Aggregate review reset as McGuinty steps down

By Bill Tremblay

Oct 16, 2012 - 12:36 PM

Review of the Aggregate Resources Act (ARA) will reset in the wake of Premier Dalton McGuinty’s resignation. On Monday (Oct 15), McGuinty announced he would resign as premier and prorogue provincial parliament until the Liberal Party is able to elect a new leader. Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones said prorogation equals the death of all committee work and all readings of bills. “Basically, everything that didn’t get royal assent, we’ll have to start all over again,” Jones said. “It effectively drops everything that was happening legislatively.” The Standing Committee on General Government’s efforts to review the ARA is included in the lost progress. “We’ve had our public hearings, but we haven’t started writing a report. None of that can happen now,” Jones said. Information collected during public meetings for the ARA review will still be relevant when MPPs return to work. “We have the transcripts of it,” Jones said. When prorogation ends, the ARA review may still be stalled if the new premier selects new ministers. “It is very common for a cabinet shuffle,” Jones said. “There is no guarantee that the same Liberal members will end up on that review.” Jones said there are numerous examples of the house continuing to work after a premier’s resignation. Typically, an interim leader will be selected who has

publicly said they do not wish to seek permanent leadership. “To have the premier resign and prorogue makes everyone very cynical,” Jones said. “What is frustrating is you can’t move forward on things we’ve been working aggressively on.” With scandals like ORNGE and the cost of cancelling power plants, Jones said she is suspicious of the timing of McGuinty’s resignation and decision to prorogue. “He’s said he is going to stay on as premier until they elect a new Liberal leader. So what’s the problem?” Jones questioned. “I guess I will be cynical and say the problem is he doesn’t want the house to be sitting because we’re asking too many tough questions.” Although critical of McGuinty’s decision to prorogue, Jones doesn’t believe the premier should lose the power to make that decision. The Lieutenant-Governor also must approve the request. “I don’t think it’s as valuable to talk about; because he’s abused the rule, that we have to change the rule,” Jones said. “It’s more a matter of why did you feel your resignation automatically had to lead to prorogation.”

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