Did you know that Ontario's legislature is debating and voting on Bills with fewer than half of elected MPPs participating? That's because there are no provisions for MPPs to participate in debates or vote remotely during the pandemic.
The request has been made twice and refused by the government both times.
If this doesn't seem quite right to you, why not contact your MPP and let them know how you feel about it? There's a template message below if you're not sure what to say - you can use it as is or add your own words.
There are significant pieces of legislation being rushed through Ontario's legislature while half its elected members are unable to participate. It's hard not to see this as part of a strategy to enact legislation that under regular circumstances would receive significant opposition because of its impact on the environment and the health and well-being of Ontarians. Read more here.
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I was shocked to learn recently that there is no procedure in place for MPPs to participate in the legislature remotely, other than from their offices in Queen’s Park, and that only one “cohort” of MPPs can attend Queen’s Park at a time. The information received from the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly specifically says: “no proxy voting arrangements have been made, and only in-person voting is taking place, among the Members present at Queen’s Park in the current ‘cohort’ group.”
Please tell me: if you, as my elected representative, can’t vote on at least half of the bills presented in the legislature, in what way is my voice being heard and my interest being represented? What are my options?
The provincial legislature has passed significant Bills and regulations since the start of the pandemic. It has removed conservation authorities’ ability to make land-use decisions based on the environmental impact of applications, opening land up for development that will increase flooding and damage natural waterways and ecosystems. It has retroactively exempted MZOs from requirements to be consistent with fundamental land planning principles and requirements set out in the Provincial Policy Statement. That last change was snuck in as part of an unrelated Bill that was guaranteed to pass.
Without proper public consultation, robust debate in the legislature, and the ability for all elected representatives to vote, these Bills should be considered invalid.
Please indicate how the citizens of Ontario can demand measures be put into place immediately to allow full remote participation in legislative affairs.