A busy week for both the MP and MPP as both houses were sitting this week, including weekend sessions in Ontario. It’s also fair season around the Kawartha Lakes and those two combined made for a non stop week of appearances and activity.
Let’s start with public appearances around the Kawartha Lakes. September 14th saw local MP Jamie Schmale at the Beaverton Fall Fair, September 15th at a vintage car show in Little Britain, September 16th at the Minden Terry Fox Run and the Parkinson’s Superwalk in Haliburton. September 18th Schmale welcomed the Kawartha Lakes Paramedics to the Ontario Paramedics Ride and September 19th he was back in Lindsay for the LEX Parade.
The House of Commons was back in session in Ottawa and Schmale was there. He posed a number of questions throughout the week. On September 18th he posed a question about the Trans Mountain Pipeline in Alberta saying “A strong Alberta energy sector creates jobs right across Canada.” He linked jobs in Alberta to jobs in Ontario and asked “When will the Prime Minister finally present a plan to Canadians to get Trans Mountain built?”
Schmale also posed a question about veteran affairs on September 20th 2018, questioning why veteran affairs is providing veteran benefits to a ‘convicted cop killer.’ Schmale asked ‘Does the Prime Minister actually believe that Chris Garnier should be receiving benefits from Veterans Affairs?’
This is a question the Minister of Veterans Affairs addressed on August 29th, promising a review. The PCs continued their questioning after the session and further detail on the root of this concern and the Liberal response has been covered by the CBC.
On September 21, 2018, Schmale was again asking about the Trans Mountain Pipeline. After the Liberals announced they were ordering the National Energy Board to reconsider the Trans Mountain Pipeline project, Schmale stood up in the House to say the approach is “piecemeal” and “isn’t inspiring confidence in anyone.”
At the time of publication there had been five votes held in the house during the week and Schmale participated in three, all of them related. He voted in favour of Bill C-79 to implement the Trans Pacific Partnership, which passed 256-44. Against a motion to amend Bill C-79, which did not pass 48-242 and then finally in favour of the second reading of Bill C-79 to refer the bill to the Standing Committee on International Trade, which passed 242-48. In all three instances he voted with both the ruling Liberal party and his own party.
Minister of Labour and MPP Laurie Scott’s week was no less busy as her government summoned MPs to sit on Saturday at noon and Sunday/Monday morning at midnight in an attempt to pass the bill to cut the size of Toronto’s city council. Scott did not speak during the Saturday (the 15th) session, nor made any statements. She did appear in a number of images, including a tweet from Premier Ford promoting the midnight sitting and a shot of her yawning during the all nighter. September 14th, Scott was in Fenelon Falls and spoke to This Week about the debate and defended her government’s decision.
Between debates Premier Ford took time out to threaten all 460 Ontario towns with an unspecified commitment to ‘hold them accountable.’
During the midnight sitting on Monday morning Scott was asked about the decision to keep the minimum wage at $14/hour and the decision to “$2,000 a year out of the hands of the lowest-wage workers in the province.” Scott replied by repeating much of what she said in last week’s editorial in the National Post saying “We need to give employers time to adjust to the new minimum wage, which is why we promised to keep the minimum wage at $14 an hour.”
Scott did not make any statements or answer any questions during the sittings on Wednesday (19th) and Thursday (20th).
There is no record of Scott casting a vote this week either, though there were some votes held related to the riding. On Thursday September 20th 2018 a Private Members Notion of Motion No.12 was held. It called on the Government Ontario to rollback expected cuts to increases in social assistance rates, and reverse the decision to cancel the Basic Income Pilot Project. The motion was defeated 29-51 and Minister Scott did not cast a vote. It’s unclear if she was present for the vote.
Social media shows Scott had a number of engagements this week outside of her business in the legislative assembly including addressing the Ontario Construction Secretariat at their AGM (September 20), visiting the International Plowing Match in Pain Court, Chatham-Kent and the Minden Terry Fox run.