Image of black text with drop shadow that reads: Ontarians With Disabilities Act Committee

Question Period - October 29 1998

Ontarians With Disabilities Legislation

Mr Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition): My question is for the Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation. Earlier today in this Legislature a resolution was debated. That resolution requires the government to introduce an Ontarians with Disabilities Act, and it sets out in very specific terms in the resolution 11 separate principles that are to be incorporated into that legislation, which, as I understand it, you are going to be introducing in this Legislature.

I have a very simple question to ask you on behalf of the 1.5 million members of the disabled community in Ontario: Do you support that resolution? Will you introduce legislation which incorporates the 11 specific principles laid out in the resolution, debated and supported by everybody in this Legislature, all those present earlier today?

Hon Isabel Bassett (Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation): First of all, all of us in this Legislature, in fact in Ontario I'd think, are committed to the principle of improving access for people with disabilities. Where we differ is on how we are going to achieve that goal. Your approach and the approach that was in the non-binding resolution that was passed by everybody involved more bureaucracy and job quotas, among other things, for starters.

As a legislator, my job is to listen to and balance the needs of all sectors of our society, and that does not mean that we are not committed to bringing in and introducing an ODA, which the Premier did promise, which we are committed to doing and which we are well on the way to doing.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Supplementary.

Mr Gilles E. Morin (Carleton East): Minister, we've spent a lot of time speaking to people with disabilities all across Ontario. They all know that your proposal was hollow. It was little more than window dressing so you can say that Mike Harris kept his word. They know that your government's priority is spending money on re-election advertising. You said a minute ago that you had the full support of the House. Is that why not a single minister was present this morning to vote on our Liberal resolution?

Hon Ms Bassett: I would say somebody with your experience in the House should know that private members' resolutions are for debate in the House by private members, and that is exactly what happened this morning in the House, and I'm happy to hear that our members and in fact all members in the House showed their commitment to moving forward on legislation that is going to improve access for people with disabilities.


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