Liberal MPP Bill Mauro on Friday said provincial legislators will only lose about four weeks of sitting time at Queen's Park because of Premier Dalton McGuinty's decision to prorogue the House.
0 Percent for 6 Years on 2013 RVR's and OutlandersGood things don't last forever and the deals on these vehicles won't either. Visit Thunder Bay Mitsubishi today!www.thunderbaymitsubishi.ca
Despite mounting pressure from opposition parties, Thunder Bay’s Liberal MPPs maintain outgoing Premier Dalton McGuinty was justified in proroguing the Ontario legislature.
On Friday, with NDP MPPs launching a back-to-work campaign, their attempt to have McGuinty recall the legislature, Michael Gravelle said the atmosphere at Queen’s Park was making it almost impossible to get any work done.
The government was struggling to broker a deal with public-sector workers and earlier forced through legislation that essentially took away their right to bargain collectively.
Gravelle said it’s easier to bargain outside the legislature, which is why he’s hesitatingly supporting the premier’s decision.
“I’m as uncomfortable as anyone with prorogation. I do believe that we should obviously have an opportunity to be in the House at all times. And I want to be there to not just respond to the debates that go on and the questions that come to me," Gravelle said.
“But the fact is we are in a situation now where the premier is trying to get a wage-freeze agreement and the signals are that indeed he might have more success doing it in an atmosphere outside of the House.”
Gravelle said taxpayers needn’t worry, adding he expects all parties to be back at Queen’s Park sooner, rather than later, though he did suggest it may not be until a new Liberal leader, and thus premier, is chosen.
“And in the meantime I’m working hard, as are all my colleagues. I’ll be working with the opposition. I’ll be working with everyone to try to make sure we are doing are job,” Gravelle said, noting taxpayers have a right to be concerned.
“They have every right to expect a government that works hard and members who work hard. One of the points I’ve made over the years is some of the most significant work we do is outside of the legislature, in our ridings and working with opposition members that even since Monday I’ve had a number of interactions with my colleagues, both from the government side and the opposition side related to what we’re working on.”
Opponents of prorogation are up in arms about being shut out from Queen’s Park, stating it means current bills and motions have been lost, including a review of the Local Health Integration Networks, a bill that would prevent future government scandals like Ornge and all private members’ bills.
MPP Cindy Forster (NDP, Welland) said Friday in a release that voters elected representatives to do a job and the Ontario Liberals, faced with a leadership crisis after McGuinty announced his resignation on Monday, are more interested in their internal problems than with governing the province.
“When they closed the doors of Queen’s Park, a lot of important work ceased, including an investigation into the cancellation of the Mississauga and Oakville gas plants,” Forster said. “It’s obvious to everyone that the scandal was spiraling out of control, and kicking us out of Queen’s Park was the easiest way to stop it.”
Earlier this week Kenora NDP MPP Sarah Campbell told local media the prorogation would have an adverse affect on her ability to push legislation beneficial to the North.
“Later this month I was set to introduce my first private member’s bill that was aimed at setting the economic conditions necessary to expand the Northern economy. The lock out kills this bill and means a new random draw will be held when we are allowed back, which could delay the bill by a year or more,” Campbell said.
Thunder Bay-Atikokan Liberal MPP Bill Mauro said it’s a case of the pot calling the kettle black, pointing to much longer prorogations called by both the Conservative and NDP governments of the past.
And, he added, it will really only cost the House about four weeks of actual sitting time before the traditional holiday shutdown.
“We shouldn’t let others get away with overstating the length of time that this is really affecting. We would normally rise at the beginning of December,” Mauro said, backing McGuinty’s decision.
“That’s about eight weeks from now. There are at least two constituency weeks, so that’s six weeks of sitting. And we went back to the legislature two weeks early.”
Click here to submit a letter to the editor.