Naughty or Nice: The Scuttlebutt from Queen's Park

As we wrap up the fall session of the Legislature on December 11th it's time for another edition of my Scuttlebutt, and to take a peek inside provincial politics to see who's been naughty or nice, or just a nincompoop.

However there are a few things outside of politics that I want to share with you. If you’re in the area on December 14 drop in on my annual Christmas Hootenanny at Fiddleheads in Perth for some festive treats, music by the Bowes Brothers as we have a toast to the holiday season. You can find event details and RSVP here!

Secondly, many of you may have heard in the news that my son Dillon has enlisted as a volunteer with the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Peshmerga military in their fight against ISIL. Jane and I are intensely proud of our son Dillon and appreciate the many thoughtful letters of support we have received.

Inside Queens Park

When it comes to Government Bills, the Liberal have introduced many this fall, few of which will improve the fortunes of Ontario –in my humble opinion. But they have also stifled debate using time allocation motions in an unprecedented fashion. Having put time allocations on close to half the bills coming through the Park so far, the Liberals are looking a lot like ‘The Grinch Who Stole Open Debate’.

The Nincompoops

For the record, the Nanny state of Premier Wynne has introduced 18 bills this session and had seven bills time-allocated.

Private babysitters now face fines and licensing requirements due to the newly passed Bill 10.

The Liberals continued their campaign against smokers, having moved to outlaw e-cigarettes and smoking on patios.
Last but not least, especially as far as your wallets concerned, they’re increasing the fines and placing more restrictions on driving a vehicle.

The Naughty

We’ve seen the MaRS debacle unfold with hundreds of millions of dollars wasted, more glitches with the new $ 250 million computer system at ODSP and the AG’s confirmation of what has been a long acknowledged problem in our riding, hydro inefficiencies and billing schemes.

I continued heading up the Estimates Committee as it came to a close near the end of November. We saw the Ministry of Community and Social Services in committee where I questioned the merits of the new SAMS system. Just last week we saw this very system cause the $250 million “glitch” of overpayments and non-payments. I asked the House to bring back the Ministry to be examined by Committee in further detail after these realizations, but I feel I’ll sooner get a piece of coal from the Liberals than another committee hearing.

When the Minister of Energy came before the committee I blasted him on his claim that Ontario had “competitive” energy rates and inquired into the general practices of the Ministry and how the energy grid works in this province. Having numerous years as an electrician under my belt, the Minister wasn’t able to simply brush off my observations due to a lack of understanding, as we saw him do in his response to the scathing Auditor General’s report from this week. You can view the video here.

Continuing on the theme from last month, we see more information coming to light about the ballooning cost to the taxpayers for the Liberal Christmas present of a new office tower to MaRS. I have continued to question the Minister of Infrastructure on these costs and dealings with MaRS to continuously receive nothing but slippery and lubricious responses from the Minister, or flat of denials and deflections of my questions. You can see those videos here!

The Nice

With all the Liberal Scrooging around as of late, it’s enough to make you say Humbug! Thankfully there were still many reasons to be full of cheer this Christmas season.

First off, I was in Smiths Falls for the annual Remembrance Day commemoration at Veteran’s Memorial Park. It was a wonderful celebration of the sacrifice and commitment the members of our armed forces have made in the name of freedom, democracy and peace. Special thanks to the RCL and the Gordon pipe band. Just as the 2 minutes of silence was ending Bobby Hanson’s redneck airforce jet fighter did a high speed low level pass on his way to the Perth ceremony.

I had the opportunity to speak on the Opposition Day Motion to establish a select committee to investigate the prevalence of sexual assault throughout the province. I believe we need to take a critical look at the current system and identify and change areas and policies that deter victims from reporting there perpetrators. You can see my full response here.

I also was in Napanee for the announcement of "The Road to the Worlds" junior hockey game that’s being held on December 19. I was joined by my favorite left winger of all time, Wendel Clark, for the announcement, which led to an overall fun and exciting evening.

Once again, I hope to see many of you at my Christmas Hootenanny at Fiddleheads in Perth on December 14th, from 2-4pm, to celebrate some Christmas cheer. In the meantime, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy and safe New Year, from my family to yours.