Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle (from left), Premier Kathleen Wynne, Finance Minister Charles Sousa and MPP Bill Mauro address the media during Wynne’s visit to Thunder Bay on Tuesday, Sept. 3.
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Michael Gravelle is encouraged by cross-party co-operation at Queen’s Park, less than a day after Premier Kathleen Wynne threatened a snap election if the Conservatives and NDP refuse to support the Liberal agenda.
Gravelle, the Minister of Northern Development and Mines in Wynne’s cabinet, on Tuesday said seeing all three parties support consumer protection legislation is a good sign.
It hasn’t always been that way, he added.
“Certainly in the spring session we weren’t seeing a great deal of success in getting legislation forward that actually had the support of the parties, particularly the Conservatives,” Gravelle said, reached via phone in Toronto.
“Today I think is an indication, at least that’s how I’m reading it, of a positive sense that indeed there is a belief that a minority government can work. We all have a lot of work to do. The premier’s focus is clearly on finding a way to make minority government work ... in the best interest of the people in the province.”
Wynne told Toronto media on Monday she expects both the Conservatives and NDP to follow through and support legislation that in the past they’ve suggested they’d back, including tanning-bed bans for teens and consumer-friendly cellphone contracts.
“There are issues that we agree on, issues that are non-partisan, and we should be able to move ahead on those,” Wynne told Queen’s Park reporters.
The premier has also asked for meetings with Tory Leader Tim Hudak and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath to drive the message home, according to the Toronto Star.
Gravelle said he didn’t want to speak on behalf of other parties, but noted the NDP has worked with the Liberals in the past, including compromises on the provincial budget, deliberations which threatened the Liberal hold on government.
“The difficulties, I think, have been more expressed by the Conservatives, certainly again in the spring not wanting to co-operate, even on issues or pieces of legislation that were important to their own base,” Gravelle said.
MPP Bill Mauro (Thunder Bay-Atikokan) said it’s clear Wynne does not want to call an election, and that a forced vote could be laid solely at the feet of the NDP and Conservatives.
“There are bills before the House that have been held up by the opposition parties for a significant amount of time. Some of them are bills that opposition parties have previously expressed support for. So for them now to not allow legislation to move forward would seem to contradict their previous decisions,” Mauro said.
“I think from our perspective there’s work that we feel needs to be done. It’s a minority Parliament. I think the electorate expects people to get along and to try to make a minority work. We’re only two years into a mandate.”
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