Throughout the week Minister of Labour Laurie Scott posted a variety of party-shared messages which included a talk around a move to provide guidance on service animals in schools, promotion on the flu shot, and news on the passing of the “Cap and Trade Cancellation Act.”
A tribute to honour “the courage of those who served and continue to serve” was shared on November 1st. Minister Scott spoke at the AGM for “Ontario East Economic Development Commission” on Friday morning (Nov 2).
Perhaps the most important vote happened on October 31st when Bill 4, “The Cap and Trade Cancellation Act” was passed. This bill passing means the end of a carbon tax program in Ontario. While the official Ontario government website and Premier Ford promoted the fact that this will save families $260 a year, it has been pointed out that the cancellation of this program will lose the province $3 billion dollars. Beyond the finances we remain in the midst of a climate crisis, and most Canadians support a carbon tax.
Minister Scott voted “YES” on Bill 4, which passed 74-42.
Other votes in the legislative assembly this week included a call for “Government to honour established commitments to fund post-secondary expansion in Brampton, Markham and Milton.” Minster Scott voted “NO” and the motion was defeated 36-61.
On Thursday, a second reading of Bill 44, “Ending automobile insurance discrimination in the GTA” was defeated 24-55, with Minister Scott voting “NO”. and a second reading Bill 45, “amend the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 to limit funding of child care and early years programs and services to not-for-profit corporations.” was defeated by the same margin with Minister Scott also registering a “NO” vote.
Minister Scott had to answer a number of questions this week in the legislative assembly around the series of labour cuts and protection rollbacks her office is rolling out. On October 29th she was questioned on the decision to put a hold on proactive workplace inspections.
Questioned by Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls, NDP) who pointed out that a long-time Conservative strategist was a registered as a lobbyist representing Fiera Foods around the same time the memo ending workplace safety inspections was written. Fiera Foods has made headlines lately as both the subject of a major Toronto Star investigation and for a recent death of a temporary worker in late October. Minister Scott repeated that Ontario is ‘open for business’ and later said she would not politicize the tragedy before being shouted down by the opposition.
The same day she was asked by Catherine Fife (Waterloo, NDP) about the decision to scrap two paid days of personal emergency leave. Minister Scott again repeated ‘Ontario is open for business’ before saying “We’re going to let businesses expand.” She focused on the job numbers from August saying that 80,000 jobs were lost, ignoring overall job growth going back to 2014. She was again interrupted by the opposition, causing a rebuke from the Speaker.
Finally on a very busy October 29th she was questioned on the Minimum Wage freeze. Faisal Hassan (York South- Weston, NDP). Minister Scott repeated a few party lines and as she said “Ontario is open for business” and was shouted down by the opposition once again.
On October 30th, Minister Scott was again questioned about the death at Fiera Foods by the NDP leader Andrea Horwath. Before allowing Minister Scott to answer, Premier Doug Ford interrupted calling the question “Disingenuous, Unbelievable” — which drew a rebuke from the Speaker calling the comment “unparliamentary.”
Minister Scott responded by saying “..this is tragic. The Ministry of Labour is investigating,” asking Horwath to not politicize the tragedy. Minister Scott was asked three additional times about the deaths at Fiera Foods by the NDP throughout the day.
She ended the session by introducing the “Making Ontario Open for Business Act.” Delivering a lengthy speech about the act. Her entire speech can be seen in the Hansard.
On October 31st Minister Scott answered a number of questions around labour laws, specifically related to the newly introduced Bill 47. She stuck to party speaking points.
Local MP Jamie Schmale had a comparatively quieter week. In the community he announced his upcoming passport clinics, while in Ottawa he showcased meetings with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands (Schmale is a member of the Canada-Netherlands Inter-Parliamentary Union) and hosting a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the independence of Latvia (Jamie is the Chair of the Canada-Nordic-Baltic Inter Parliamentary Friendship Group).
Schmale was in the House this week and voted on a number of motions. This included voting “YES” on M-155 (Filipino Heritage Month), “YES” on M-161 (Record Suspension Program). Schamel also voted “NO” on Bill C-76 (Elections Modernization Act).