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Members' Statements
in the Ontario Legislature

re: ODA Legislation

October 5, 2000

Question Period


Mr Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition): My question is for
the Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation. Minister, I want to
return to the matter of your betrayal of Ontario's disabled community
and particularly to the secret document that you had submitted to cabinet
on the subject of a new Ontarians with disabilities act. In particular,
I want to draw your attention to those things that you considered putting
into law but which you rejected.

It says here that you considered extending the law to eliminate
barriers in our hospitals and our schools, but you rejected that.
It says that you considered merely encouraging private sector to
improve access, not compelling, merely encouraging, but you
rejected that. It said that you considered creating a separate
agency to help remove barriers for people in Ontario who have
disabilities and you rejected that. Minister, all the very things
that are absolutely essential to a real Ontarians with disabilities
act you rejected.

I ask you again, why have you betrayed the community in Ontario
that has disabilities?


Mr Steve Peters (Elgin-Middlesex-London): You're the biggest
barrier facing this province.

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Member take his seat. Order. Last
warning to the member for Elgin-Middlesex-London. You can't shout
out like that. Last warning. Minister?

Hon Mrs Johns: Let me say first off that this government is
committed to working with Ontarians to make Ontario the best place
to work, live and raise their families. We're committed to having
that economic strength and we're committed to making sure that we
help people with disabilities to be able to have the same lives as
other Ontarians.

We promised legislation; we're moving forward with that
legislation. We said we would move forward within the goal posts of
the Common Sense Revolution to improve the lives of persons with
disabilities all across this wonderful province. We said we would
put forward legislation by 2001, and we intend to do that. I
promised yesterday that the legislation would be fair and it would
be reasonable, not only for people with disabilities, but for
people who are in the position of accommodating those needs. We
intend to keep that promise.

The Speaker: Supplementary.

Mr McGuinty: Minister, the jig is up. You have been found out.
People now know what your real intentions are. I produced your
secret recommendations to cabinet. You have no intention whatsoever
of standing up for Ontarians with disabilities.

Mike Harris promised to enact an Ontarians with Disabilities Act
during his first term in office and he broke that promise. Last
term you personally voted for a resolution on the 11 principles
that you promised your legislation would include. You promised in
particular that your new act would apply to hospitals and schools.
You've broken that promise. You promised that it would include a
new agency to help remove barriers. You've broken that promise as
well. You promised to eliminate barriers in the private sector. You
have broken that promise as well.

Minister, you are no longer of any value and of any use to
Ontarians with disabilities. Do the honourable thing: step aside
and resign.


The Speaker: Member take his seat. Stop the clock. I have to name
the member for Elgin-Middlesex-London and ask him to leave. We
can't have a situation like that. I name him and ask him to
withdraw from the chamber.

Mr Peters: Speaker, I will not withdraw that statement; on behalf
of 1.5 million-

The Speaker: Member take his seat.

Mr Peters was escorted from the chamber.

The Speaker: Minister. Sorry for the interruption.

Hon Mrs Johns: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Let me be very
clear about the promises that were made by Mike Harris and this
government. Mike Harris promised in 1995 that he would put forward
a bill that related to Ontarians with disabilities, and he did
that. He did that in 1997. At that time the Ontario disability
community asked that he pull that back and have another look at it,
and we are doing that. We've promised in the throne speech that we
would come forward with an action plan in this session, and we
still stand by that commitment.

We also promised that we would have legislation by November 2001,
and we live by that commitment. The legislation will be fair and it
will be reasonable. The action plan will be fair and it will be
reasonable. We intend to improve the lives of people with
disabilities all across the province.

The Speaker: I'm afraid the minister's time is up.


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