go in a rotation. So if we start with the Conservatives first, the next presenter, the first question will go to the NDP and we’ll go in order, okay? And whatever the time is that’s left, we’ll try to divide it equally so that everyone has an opportunity, if possible, to get a question in for the same presenter, not that your party may miss a question to a particular presenter—so that everybody can get a chance to ask a question of the same presenter. Sound fair?