Ontario Hansard - Tuesday 19 November 1996.
The House met at 1330.
SERVICES FOR THE DISABLED.
Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): My question is to the Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation. When your government killed the Employment Equity Commission, you promised to put some of that money, the $9.3 million you cut from that commission, into the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Instead, not only did you not put any of those funds into the commission, but you in fact cut a further $700,000 from the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
Then today we see your big announcement of what is the main plank of your equal opportunity plan, namely, the Web site and brochure, that will do nothing to address the proven systemic discrimination and underrepresentation of women, racial minorities, people with disabilities and aboriginal peoples in most areas of employment.
Minister, my question to you is simply this: How are this spiffy Web site and brochure going to do anything to restore the 6% cuts your government has made to the Human Rights Commission and particularly how will they make your government keep your promise to increase funding to that important agency?
Hon Marilyn Mushinski (Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation): I thank the member opposite for the question because it gives me an opportunity to explain the Web site announcement and launching that was done today.
I want to assure the member opposite that this Web site has been developed in conjunction with the private sector. It's been based on partnership. It's been based on cooperation. It's not been based on coercion. It brings together those who have experience with equal opportunity and it reaffirms this government's commitment to equal opportunity as an economic benefit for all employers in this province.
Mr Silipo: We continue to see the complete arrogance --
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): It's becoming very difficult with you sitting there screaming. I can't hear the questions or the answers.
Mr Dominic Agostino (Hamilton East): She doesn't have an answer.
The Speaker: Member for Hamilton East, I don't want to engage in debate.
I'm just asking you to come to order.
Mr Silipo: We continue to see the complete arrogance that this minister and unfortunately other ministers are showing. I asked earlier for her to make a statement on this issue and she refused. Now I ask her a question about the cuts in funding to the Human Rights Commission and she makes her announcement on the Web site.
Let me ask you about another aspect of your policy that people are waiting to see some action on, because your list of broken promises doesn't end with your cuts to funding for the Human Rights Commission. Yesterday, you may know, there were present here people from the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee. They were here and had some questions for you; unfortunately, you weren't here to deal with those questions, and they certainly were not going to appear at your fake announcement, Minister. But had they come, one of the questions they would have asked you was this: When will the government take meaningful action to keep your election promise to enact an Ontarians with Disabilities Act?
Hon Ms Mushinski: In response to the honourable member's question, first of all I want to assure him that the Canadian Abilities Foundation was actively involved in compiling the disabilities section of the Web site.
Indeed, that involved over 700 questionnaires with disability groups in Ontario.
The Speaker: I say to the members of the third party, I can't hear the response.
Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): It wasn't worth it anyway.
The Speaker: Member from Cochrane, I think we'll all have to determine ourselves whether it was a worthy response. If you'd allow me to hear it, we could all make that decision.
Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): We want your opinion, okay?
Mr Bisson: When are you going to give your ruling?
The Speaker: You can't heckle the Speaker either.
Hon Ms Mushinski: With respect to an act for Ontarians with disabilities, I can assure the honourable member that this government has committed to passing such an act within the first term of this government and within the financial goalposts of this government. I am working and consulting with the disabled community to ensure that we develop the appropriate framework that is meaningful for the disabled.