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Ontario Government's
New ODA Bill 125
hansard November 29, 2001


Ontario Hansard Thursday, November 29, 2001



Question Period

Mr Ernie Parsons (Prince Edward-Hastings): My question is for the Minister of Citizenship. I feel sorry for the spot that you're in, having to force this bill through. Very clearly it is being done for election purposes so that you can appear to have kept your commitment.

I'm going to suggest to you that you look for support within your own caucus to stop this bill. You need to say to the Minister of Labour, "This bill will not get one more person a job." You need to say to the Minister of Housing, "You've got to help me. This bill won't make one accessible housing unit." You need to talk to the Minister of Health and say, "This bill will not help one person with a disability get medical services." You need to say to the minister of travel, who is so pleased about the numbers, that this bill still will not allow visitors to our province to have access to hotel rooms; for tourists in theatres, nothing.

Minister, you don't want to listen to us. That's very clear with the time allocation on the bill. You need to listen to the disabled community. This bill is being rammed through. Will you extend the public hearings so that 1.6 million Ontarians have a legitimate mechanism to speak to you and share their challenges?

Hon Cameron Jackson (Minister of Citizenship, minister responsible for seniors): On the theme of "Will you...?" will you tell the people of Ontario what the Liberal Party and what a Liberal government would do for disabled persons in this province? We've heard the yapping and the harping --


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Order. The member for Windsor West and the member for Toronto Centre-Rosedale, please come to order.

Hon Mr Jackson: I would hope the member from Windsor goes to the public hearings in Windsor. I understand that there is a full day of discussion and input from the disabilities community in Windsor, her own backyard.

They have yet to hear where Dalton McGuinty stands on the disabled. We know -- it is a public record -- that the Liberals failed to make one commitment to the disabilities community in the last election. In the previous election to that, they failed to make one commitment to the disabled community in this province. It's time you came clean and told Ontarians with disabilities where you stand.

Mr Parsons: If you want Dalton McGuinty and the Ontario Liberals to do your job, that's fine. We have in the past and we will continue to do it. We have put on record that we will, first of all, hold full public consultations, which you have not, and we will adhere to the 11 recommendations which were supported by your party and not followed.

Minister, there is more to Ontario than Ottawa, Windsor, Toronto, Thunder Bay and Sudbury. For a person requiring mobility transportation to get to the hearings, it is virtually impossible in the time frame that you have created. For people needing assistance in putting together a brief, for people needing to get there and look you in the eye, that is not possible with these rammed-through meetings.

If you genuinely want to talk to people whose very quality of life rests in your hands, you need to extend the hearings and give them a real, genuine opportunity to meet and give you suggestions on what should be done. We've done it, you've seen it and you need to listen to them. Will you extend your hearings?

Hon Mr Jackson: There has been a tremendous amount of consultation. Not only has our government done extensive consultations throughout the province; his own caucus, the Liberal party, conducted hearings. We have reams of paper, tonnes of information, we've listened out there.

What this government has done is make a commitment to bring in the first and most comprehensive disabilities legislation anywhere in Canada. That's where we stand. What we're still waiting to hear from you is, when will you stop talking process and start talking about people? When are you going to stop promising the earth, the moon and the stars and settle down and start committing to the disabled community in this province exactly what a Liberal government would provide? Do you know what? They haven't heard a single commitment from the Ontario Liberal Party, not a single commitment. It's about time you came clean with the citizens of Ontario and told them what you would do.


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