Local MP Jamie Schmale spent the weekend making publics appearances including at the Bobcaygeon Fair (Sept 29), TD Bank Tree Planting Day in Minden (Sept 30) and the Sunderland Legion Veterans Day Dinner (Sept 30). He helped celebrate the opening of the new viewing platform at Ken Reid Conservation Area (Oct 1). Schmale appeared with members of the Kents and the Strumbellas at the Music Canada Cares 3R instrument drive in Lindsay (Oct 2).
Schmale does not appear to have spent Oct. 1 in the House of Commons and is not recorded in any of the Hansard for that day. He did not speak on Oct. 2 but is recorded as voting “No” on Vote #899, Housing as a Human Right. Liberals and Conservatives combined to defeat this motion, 245-45. The vote encompassed a number of statements including recognizing housing as a human right, investing in housing for Indigenous communities, develop a plan to end homelessness and much more.
Schmale and indeed the entire Conservative party were focused on convicted murderer Terri-Lynne McClintic and her move to a healing lodge and the Trudeau government’s deal on the NAFTA replacement, USMCA. Schmale did not make any statements in the House on October 2d or 3, but retweeted, made social media statements and shared links on both issues.
According to Corrections Canada, a healing lodge is a “correctional institution where we use Aboriginal values, traditions and beliefs to design services and programs for offenders. We include Aboriginal concepts of justice and reconciliation.” Terri-Lynne McClintic was transferred to a healing lodge Dec. 2017.
Schmale did not speak on Oct. 3’s sitting but did vote six different times. This included a YEA vote on Bill C-326, related to drinking water guidelines. Motion carried, 284-4. The remaining votes were mostly procedural.
Schmale did ask a question during Oct. 4’s sitting. Returning again to the Trans Mountain pipeline, Schmale asked two variations of the same question, saying “When will the government take this seriously, appeal the Federal Court ruling and request a stay of the decision so that the construction process can begin now?”
This question comes on the day after the Liberal party announced it would not appeal a decision on the Trans Mountain pipeline and instead begin new consultations with Indigenous peoples affected by the development.
On Oct. 5, Schmale wondered why an appeal and consultation couldn’t happen at the same time. Asking in the house “Why do the Liberals not recognize that they can consult and appeal at the same time, or are they just purposely stalling this project?”
Local MPP and Minister of Labour Laurie Scott’s public appearances this week included the ribbon cutting at Ken Reid’s viewing platform, Bobcaygeon Fair and the Ducks Unlimited Wetland Conservation Dinner in Coboconk (Sept. 29), a 50th wedding anniversary in Beaverton and the Sunderland Veterans Dinner (Sept 30th).
On social media, Scott made original tweets in support of ‘International Day of the Girl’ (October 3), and Ontario Agriculture Week. This week Scott retweeted Premier Doug Ford once and the Ontario Conservative’s propaganda network ‘Ontario News Now’ once, down from six the week before.
Scott’s focuses this week were on a few different topics. On Oct. 3 she reported attending a WSIB Injured Workers Outreach Services semi-annual meeting where she received both “valuable feedback” and “positive comments” about the announcements.
Scott was questioned in the Legislative Assembly about the minimum wage. On Oct. 1 she received a question from Peggy Sattler (NDP-London West) who used a personal story from her riding to demonstrate the value of a $15/hour minimum wage. Scott fell back on talking points, saying “We want businesses to be the job creators so there are more job opportunities. We want good-paying jobs in the province of Ontario. We are creating a climate so that businesses can succeed and create jobs for Frances and his family.”
Sattler followed up with a second story from her London riding that focused on the cost of living asking, “Can the minister explain how rolling back workplace benefits and protections will help contract workers like Stuart to make ends meet?” Scott again went to talking points, repeating the oft used “we are going to make Ontario open for business.”
On Oct. 2 the Hansard has a record of Scott only saying “We’re making life more affordable” to a long story story and series of questions Gilles Bison (NDP- Timmins) related to minimum wage, the sale of marijuana and much more. During the Oct. 3 and 4 sittings, Scott said nothing and does not appear to have been asked any direct questions.
Scott voted on a number of things this week. This included voting “No” on ‘Motion 8’ to add additional debate time on the appointment of a Select Committee on Fiscal transparency. The motion was defeated 38-67. Another vote was held on Oct. 2 on the same committee and the language used to govern it. Scott voted “No”, and the motion was defeated 13-64.
On Oct. 3 a motion was held around Bill 4, an Act respecting the preparation of a climate change plan, providing for the wind down of the cap and trade program and repealing the Climate Change Mitigation and Low Carbon Economy Act. All of the amendments to the bill were procedural around the language used. Scott Voted “No” and the motion was defeated, 39-70. Two additional votes to push the bill forward were approved, both 70-39 with Scott voting “AYE” on both.
Finally on Oct. 4, Scott voted “Aye” in favour of a second reading of Bill 36 “Cannabis Statute Law Amendment Act”. The motion was agreed to 72-36 and carried.
In the coming weeks, look for Scott to make statements around the scrapping of a number of employment laws. Premier Doug Ford announced on Tuesday that the Conservative government will “get rid of” a big package of labour reforms. Promising to get rid of “Bill 148”, Scott will have to address the removal of a bill that mandates equal pay for part-time and temporary workers, increases vacation entitlements and requires pay if shifts are cancelled with minimal notice, among other things.
The Lindsay Advocate will continue to cover the Minister’s movement on this file and report on any protections removed from employment laws.