Thursday at 1.45pm.
The Ford Government has now ruled out any consultations with the public on Bill 5 (the Better Local Government Act).
At Queen’s Park this morning (Thursday 9 August 2018) the Government introduced a so-called “timetable motion” or “guillotine” which severely restricts the time available to consider the proposed legislation. (See the text below.)
The Official Opposition in response tabled an amendment to the Government’s motion which was accepted by the Chair. This means it will go to a vote.
The NDP amendment seeks to commit the Bill to the Standing Committee on General Government which would hold public hearings on August 20thand 22nd from 2pm-8pm. Those appearing before the Committee would be selected on a first-come first-served basis. Under the terms of the NDP amendment the Committee would have to complete its consideration of the Bill by 30 August when it would have to report to the House.
Clearly, the amendment will be voted down by the PC Government – despite what its leading members have said about timetable or guillotine motions in the past.
In an entertaining speech this morning, the NDP Member for Timiskaming-Cochrane, John Vanthof, drew attention to the hypocrisy of PC Ministers Steve Clark, Todd Smith and John Yakabuski who have all said critical things about timetable motions in the recent past.
In their own words they have all condemned timetable motions as undemocratic. But now they are dancing to their Master's tune and will be voting to curtail debate.
Update on 10 August 2018: Toronto Mayor John Tory urges Ford to think again about cutting the Council in half.
"Time after time, we’ve had negotiations where all of a sudden the government stops talking to us and presents bills that will either choke off debate or move bills through quickly without hearing from constituents".
Steve Clark MPP (now Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing) 28 May 2015
"Sometimes what happens here—my friend from Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke describes it as the guillotine coming down and slicing off debate. He makes a very effective sound effect every time the House leader or deputy House leader moves a closure motion. We’ve seen that time and time again. They should not be using a blunt instrument—and a guillotine is not a blunt instrument—to pass legislation in this House."
Todd Smith MPP (now House Leader) 13 April 2016
"Well, how can something be duly considered if you haven’t even had the opportunity to debate it? How can you say that something has been duly considered if you haven’t even allowed the public, the stakeholders—those people who will be most affected by it, those people who will be responsible for carrying it out—the opportunity to offer opinion or views as to how that legislation might be changed, altered, improved, or have some parts of it swept away altogether, because they’re not in the best interests of the people who will be most affected?
… But if you are not considering the views of others, if you’re not considering the right of the opposition to bring a different view that might make that legislation stronger, then you are not acting in the best interests of democracy."
John Yakabuski (now Minister of Transportation) 7 May 2018
Government Notice of Motion Number 4 (Timetable motion) tabled this morning:
Mr. Smith (Bay of Quinte) — That, pursuant to Standing Order 47 and notwithstanding any other Standing Order or Special Order of the House relating to Bill 5, An Act to amend the City of Toronto Act, 2006, the Municipal Act, 2001 and the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, when Bill 5 is next called as a Government Order, the Speaker shall put every question necessary to dispose of the Second Reading stage of the Bill, without further debate or amendment, and at such time the Bill shall be ordered for Third Reading, which order may be called that same day; and
That, when the Order for Third Reading of the Bill is called, 1 hour shall be allotted to the Third Reading stage of the Bill, with 30 minutes apportioned to the government, 10 minutes to Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, 10 minutes to the Liberal party independent members and 10 minutes apportioned to the Green party independent member. At the end of this time, the Speaker shall interrupt the proceedings and shall put every question necessary to dispose of this stage of the Bill without further debate or amendment; and
That, except in the case of a recorded division arising from morning Orders of the Day, pursuant to Standing Order 9(c), no deferral of the Second Reading or Third Reading vote shall be permitted; and
That, in the case of any division relating to any proceedings on the Bill, the division bell shall be limited to five minutes, except that the division bell for the vote on the motion for Third Reading shall be 15 minutes.