Ontario’s 43rd Congress will convene in Queens Park on Monday for a rare summer session following June’s elections.
Don’t expect MPPs to start deliberating or passing bills right away. You have important business matters to deal with first.
Before the legislature begins — yes, the Ontario legislature is a legislature, but usually reserves its term to the federal legislature — it must elect a speaker. In a parliamentary system, the speaker is the referee who coordinates debates on the floor, calls bills for debate or vote, calls unruly members to give orders, and decides if and when the rules have been broken. .
Speakers, even if they are the ruling party, are independent of the government and are there to serve all members, all citizens.
Current speaker Ted Arnott is a Progressive Conservative MPP from Riding Wellington Halton Hills. On Monday, when the MPP elects speakers by secret ballot, Arnott will be challenged by his fellow PC MPP Nina Tangri, who will represent Mississauga-Streetsville riding.
Officially, Prime Minister Doug Ford is neutral on the matter. Unofficially, however, Ford and his entourage support Tangri. If elected, she will be the first woman in Ontario’s history to play the role.
Once a speaker has been selected, the House of Representatives can be called to order a speech from the throne to take place on Tuesday.
Officially acting on behalf of the Queen of Ontario, the speech read aloud to Parliament by the Lieutenant Governor is a highly political document that sets out the government’s priorities. Staff at the prime minister’s office have been crafting this speech over the past few weeks, many of which are very similar to campaign pledges.
what to expect
Transportation infrastructure: From the Toronto subway, the Hamilton LRT, and the highway. With Highway 413, the Bradford Bypass, and numerous local road projects, Prime Minister Ford worked hard to get Ontario moving again. We can expect to hear how his government will “get it done” with these projects.
Health fixes: In 2018, one of Ford’s big promises was to improve healthcare and end “corridor medicine.” Despite early progress, much of it has been derailed by the pandemic. With ER and other closures this summer, it’s creeping right now. Expect to hear not only how the government will deal with this, but how it will build new hospitals or expand existing hospitals statewide.
Achievable Housing: When most politicians talk about affordable housing, they are talking about income-matched rent or some form of public housing. During the election, Ford pledged to build 1.5 million homes over 10 years to increase supply and keep prices down. It’s not fully fleshed out yet, but given how much he’s discussed this in his campaign trail, we should expect some hints in his Thrones speech.
Local government reform: Although he did not talk about reforming city government during the state campaign, Ford has since pledged to introduce what is known as a strong mayoral system in Toronto and Ottawa. Although the mayor is elected city-wide, he essentially has the same voting rights as the local councilors. Find out if this promise in the Speech to the throne stays just in Toronto and Ottawa, or expands to other major cities across the state, including Hamilton, Windsor, London, Mississauga and Brampton.
Creating blue-collar jobs: Much of what the government can and will do in this area has already happened. They have contracted and expanded with every major auto operator in the state. They have made multiple announcements about the move to green steel and the decision by multiple companies to locate in Ontario as part of their chain of electric vehicle supply. On Tuesday, expect them to take the winning lap and spend some bragging time at the front of that line.
what the opposition wants
The NDP, Liberals and Greens each have a different vision of what the Speech to the Crown should be about.
The problem for them is that voters chose not to put them in power on June 2, even though they had the chance.
NDP interim leader Peter Tubbs issued a news release on Friday to repeal Bill 124, which limits pay increases for public sector workers, reduce school class sizes and extend paid sick leave to all workers. It read like every news release the NDP put out during the pandemic read like their platform during the election campaign.
It’s easy to say the NDP is out of ideas, but the liberals and the Greens have made nearly identical demands last week, and it’s not much better.
Politically, one of the best things Ford has for him is that both the NDP and the liberals lack leaders and are unable to provide firm opposition. It should make it easier to execute the agenda.
Congress will continue until mid-September, with a break until after Thanksgiving.
LILLEY: Ford sets agenda as MPPs meet for summer meeting
Source link LILLEY: Ford sets agenda as MPPs meet for summer meeting