Saturday, April 20, 2024

Ontario legislature resumes with introduction of contentious omnibus bill

First Published:

The Ontario legislature returned Tuesday with the Ford government’s introduction of legislation it claims will make life cheaper for everyone in the province.

Its legislation opposition parties say won’t do much of anything to help people, while they say the government is simply not dealing with serious problems facing the province.

After an extended holiday break, the opposition was demanding the Conservative government apologize for its controversial legislation that limited public service salary increases before it was struck down by the courts.

“My question to the premier is will he apologize to Ontario’s hard working nurses, PSWS, teachers, educational assistants and all the public services workers?” NDP leader Marit Stiles asked during Tuesday’s question period in Queen’s Park.

“I don’t think the leader of the opposition really cares about the people and making sure they keep the costs down, taxes down, because she’s voted constantly against us reducing the tax.” shot back Ford.

READ MORE: Ontario legislature resuming with Bill 124 repeal, politically charged omnibus bill

There was no apology, only the introduction of another new piece of legislation.

“This bill will also make life more affordable for families and businesses across the province.” claimed transportation minister Prabmeet Sarkaria.

What has been dubbed the “Get It Done Act” would require all future governments to hold a referendum on any new carbon tax, despite the fact that this government cannot dictate the actions of future governments.

Additionally, it would ban all new highway tolls, though it would not remove that of Highway 407, extend a current freeze on driver’s license fees and streamline approvals for future infrastructure projects and housing.

House leader Paul Calandra says it means the government won’t force Hamilton to extend its urban boundary after consulting with the city.

READ MORE: Ontario finance minister cancels LCBO pilot that would ID customers before entry

The opposition, however, says the government is simply putting on a show with the new legislation.

“This omnibus bill the government is introducing today is just a distraction from the government’s scandals that they’re mired in and what real people in this province are struggling with, which is the cost of living.” said Stiles.

“The get it done wrong act is going to take Ontario backwards. Its performative politics at its worst.” stated Green Party leader Mike Schreiner.

Liberal leader Bonnie Crombie made an appearance outside of the legislative chamber, announcing that she is considering running for a seat in the legislature that is open in Milton.

READ MORE: Ontario’s plan to get rid of blue licence plates is to sit back and wait

Though she remained quiet on her party’s support on a potential carbon tax saying, “we will come up with a plan for the next election that will be fair to all Ontarians.”

Of additional significance was the introduction of a new MPP into the chamber.

Aislinn Clancy of the Green Party was escorted into the chamber by his party’s leader. She becomes the second Green MPP to take a seat in legislature after being elected in a by-election in Kitchener last November.

Schreiner has now doubled the size of his party’s caucus, a feat that brought federal party leaders, including Elizabeth May, to Queen’s Park to show their support.

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