The scandals continue to add up as the Wynne Liberal Government is now up to four OPP investigations. On receiving letters from the PC and NDP house leaders, the Chief Electoral Officer of Ontario (CEO), Greg Essensa conducted an investigation into the actions of representatives of the Liberal Party in the February 5, 2015 Sudbury by-election. On Feb 19, 2015, the CEO reported back to the Speaker. In his letter he stated, “Having reviewed the evidence and findings from this regulatory investigation, I am of the opinion that the actions of Gerry Lougheed Jr. and Patricia Sorbara amount to apparent contraventions of subsection 96.1 (e) of the Elections Act as reflected in my attached report.” This section defines bribery and he turned the matter over to the Attorney General of Ontario as it is not within his mandated to conduct prosecutions.
The government also pushed ahead on Bill 56, the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP). Studies are pointing out that the vast majority of Canadians retire at the same standard of living, or better than their working life, 3rd best record in the world. They also point out that this additional uncompetitive payroll tax will cause an additional 160,000 person years of unemployment, something we just can’t afford now. Since you must pay into it for a significant number of years to receive any appreciable pension, the unemployed, people paying into a qualifying pension, such as the public service, and anyone who is retired will not receive any benefits from it. Instead of targeting the people who need government help, this bill is being promoted with a confusing message and is all about generating another source of money that this government openly intends to use to pay for more of their failed policies.
The government also released details of their revised Sex-Ed program, weeks earlier than the Premier reported just last week, in an effort to deflect the heat they are receiving over the Sudbury by-election bribery scandal. Nobody questions the need to update policies that were last updated before the days of the internet, but we had hoped the ministry would take time to complete the meaningful consultation they committed to and take the time required to include it in the policies.
This week I will be tabling my private member’s bill, Bill 54 – Right To Care Act for second reading. The bill will allow Children’s Aid Societies to provide assistance to 16 and 17 year old children who need help, but have never been a client before. These youths do not qualify today and many are forced to drop out of school and turn to a life of crime just to survive. Our children are our future and it must be a priority for the government to ensure they have the best chance to lead a long and productive life.
MPP, Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry