On your mark, get set – pass these Bills!
Over the course of a four year term, a sitting legislature can vote on hundreds of proposed bills. In this current session of the Ontario legislature, MPP’s have sat 169 days (to Friday April 29 2016) and in that time period 235 bills have been brought forward. Some have been passed and made law, some have ‘died’ at second reading and many are still waiting to have their day in committee before a third vote is held. Of the 235 Bills that have been introduced, 134 are sitting at various stages in the legislative process. Most of the bills that have been passed were sponsored by the government.
Bills introduced by individual MPP’s are Private Members Bills (PMB). There are many very good PMB’s introduced. Most though will die when a session of legislature ends – through an election or when a government prorogues the legislature.
An example of a great PMB is that of the Ontario NDP’s Cheri DiNovo Bill 2, a bill that woild extend WSIB to First Responders sufferring from PTSD. Her bill was introduced July 2014 and never made it passed 1st Reading in the house meaning it was never debated at all. If this bill sounds familiar, the government rejected her bill and introduced their own PTSD bill, Bill 163. It was introduced February18 2016 and was law May 6th. Patrick Brown supported Cheri DiNovo’s Bill 2 from the first day he sat as an MPP and Leader of the Oppostion in Queen’s Park, Bill 2 was a good idea.
There a many other good PMB’s sitting just gathering dust. Here are three I think that should receive their time in Committee and a third reading at Queens Park now before the summer recess (or prorogation).
Bill 131, Opportunity in the Sharing Economy Act, Introduced by Tim Hudak MPP, Niagara West-Glanbrook.
Now that Council has voted to make Ride Sharing legal in Ottawa and now that the City of Toronto is currently debating it, the Ontario government needs to step up and debate this 21stEconomic driver. The Sharing economy is the ‘industrial revolution of our times’. The province needs to debate, vote and lead on this important issue. The bill is currently sitting waiting to be discussed in the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.
Bill 54, Right to Care Act (Children 16 years and Older) introduced by Jim McDonell MPP Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry.
This is an important bill for our youth in Onatrio. This bill would extend provisions and assistance provided by the Ontario Children’s Aid Society to youth over the age of 16 and under 18 years. It would be a bridge between youth and adulthood and prepare these young people for life outside of the CAS. Bill 54 is a re-introduction of a bill by former PC Barrie MPP Rod Jackson who lost in the 2014 election, his bill died when the election that year was called. Bill 54 is currently stalled in the Standing Committee of Social Policy.
Finally, there is Bill 149, Rowan’s Law Advisory Committee Act, Introduced by Lisa MacLeod MPP Nepean-Carleton, John Fraser MPP Ottawa South and Catherine Fife MPP Kitchener Centre.
It is not often that all three parties in the house come together to support a bill from one MPP. That has happened with Lisa MacLeod’s Bill 149. It is co-sponsored by Ottawa South Liberal John Fraser and Kitchener Centre NDP MPP Catherine Fife. Bill 149 has received a passionate second reading debate including a wonderful speech from Lisa MacLeod (Video courtesy of @VideoManOttawa).
The Bill as proposed would work to prevent children and youth deaths due to concussions. The bill was borne out of the early death of Nepean’s Rowan Stringer who passed away due to a concussion suffered while playing sports. This bill is waiting for the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly to hear witnesses and report back to the house. You might think that this is a bill that all parties (including the government) want to see passed – they all have a stake in it.
The status of these three bills is in jeopardy due to persistent rumours of Kathleen Wynne proroguing the house and starting fresh with a new throne speech some time later. Good bills do not deserve to die on the order table due to the vanity of the government of the day.
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