November 2, 2000
Ontario Legislature Question Period November 1, 2000
ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES LEGISLATION
Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): My question is for the Premier,
who just walked out of the House. I'm wondering if he's coming
The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Stop the clock. The Premier is
close at hand. The member may proceed.
Mr Martin: Premier, why is your government so insistent on adding
insult to injury where the disabled are concerned in this province?
Your minister put out a press release just the other day saying
that you have no business introducing an Ontarians with
Disabilities Act. As a matter of fact, she went further, to suggest
that maybe a Web site with practical information in it might be the
way to go. Is it your intention, if you get enough in this province
printing off material from your Web site, that you would have
enough paper to then build ramps for the disabled so they can
access facilities in this province? Is that your plan?
Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): No.
Mr Martin: Then what is your plan? The press release was obviously
a cynical ploy. You refuse to meet with the Ontarians with
Disabilities Act Committee, who are a cross-section of the disabled
in this province. However, when your minister meets with somebody
from the business community who suggests that we go with voluntary
compliance, she comes out with her press release saying that
perhaps that's the way we should go. If voluntary compliance is the
answer, why do thousands and thousands of disabled Ontarians face
barriers to workplaces, to movie theatres, to public telephones and
other public and private services in this province?
Hon Mr Harris: I'm sorry if you thought anybody was doing anything
cynical--I think those were the words in your question, and it's a
silly suggestion. Unfortunately, I see a number of your members
smirking. I don't know why you don't take this matter a lot more
seriously. Maybe it's because you had five years when you were in
government and you did absolutely nothing to bring in an act for
Ontarians with disabilities. You ignored them completely. I'm very
proud of the fact that our minister is consulting in a major way to
bring forward a meaningful Ontarians with Disabilities Act,
something your government failed to do.