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Title - Jim McDonell
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Jim McDonell is the Member of Provincial Parliament for the riding of Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry. Mr. McDonell is currently the Ontario PC Critic for Consumer Services.
Minority Government finally takes Form
Jim McDonell
MPP - Stormont, Dundas, South Glengarry

Minority Government finally takes Form
Last week, the three parties were finally able to agree on a few key points that will allow the vote to occur on the Budget before the House rises for the summer recess. After months of pressure by the PC Party to establish an all-party Select Committee to investigate irregularities at the ORNGE Air Ambulance Agency, the Liberal government agreed to allow the current Public Accounts Committee to meet on five specific days over the summer, to continue their work on the scandal at ORNGE. The agreement also adds some night sittings and an extra week to allow for the debate and vote on the Budget to occur.
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Cornwall - June 4, 2012 - Last week, the three parties were finally able to agree on a few key points that will allow the vote to occur on the Budget before the House rises for the summer recess. After months of pressure by the PC Party to establish an all-party Select Committee to investigate irregularities at the ORNGE Air Ambulance Agency, the Liberal government agreed to allow the current Public Accounts Committee to meet on five specific days over the summer, to continue their work on the scandal at ORNGE. The agreement also adds some night sittings and an extra week to allow for the debate and vote on the Budget to occur. As well, the government is allowing a number of committees to meet during the summer recess and travel around the province to consult with the people of Ontario. Three private member’s bills from each of the parties will also be called by the Government and allowed to become law.

The agreement reflects the way a minority government is supposed to work, where decisions are made by a majority of the members of the House and not solely by one party. The change to allow the Public Accounts Committee to meet over the summer partially fulfills the direction given by a motion that was passed by the House on March 21, 2012, requiring an all-party Select Committee be struck to investigate irregularities at the ORNGE Air Ambulance Agency. This motion followed the release of the Auditor-General’s Report identifying over $700 million spent without proper oversight and a web of companies created by ORNGE that he was refused access to investigate. Our party had committed to ringing bells and delaying legislation until the Liberals acquiesced to the will of the Legislature and established an all-party Select Committee to get to the bottom of the ORNGE debacle - or until they gave the Public Accounts Committee the terms of reference it requires to fully investigate the scandal.

Without the change, the Committee would have adjourned during the summer, just when it was starting to get to the bottom of the issue. Sworn testimony by a number of witnesses had contradicted statements by the Premier and other Ministers. Letters were issued to employees and members of our party, threatening them with firings and lawsuits. Witnesses were refusing to appear knowing that Committee was about to be adjourned for the summer and the Liberals were using all kinds of delaying tactics to attempt to run the Committee’s limited time out. They seemed determined to block the public from finding out exactly what happened at ORNGE and where this money went. Our Party was very clear on this issue; acknowledge the will of the House and allow the investigation to continue, or we will do all we can in a minority government to force the issue. The people of Ontario deserve to know who is responsible for the scandal at ORNGE.


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