An extremely busy week for both MPP and Minister of Labour Laurie Scott and local MP Jamie Schmale as major policy announcements in Ontario were followed by vandalism and Schmale visited Switzerland, hosted youth for mock parliament in Ottawa and continued his line of questioning around the Trans Mountain pipeline.
MP Schmale posted pictures on October 20th from a trip to Geneva, Switzerland where he participated in the Canadian delegation to the 139th meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. The Inter Parliamentary Union bills itself as “a unique organization made up of national parliaments from around the world.” that works to “protect and build global democracy through political dialogue and concrete action.” Schamle is a member of the Canadian Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Most of the focus in Geneva appears to have been around the role of women in Parliament.
On October 21 Schmale was back in Ottawa and sharing live video of students from each of his riding’s seven high schools who were participating in a mock question period. This event is called “Capital Experience” and on October 22 Schmale shared pictures from trips to the Supreme Court, the ambassador from the UAE, and the University of Ottawa and a taping of Power and Politics.
In the House of Commons on October 23, Schmale stood up to share the story of the “Capital Experience.” He introduced the participants in the House and noted the experience is intended to share career opportunities.
On October 23, Schmale also stood up to deliver a lengthy speech about Motion 161, a motion introduced on January 25th around an examination of suspension of criminal records to help people reintegrate into society. In his speech, Schmale praised a 2012 Conservative bill, C-10, (best known as the omnibus crime bill in 2012) and worried that Motion 161 was an attempt by the Liberal government to “prioritize the rights of criminals ahead of the rights of victims.”
Schmale repeatedly suggested in his speech that this motion should go directly to committee and asked the committee to “consider the balance Bill C-10 struck between recognizing the role record suspensions play in facilitating reintegration, ensuring the protection of our communities, particularly the most vulnerable, and placing victims rights at the forefront.“ Bill C-10 was controversial at the time it was introduced and was criticized as taking a flawed approach and Quebec refused to implement the bill at the time.
On October 25 and October 26 Schmale stood in the House to talk about the Trans Mountain Pipeline, specifically around Bill C-69. Calling it the “no more pipelines” bill Schmale claimed the bill means “more regulations and longer application times.” On both days he asked the Minister to kill the bill.
There were a number of votes this week that Schmale voted on including voting Yes on both Bill C-281 (Establish a National Local Food Day) and Bill S-245 which declared the Trans Mountain Pipeline Project and related works to be for the general advantage of Canada. Schmale voted no on a Private members bill around postal banking, and Bill C-76 around amendments to the Canada Elections Act.
Minister of Labour Laurie Scott’s week began with the introduction of Bill 47. A special edition of “For the Record” was published on Wednesday by the Lindsay Advocate to cover the reaction to this bill. Scott claimed a record 15 times this week on Twitter through either retweets or original posts that “Ontario is Open for Business.” This is in line with consistent conservative messaging which this week included the unveiling a new sign at the US/Canada border in Windsor with the same message. It is noted by iPolitics, that analysis by both the province and RBC that the Ontario economy has grown every year since 2014 when Kathleen Wynne became the premier.
Scott also attended a session of the Toronto chapter of the Canadian Club on the topic of sex trafficking. Attending with Lisa Macleod, this topic and the conversation surrounding it is an underreported part of Scott’s work in government. Reflected in previous bills she has introduced including Bill 158 (Saving the Girl Next Door, 2016) and her work pushing for greater training for judges around sexual assault.
The Legislative assembly was sitting this week and on October 24 and 25, Scott answers a series of questions around the newly introduced “Ontario Open for Business Act.” It included questions around a requirement to have doctors notes for any sick days taken, adding stress to an already overstretched medical system.
Scott’s response, “that there has to be some accountability when asked by an employer” prompted a supplementary about requiring proof before taking bereavement leave. Scott, in an interrupted response, concluded by saying “I know the members opposite are upset that we brought in a piece of legislation that puts Ontario open for business and gives workers the opportunity to have better employment. Maybe you should look at it that way.”
Andrea Horwath, the leader of the official opposition asked Scott “The deputy premier doesn’t lose a day’s pay when she takes a sick day. Why must other workers?” to which she repeated lines about Ontario being open for business. In fact on October 24, Conservatives as a whole repeated the words “open for business” 21 different times, and another 14 times on October 25.