Frank Klees

Frankly Speaking

An article by Frank Klees, MPP
As published in the Auroran


November 6, 2012

Prorogued : Behind the Scenes

 

When Dalton McGuinty prorogued the legislature on October 15th, the business of the legislature came to an abrupt end. So what have MPPs been doing with their time since, and what will they be doing in the weeks and months ahead until the Liberal Party finishes its business of electing a new Leader and handing Ontarians a replacement Premier?

Had Dalton McGuinty not prorogued the legislature, here's what would be taking place at Queen's Park ......

Question Period

The one true mechanism Opposition Parties have to question the Government on its actions and decisions, is Question Period. Observers of this daily one hour accountability session would have seen tough questions being asked of the Premier about his politically-motivated decision to cancel the Mississauga and Oakville power plants. How could he justify wasting more than a billion dollars for crass partisan purposes when thousands of Ontarians are being told every day that government programs are being cut back. How could he tell patients that there is not enough money to pay for life-saving drugs, or explain to parents that their children's special needs can't be met because millions were wasted on cancelled power plants ?

On the education file, the Premier would have to face questions about why students and parents are once again being victimized by the work-to-rule antics of teachers.

On the Ornge file, he would have been asked why he continues to refuse to testify before the committee to answer for his role in this scandal, about the status of the police investigation and why employees at Ornge continue to be intimidated for speaking out.

But Dalton McGuinty will now never have to answer these questions, because the chamber where these questions would be asked remains locked.

Parliamentary Committees

Rather than seeing darkened committee rooms, visitors to the legislature would have seen the nine parliamentary committees going about their daily business.

Foremost among them, would have been the committee charged with conducting hearings into the contempt motion against the Minister of Energy.

The Premier, members of his political staff and Liberal Party operatives who were reportedly key players in the power plant scandal..... all would have been called to testify before this committee.

The committee investigating the Ornge scandal would have resumed hearings and an interim report would have been tabled. Based on testimony, it would be clear that the Minister of Health failed in her oversight responsibilities of Ornge and that the Premier's office was fully aware of the schemes that were syphoning millions of tax dollars into a web of for-profit companies.

But these hearings are not taking place, nor are any others..... because those doors are locked as well.

My work as your MPP continues......

Given what is not happening at Queen's Park, it's only reasonable that constituents would wonder what MPPs are doing with their time. Here's some insight:

The Queen's Park Office:  As the Official Opposition Critic for Transportation and Infrastructure, I'm continuing to meet with stakeholders at my Queen's Park office. Those meetings have included consultations with the CEO of Civic Action Alliance on the issue of regional transportation, Karen Stintz, Chair of the TTC and  CEO Andy Byford to discuss transit transit plans for Toronto and the GTHA. I met with representatives from the Ontario Good Roads Association and the Council of Ontario Construction Associations to discuss infrastructure policy and the Ontario Trucking Association to hear their concerns regarding regulatory issues. Top of mind for the Toronto Board of Trade was transit funding and Metrolinx Chair Robert Pritchard and its President and CEO, Bruce McCuaig wanted to discuss our white paper proposal for transit and transportation.

Newmarket resident Ernie Crossland was awarded the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship by the Lieutenant Governor and I was pleased to attend that ceremony at Queen's Park in his honour. I was also there to receive two school classes and their teachers from our riding.

The Constituency Office:  Time never stands still in our constituency office. Since my election in 1995, I have set aside Fridays exclusively for constituents who request a personal meeting to discuss their concerns. These days are typically filled with back to back meetings and the issues are as varied as the names on the schedule. While we can't resolve every issue, the fact that I and my staff can often make a difference in people's lives through our intervention on their behalf, is the most gratifying dimension of my role as MPP.

So..... for those who were wondering, some of us are still on the job.

As always, I welcome your comments and advice. I can be reached at 905 750 0019 or through my website at www.frankklees.com