Government once again refuses to hold Northern Committee hearings
QUEEN’S PARK – Today in the Standing Committee on Justice Policy, government MPPs blocked MPP Laurie Scott’s proposal to hold additional hearings – including in Thunder Bay and Sudbury – on the government’s sweeping changes to the Police Services Act. Government members allocated only two days in Toronto for public comment.
Parry Sound – Muskoka MPP Norm Miller supported a motion by his colleague MPP Laurie Scott (Haliburton – Kawartha Lakes – Brock) to make sure that northerners also had a fair chance to comment on Bill 175, which would substantially change police oversight.
“Only ten and a half hours have been scheduled for public hearings, despite the fact that this is a 400-page piece of legislation,” observed Scott. “The government failed to consult adequately with key stakeholders, especially front-line police officers, as they were drafting this bill. Now they are also refusing to listen to communities in Northern Ontario that will be impacted by these changes.”
Scott also put forward motions to add at the very least a third day of hearings in Toronto, as well as to increase the time allocated to each presenter from five minutes to ten. Both motions were voted down by Liberal committee members.
“For a bill of this complexity, five minutes is simply not enough time for presenters to fully express their concerns on such a complex Bill,” Scott commented.
Miller attended the committee meeting to support Scott’s motion to ensure Northerners get an opportunity to be heard on Bill 175. “Unfortunately as usual this government is not interested in hearing from Northern Ontarians, or really anyone outside of the GTA,” said Miller.
“Last month I met with representatives from the Police Association of Ontario to hear their concerns and I know they have more concerns than they can possibly voice in five minutes,” Miller concluded.