This Week in Queen’s Park
by Jim McDonell
Ontarians were shocked by the shooting in Toronto on Sunday, a tragedy that comes on the heels of more violent deaths in the city in recent months. Ontarians deserve to feel safe in their communities. As legislators, we must ensure that police have the tools to protect our residents, keep guns out of criminals’ hands and stop the flow of illegal guns across the border. Ensuring events such as Sunday’s brazen and indiscriminate attack cannot occur is a priority for any government at any level and we will work with all levels to keep Ontarians safe.
The new government’s agenda rolled through the House at top speed this week. Recognizing that Ontarians deserved an immediate solution to the problems identified in Bill 2, the Urgent Priorities Act, the government worked to pass the bill through Second and Third Reading by Wednesday afternoon. When it received Royal Assent, students could count on being back in class at York University, residents affected by the White Pines wind project found relief from their concerns and Hydro One ratepayers finally saw the utility made more transparent and accountable. I was proud to stand with my colleagues and vote in favour of delivering on the commitments I made to the residents of Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry.
This extraordinary summer session of the Assembly will continue. The government introduced the Cap and Trade Cancellation Act, which provides for an orderly wind-down of the previous government’s job-killing cap-and-trade program and establishes a framework to address the issue of climate change with the taxpayers’ interest in mind. When passed, the Act will abolish the cap-and-trade scheme and allow the government to create a Climate Change Action Plan with an associated progress reporting structure. It will also provide compensation to Cap-and-Trade participants who are not market traders and who held paid-for credits in excess of their expected emissions and who were unable to recoup the cost of the unused credits from customers. The government estimates the total cost of this compensation to be up to $5 million.
In the upcoming weeks, I will be back in the legislature as our government addresses additional time-sensitive issues affecting the people of Ontario. It will also allow for further ministerial briefings as we prepare for an unprecedented number of delegation requests at the upcoming Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference in August. We made a number of commitments over the past election campaign and we are moving as quickly as possible to act on them and to be able to say; “Promise made, promise kept.”