The Lindsay Advocate explores what our local MPP and MP did each week on behalf of their constituents in the public eye. We will highlight how our representatives voted and what issues they talked about during the week, and, in some cases, highlight if there was any significant outside push-back.
On September 8th Conservative MP Jamie Schmale posted on Facebook and Twitter about attending the Haliburton Highlands Outdoor Association’s 19th Annual Conservation Dinner at the Haliburton Legion. September 9th, Schmale was on the move again posting pictures and a story (Facebook) from Pontypool where he was a part of a ceremony (Twitter) ‘honouring some of the 48,000 war brides and their children that come to Canada’.
On September 10th, Schmale posted a picture from the desk of the show ‘Ottawa Report’ on the local channel ‘YourTV’ which airs throughout the week. He spoke about a lack of workers for local businesses. When asked about solutions for this he suggested looking at the labour participation rate and adjusting the benefit cut-off point for people on government assistance to provide the incentive to work.
This statement comes the same week as the CEO of CIBC, Victor Dodig emphasized the solution to a lack of workers is immigration. (Globe and Mail paywall) saying; “…we need to increase the number of people that we welcome to our country…We need to lean in at this moment in time. This is not a policy that can wait.”
September 12th saw Schmale at the Sunderland Fall Fair and September 13th he posted about meeting with the consulate general of Japan, Takato Ito, in Lindsay. According to a Facebook post they spoke about ‘economic opportunities’.
Minister of Labour and local MPP Laurie Scott indicated through Twitter she spent September 8th in Lindsay with MP Jamie Schmale and MPP Michael Parsa meeting with ‘Ontario entrepreneurs’ and repeating Premier Doug Ford’s slogan that ‘Ontario is open for business’. She did not tweet directly again until September 12th, though she did retweet a number of messages from fellow MPPs around core PC party messaging. This included a number of retweets from ‘Ontario News Now’, the Ontario Conservatives media account, made to look like a legitimate news source.
She was then recalled to Toronto on September 12th 2018 to take part in the debate and vote on Bill 31, entitled “Efficient Local Government Act”. This bill cuts the size of the Toronto City Council from 47 to 25 seats, in the midst of the cities election buildup. It also, for the first time in Ontario history, invokes the Notwithstanding Clause of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The bill’s introduction was met by much protest from the NDP, and the removal, in handcuffs of some seniors in attendance as well as most of the NDP caucus. The bill passed first reading 63 in favour to 17 opposed.
Scott voted in favour of the bill. According to the official Hansard, she made no statement during the entire session of September 12th 2018.
Scott took to Twitter for the first time in four days at around 6:30 pm on September 12th 2018 to defend her vote and the action of her government, saying that Section 33 of the charter is a part of our constitution and does not override it. The response to her tweet was largely negative with many people claiming they were not being responded to by her office.
The legislature sat again on September 13th 2018 and according to the Hansard, Scott once again, did not say anything throughout the entire session. At around 2 pm in the afternoon her official Facebook account did post a video from the PC party-run “Ontario News Now” repeating her message that ‘Section 33 is a part of our constitution and does not override it’.
On Friday, September 14th 2018 the Financial Post published an article from Laurie Scott committing to cancel the planned minimum wage increase to $15 and keep the minimum wage at $14. Scott claims August job numbers show the minimum wage increase is hurting job creation. Her article comes one day before large rallies are planned to celebrate 15 weeks until a $15/hr minimum wage increase was to take effect.
(CBC reported that the loss of jobs in August was 92,000 part-time positions, but that August also featured a “notable bright spot” – that full-time jobs rose by 40,400.)
The Ontario legislature did not sit on Friday and was not to reconvene until Wednesday. However in a memo, obtained by CBC, the Ford government announced a plan to its members to sit at ‘atypical times’ in order to ‘pass Bill 31 in a timely manner’. The Doug Ford government has ordered the house to sit on Saturday, September 15th 2018.
The Advocate will cover any statements or votes by Minister Scott in next week’s summary.