Ontario Association of Former Parliamentarians Act, 2000
S.O. 2000, CHAPTER 6
1. In this Act,
- "Association" means the Ontario Association of Former Parliamentarians established by this Act; ("Association")
- "Board" means the Board of Directors of the Association; ("conseil")
- "former parliamentarian" means a person who has served as a member of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario. ("ex-parlementaire") 2000, c. 6, s. 1.
2. There is hereby established a non-profit corporation to be known in English as the Ontario Association of Former Parliamentarians and in French as Association ontarienne des ex-parlementaires. 2000, c. 6, s. 2.
3. (1) The objects of the Association are,
- to put the knowledge and experience of its members at the service of parliamentary democracy in Ontario and elsewhere;
- to serve the public interest by providing non-partisan support for the parliamentary system of government in Ontario;
- to foster a spirit of community among former parliamentarians;
- to foster good relations between members of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario and former parliamentarians; and
- to protect and promote the interests of former parliamentarians. 2000, c. 6, s. 3 (1).
(2) The Association shall not pursue its objects for any partisan political purpose. 2000, c. 6, s. 3 (2).
4. (1) All former members of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario are eligible to become members of the Association in accordance with its by-laws. 2000, c. 6, s. 4 (1).
(2) If a person becomes a member of the Association and is then elected to the Legislative Assembly, he or she shall be deemed to have resigned his or her membership in the Association on the day that he or she is sworn in as a member of the Legislative Assembly. 2000, c. 6, s. 4 (2).
Honorary and associate members
(3) Other persons may be made honorary members or associate members of the Association in accordance with its by-laws and they shall enjoy such rights as may be set out in the by-laws of the Association. 2000, c. 6, s. 4 (3).
5. The Association has the capacity of a natural person and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the Association may, in furtherance of its objects,
- initiate, finance and administer programs and activities relevant to its objects, including programs and activities by government, public or private organizations and agencies or individuals;
- enter into contracts or agreements with governments, public or private organizations and agencies or individuals;
- publish or otherwise disseminate information of all kinds related to its objects;
- establish and award scholarships or fellowships for study related to its objects;
- give recognition, by such means as it deems appropriate, for outstanding contributions to the promotion and understanding of Ontario's parliamentary system of government;
- borrow money on the credit of the Association;
- acquire property, money or securities by gift, bequest or otherwise and subject to the terms, if any, on which the property, money or securities is given, bequeathed or otherwise acquired, and it may hold, expend, invest, administer or dispose of any such property, money or securities, or it may create any security interest in such property, money or securities to secure any obligation of the Association;
- acquire, establish and manage any charitable or benevolent work, undertaking or foundation as it considers appropriate;
- expend all amounts received from individuals, corporations and organizations as contributions to the Association for its activities; and
- do such other things as are conducive to the exercise of its objects. 2000, c. 6, s. 5.
Capacity to act outside Ontario
6. In addition to its capacity within Ontario, the Association may carry on its activities and affairs and exercise its powers in any jurisdiction outside Ontario to the extent that the laws of that jurisdiction permit. 2000, c. 6, s. 6.
7. The head office of the Association shall be at such place in Ontario as the Board may determine. 2000, c. 6, s. 7.
Board of directors
8. (1) The affairs of the Association shall be managed by a board of directors comprised of the chair and directors elected in accordance with the by-laws of the Association. 2000, c. 6, s. 8 (1).
(2) The chair shall be elected in accordance with the by-laws of the Association and shall preside at meetings of the Board and may perform such other duties as may be assigned by the Board. 2000, c. 6, s. 8 (2).
(3) The Board may elect from among its membership a vice-chair and, in the event of the absence or incapacity of the chair or if the office of chair is vacant, the vice-chair shall have all the duties and functions of the chair. 2000, c. 6, s. 8 (3).
(4) Subject to subsection (5), the Board shall meet at such times and places as the chair considers necessary. 2000, c. 6, s. 8 (4).
(5) The Board shall meet at least once in each year at the head office of the Association. 2000, c. 6, s. 8 (5).
(6) On the request of a majority of the members of the Board, the chair shall call a meeting of the Board at its head office. 2000, c. 6, s. 8 (6).
(7) If the office of a director becomes vacant, the Board may, in accordance with the by-laws, appoint another person to serve as a director for the unexpired term of the person whose office is vacant. 2000, c. 6, s. 8 (7).
9. (1) The Board may authorize directors to participate by electronic means in a meeting. 2000, c. 6, s. 9 (1).
(2) If a director participates in the business of a meeting of the Board by electronic means, he or she shall be deemed to be fully present at the meeting. 2000, c. 6, s. 9 (2).
(3) Unless the Board decides otherwise, if a member of the Board participates electronically in a meeting, the meeting shall be deemed to take place at the place where a majority of the directors are gathered or, in the absence of a majority at one place, where the largest number of directors are gathered or the chair or other director presiding is in attendance, as the Board may determine. 2000, c. 6, s. 9 (3).
10. (1) The Board may make by-laws respecting,
- membership in the Association, including honorary membership and associate membership;
- the election or appointment of directors, their term of office, the expenses, if any, to be reimbursed to directors and the number of directors to be elected;
- the employment, engagement or appointment and remuneration, expenses and duties of officers, employees and agents of, and consultants to, the Association;
- the calling and holding of meetings of the Board and its committees or of the Association, and the procedures by which such meetings shall be conducted including the manner of holding votes at such meetings;
- the appointment of patrons and honorary officers of the Association;
- the delegation of powers to the Board or a committee of the Board;
- generally, the administration and management of the business and affairs of the Association. 2000, c. 6, s. 10 (1).
(2) No by-law of the Association is valid or shall be acted on until it is approved at a general meeting of the members by at least two-thirds of those present and entitled to vote at the meeting. 2000, c. 6, s. 10 (2).
Use of profits
11. Subject to any by-law of the Association providing for the remuneration of officers, employees and agents of the Association, any profits or accretions to the value of property of the Association shall be used to further the activities of the Association and no part of the property or profits of the Association may be distributed, directly or indirectly, to any member of the Association. 2000, c. 6, s. 11.
12. (1) On petition by the Association and in the manner specified in the petition, the minister of the Government of Ontario having responsibility for the regulation of Ontario corporations may dissolve the Association. 2000, c. 6, s. 12 (1).
(2) In the event of a dissolution of the Association, any property of the Association that remains after the payment of its debts and liabilities or after the making of an adequate provision for the payment of its debts and liabilities shall be transferred to such person or institution as the Association may specify in the petition submitted under subsection (1). 2000, c. 6, s. 12 (2).
(3) Notice of a dissolution under subsection (1) shall be published in The Ontario Gazette. 2000, c. 6, s. 12 (3).
13. (1) Upon the coming into force of this Act and subject to the provisions of this Act, Reverend Derwyn Shea, Mr. Tony Silipo, Mr. Gilles Morin, Mr. John Parker and Mr. Terence Young, being the Executive Committee of the unincorporated association known as the "Ontario Association of Former Parliamentarians", acquire all the powers of the Board. 2000, c. 6, s. 13 (1).
(2) The members of the Executive Committee referred to in subsection (1) and the present officers of the unincorporated association shall, subject to the by-laws, rules or regulations of such association, continue to hold office as if they had been appointed or elected in accordance with the provisions of this Act and of the by-laws made under this Act until their successors in office have been appointed or elected. 2000, c. 6, s. 13 (2).
14. Omitted (provides for coming into force of provisions of this Act). 2000, c. 6, s. 14.
15. Omitted (enacts short title of this Act). 2000, c. 6, s. 15.
ONTARIO ASSOCIATION OF FORMER PARLIAMENTARIANS ACT, 2000 / LOI DE 2000 SUR L'ASSOCIATION ONTARIENNE DES EX-PARLEMENTAIRES
Mr Gilchrist moved second reading of the following bill:
Bill 65, An Act to establish the Ontario Association of Former Parliamentarians / Projet de loi 65, Loi constituant l'Association ontarienne des ex-parlementaires.
Mr Steve Gilchrist (Scarborough East): We had a chance to make very brief comments when the bill was brought back to the House from committee, but this really is a historic piece of legislation because it represents the first time that the new standing order 124 was used for the creation of a piece of legislation. As members of this House and many other people across this province know, traditionally there have been only two vehicles through which legislation could be brought forward and the laws of the province changed. Those were, of course, bills introduced by the sitting government and bills introduced by private members. The private members' bills are a fairly regulated process, and we each get one turn each session, but there's not a great opportunity for us to advance other initiatives in a timely fashion.
The Legislature changed the standing orders last session and now there is a third mechanism, and that mechanism is through committee. Every member of a committee has the opportunity to propose a piece of legislation once each session. They have a further guarantee that it will not only be debated in committee but they will have debating time here in the House if it passes committee. This bill represents the first such opportunity to move forward legislation and I really want to congratulate all members of the standing committee on general government. It really was a non-partisan initiative, and I want to thank my colleagues not just from the government side but from the Liberal and NDP parties as well. I think it was very much in the flavour that Ontarians would like to see us deal with legislation wherever possible. Suggestions are made, amendments are made, but at the end of the day we all make compromises and fashion a bill that meets the test of the best possible change to standing legislation.
This bill creates, in effect, an alumni association of former parliamentarians. We've all seen, sometimes with tragic consequences, what happens when members who are defeated or choose not to stand for re-election leave this place and have to reacclimatize themselves, have to get back into the workforce, back into the working society. We had one incident in Ottawa where the transition was far too dramatic for anyone's taste. I really think that having a resource, having a focal point that former members can turn to if they need advice, if they need a rallying point, if they need some counsel, is very much an initiative we should be pursuing.
It follows on the lead of many other provinces and of a similar organization at the federal level, the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians, which is currently chaired by Barry Turner, formerly a PC MP. In addition, the Americans have an association of former members of Congress for all the same reasons and with the same spirit. This is not a partisan group. It will not be there to promote any specific legislative agenda. It will have almost no cost, save and except that we will be asking the Speaker to allocate an office, and after that the cost would be borne by the association itself. But we think it's quite appropriate that that focal point be an office somewhere in the legislative precinct.
The other item I have to mention is the fact that even the inspiration for this bill was an all-party effort. The idea first originated with Reverend Derwyn Shea, who was of course one of our colleagues in the last Parliament, and he was joined by two other members of the Conservative caucus, John Parker and Terence Young. But in addition, Mr Gilles Morin from the Liberal Party and Mr Tony Silipo from the New Democratic Party joined in the efforts, appeared before the committee and in every respect spoke equally eloquently of the need to bring forward this new association.
I'm not going to belabour the point. I think we have pretty unanimous agreement around both sides of the Legislature that this is an initiative which should move forward through second and third reading. I hope we get the agreement of all members today to give both second and third reading and allow this initiative to move forward. There is a steering committee, comprised of former members from all three parties, who will take it from there and bring it to fruition. I wish them Godspeed and the best of luck. I know I speak for all members in wishing them all the best in fulfilling the aims and objectives laid before us in committee.
The Deputy Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): Comments and questions?
Mr Dave Levac (Brant): I want to assure the member for Scarborough East, who is also the chair of our government committee, that he does have our support on this side, and that without doubt we will be proceeding as quickly as possible to pass this legislation.
I want to review a couple of items for the benefit of the people who do pay attention to these proceedings and for the record from the standing orders of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in effect on Tuesday, November 2, 1999. We are making history today, and I concur with the comments that the member opposite said, so I want to review exactly why I think this is very instrumental and very important as a historic moment. This is one of those opportunities where we've been able to change the Legislature for the good of all members sitting. They don't have to be members of a ministry, they don't have to be members of any particular smaller group that gets brought down into the legislative possibilities, to bring legislation to the front of this House, and that's the committee.
"Report to the House: Report may contain the text of bill:
"124(d) Following its consideration of such a matter, the committee may present a substantive report to the House and may adopt the text of a draft bill on the subject matter. Where the text of a draft bill is adopted by the committee, it shall be an instruction to the Chair to introduce such bill in his or her name, as the primary sponsor. The other committee members who support the bill may have their names printed on the face of the bill as the secondary sponsors."
Not so much to get credit for passing a bill, but the fact that we now have the ability of a committee to introduce legislation to this House is historic, and I commend the Legislature, if passed, to put that into place.
There is still more to do. On a personal note, I do believe that private members' bills need to tweaked a little bit more so that they can get to the legislative process quicker and better, but nonetheless, for this particular legislation we must compliment the committee members, and particularly the Chair for his leadership in drafting and getting this to the House.
Next, I want to say very clearly that it's-
The Deputy Speaker: Order. These were the two-minute comments and questions. You may have thought this was the full debate; I'm not sure.
Mr Levac: I'm done.
The Deputy Speaker: Questions and comments?
Hon Frank Klees (Minister without Portfolio): I wanted to take a very brief opportunity, which is all I have in two minutes, to express my gratitude to some people from our former caucus, the Reverend Derwyn Shea and Terence Young, who were very instrumental in bringing leadership to the bill before us today. I believe it is a credit to this Legislature that we're taking this important step to facilitate an opportunity for former members to continue to participate and have some activity in this place in which they have invested so much of their time and energy.
We know that, as a House, on a non-partisan basis, we will all benefit from them having a facility in this place, from our ability to continue dialogue with former members. No doubt many of them, having been here and now having perhaps a different perspective, will be able to give us some advice. That would be very helpful. Sometimes the farther the distance is that we get from this place, the better perspective we get on many of the issues. So I want to thank these two gentlemen, and I know there are others from other caucuses who will be giving credit to members on their side of the House for their initiative on this.
I want to thank the committee for the work they have done in bringing this forward. We look forward to giving unanimous consent, I trust, to third reading and passage of this bill this afternoon.
The Deputy Speaker: Comments and questions?
The member for Scarborough East has two minutes to respond.
Mr Gilchrist: I certainly won't take that. I simply thank the member for Brant, the member for Oak Ridges and my colleagues from all three parties for their involvement in the committee, and our colleagues who have formerly served in this House, who I'm sure will benefit immensely from the work of this association once it's formed.
The Deputy Speaker: The Chair recognizes the member for Brant.
Mr Levac: I will complete the rest of my five-minute talk in less time, so I appreciate that very much. I also want to thank the member opposite for giving recognition to a couple of the key members who were very instrumental in putting this forward.
I want to continue by adding to the record the very purpose, the objectives of what this group is going to do. I think that might get lost if we don't put it on the record because there's more to it, as we discussed at committee level, than simply having a group of people who get together as alumni. There are some very key components to this that I think the public should be aware of.
The association is a non-partisan organization that is open to all persons who have been members of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario but who at present are not serving. The objectives of the association are these: to put the knowledge and experience of its members at the service of the parliamentary democracy in Ontario and elsewhere; to serve the public interest by providing non-partisan support for the parliamentary system of the Ontario government; to foster a spirit of community among former parliamentarians; and the last two items, which the Chair knows I really spent a lot of time commenting and making recommendations on, which are to foster good relations between the members of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and former parliamentarians, and, finally, the one that I really did spend a lot of time on, and I know in discussions we have really important points to make with this one, to protect and promote the interests of former parliamentarians.
We did hear some tragic stories. We did hear some issues that unfortunately took place because of this transition. I for one believe the human being should be taken care of first and foremost. If we find that any former member of this place is in dire distress, we should be able to help that person, and in particular their family, make those adjustments.
I want to point to another item in the bill that took on a category of its own. It was called the non-partisan group; it is the non-partisan nature: "The association shall not pursue its objectives for any partisan political purposes whatsoever." That was wholly endorsed and supported by all members of all three parties.
As the member opposite did mention, I would like to say that the subcommittee that was formed to look into the drafting of this legislation did an absolutely stellar job, and I think they should be given most, if not all, of the credit. The transition team was comprised of the Reverend Derwyn Shea, Mr Tony Silipo, Mr Gilles Morin, Mr John Parker and Mr Terence Young. To those people I say thank you for having the fortitude to stick it out, because it did take some time. There were some revisions and there were some bumps and hills along the way. I know that through your good work, and credit to you, we're here today to talk about it. I can also tell the Chair without any reservation that the members on this side in the Liberal caucus will be looking forward to a very speedy passage of this bill.
On a personal note, I want to say this has probably been the most joyful operation that I've been part of in terms of what the public want the Legislature to do: to get along, to do the best possible legislation we can do. Unfortunately, these types of pieces of legislation just don't come along enough.
I want to thank the members of the committee and I want to thank the members of all three parties for being such good sports about this and making sure those people get taken care of, because some day we're all going to be there.
The Deputy Speaker: Further debate?
Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): I'm honoured and I feel very privileged to be able to stand today and speak to a piece of legislation such as has been presented here this afternoon. I think it speaks to the best that's in all of us. It speaks to the best that is possible out of all of us. It speaks to the potential of this place to nurture the giftedness and the gifts that each of us brings to this place and to recognize after our day is done that what we have done is remembered, respected, supported and celebrated.
Of course the focus of the bill is to make sure we have in place an organization that will look after some of the needs of past members and make sure those needs are identified, worked with and encouraged, that will encourage the development of plans to make sure people are looked after and are well and continue to be productive and active members of the communities in which they live. My caucus supports that wholeheartedly. We have absolutely no difficulty with that.
As a matter of fact, my colleague Tony Silipo in the years I served with him was a person with a tremendously well-developed social conscience, a big heart and an understanding for the challenge it takes to do this job, a person who contributed above and beyond the call of duty, as all members of this place do.
It's not until you get here and you actually take part in the activities of this place, it's not until you begin to recognize the variety of subjects you have to understand and participate in, that you begin to fully understand the time, the commitment, the energy and the sacrifice that is made by members of Parliament.
On the outside it looks like a pretty snazzy job. There are a lot of perks and opportunities to strut your stuff and be out there in the public view and be important and be seen to be important. In fact, after you've been here for a while, you begin to realize that there are moments that, yes, are appreciated and enjoyed but that they're few and far between. Like anything else, this is, after all, a job that we all are privileged to get if we're elected by our constituents. But at the end of the day, if we're committed to it, and I don't know a member in this place over my ten years here who wasn't committed to doing the job they were elected to do, you work very hard. You put in long hours. You get into some debates that are quite gruelling at times. It takes an emotional toll of you from time to time as you win and lose in this arena. At the end of the day, you leave with a mark that in some ways, yes, is very positive and constructive, and in other ways can limit your potential and ability to actually re-enter the regular workaday world of the community from which you come.
This new parliamentary association will hopefully have the resources necessary to be helpful and supportive of each of us, because for each of us, in turn, our day will come and we will face the challenge of re-entering and becoming not an MPP any more but serving in the ways we want to in the communities to which we will return.
The other thing I think it is important to highlight here is that we forget from time to time that we should celebrate the contribution MPPs make to the quality of life we all enjoy in the communities we live in. We sometimes take that for granted and we think it just happens, that somehow some of the good things we all enjoy as members of a community just fall out of the sky and into our laps and are there.
Well, they don't. They happen because leadership is given from varied and multiple sources in communities. It's given as well in a very clear, concrete and important way from those who serve at senior levels of government, and certainly this is one senior level here. To celebrate those contributions I think would be an important part and role and contribution this new parliamentary association could facilitate for all of us here and for the province.
It's in celebrating and recognizing the contribution
that individual members make that we and the people we serve, and the generation behind us who are coming along who are looking at us and saying, "Who are they and what do they do?" will come to understand, realize and appreciate the importance of this place, the importance of government, the importance of politics.
Maybe just every so slightly, hopefully, it will diminish some of the negative connotation that has grown over the last five or ten years in this province, indeed in this country and around the world, when the issue of politics and politicians is talked of and looked at and reviewed in so many of the media outlets and other ways that politics is looked at in this day and age.
This will present opportunity for the very positive and constructive and good things that politicians, for the most part-and again, I speak of my own experience-contribute to the good governance of this province and a building of the quality of life and opportunity and creating of space for people to participate in a province like Ontario. It's important that we do that, that we come to that time. I think this is the opportunity now. It's nice to be standing here today with all parties in agreement that we should in fact do that.
I remember for quite some time, because I'm a big Toronto Maple Leafs fan, watching as Harold Ballard refused to recognize, as other arenas used to around the NHL, the contribution that past stars and past players made. He wouldn't hang the banners and those kinds of things. I'm not suggesting for a second that we start hanging banners in here recognizing the contribution of some of the stars-and eccentrics sometimes-of this place, but just that we all remember and are reminded from time to time of that contribution and the benchmarks they set, that we need to sometimes rise to ourselves.
I think it's important that we put out there-not necessarily by hanging up banners, but in other ways-things that we might come up with by way of recognition to add to the positive and constructive understanding of the role of politicians and members of Parliament, because sometimes it's that very negative picture that's painted, sometimes that very critical analysis and judgment that's made-
Interjection: The Fewer Politicians Act.
Mr Martin: Yes. I don't want to get partisan here this afternoon or else I would talk about that, and I could, in fact. But I want to be non-partisan and constructive in this.
If we did more in a positive and constructive nature, building up the role that we play in the evolution of civil society here in Ontario, politicians who find themselves moving on, for whatever reason, would have an easier time reintegrating into the communities in which they live. What they have done would be more likely to be seen in a light that would have people perhaps clamouring for their services, to serve on boards and commissions-even to offer them the opportunity of some gainful employment, because we know that the pension out of here now isn't so great any more. It used to be OK. You used to have a pretty decent pension if you served as a politician in Ontario. But since the last changes-and I think the members across the way are beginning to recognize this now-the pension isn't as rich as it used to be.
Interjection: It isn't. It's not even existing.
Mr Martin: Some might claim that it doesn't even exist any more in any real and significant sense. So the need becomes even more pertinent and obvious to have something in place to assist those people who come here, give of their time, serve, and end up having to go back with a five- or 10- or 15-year piece removed from their life where they haven't been building up pension credits someplace else, haven't been building up any relationship someplace else that might lend to taking care of themselves and their families in their retirement. I think that this organization, this new parliamentary association that we're talking about here today, could contribute in a very significant and important way to making sure that that happens.
I'm standing in partnership today with members of the Liberal and Conservative caucuses in saying this is a good move, in saying thanks to those who made the effort to make sure that what we have in front of us here today will do the trick, and we will be supporting whatever effort is put forward to make sure that this happens post-haste.
The Deputy Speaker: Comments and questions?
Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): Just a quick question I have, and there may be room for another member, I hope. Is the member for Sault Ste Marie advocating a provincial senate? I just wanted to ask that question.
Mr Steve Peters (Elgin-Middlesex-London): I just want to compliment the member for Sault Ste Marie. I'm glad he raised that point about the pensions, because there's a real misconception that those of us who have recently been elected have gold-plated pensions. I think it's important that the public hears that and that it's only our distant relatives in Ottawa who have those great pension plans now.
I want to compliment, though, the members of all three parties and the legislative staff and former members who worked together to bring this initiative forward. I think it is very important that we recognize those contributions of past members of this Legislature.
I look back at some individuals who have served my own riding. Ron McNeil was a distinguished member of this Legislature for over 30 years. Ron is still active in his community. I think it's important to recognize the contributions of individuals like Ron. Other individuals who have also served part of my riding: Doug Reycraft, another long-time member of this Legislature; Peter North, a former member of the New Democratic Party, and then in 1995 Peter was elected as an independent member of the Legislature, for the first time in over 50 years; Marietta Roberts, another member of my riding, who gave distinguished service and actually sat in the Speaker's chair to serve the constituents of Ontario; and Bruce Smith, who recently was a member of this Legislature. Those are some individuals I think should be recognized for their past contributions and individuals too that we all understand have something that they can give back to the people of Ontario.
It's very fitting that this committee of former parliamentarians has been struck. It has been extremely successful in Ottawa in creating an alumni association and that bond, and continuing those bonds of friendship, because although we may be on opposite sides, at the end of the day we do need to walk out of this room and do what's best for our constituents. With that, I want to commend all three parties for their efforts.
Mr Gilles Bisson (Timmins-James Bay): I just would like in these two minutes to put a couple of words on the record with regard to this. Far too often we have engaged in this Legislature-not all members, but certainly from the predominant party, which I will not name at this point-in trying to demean politicians and the work they do. There has been legislation brought forward that in a lot of ways really tries to undermine the work that people actually do when they decide to put their name on the ballot and run for office,
Yes, these are good jobs. When you do get elected it's exciting. There are a lot of interesting things to do. You get to serve your community in a way that you probably can never do in any other job you may get. But we often forget that there's also a price you pay when you get elected. There's a price you pay with your family, and there's also a price you pay if you've been around this place long enough and you try to go back to what you were doing before. Often it's very difficult to go back.
Many people I know from this Legislature have come from various professions. When they've tried to go back into their former employment it has been pretty difficult to do. In some cases they don't want you back. You've been gone for 10 or 15 years. They don't feel you have any right to go back to your old employer. Many people put aside business interests. I was a small business person myself. I know other people here who were in small business and ended up closing down successful businesses in order to run, get elected and serve the people of the province of Ontario.
Often when you leave there's not much left for you when you get out of this place, so I think it's only right that we try in this little way to give former parliamentarians a chance to make the transition a little bit easier, and hopefully some of the supports provided to some of the members when they leave this assembly will go a long way. This is a small step but an important step in trying to make that happen, and I want to thank the former members who worked on this committee for bringing this forward.
The Deputy Speaker: Questions and comments? The member for Sault Ste Marie has two minutes to respond.
Mr Martin: Just briefly, I want to thank the members from Brant, Timmins-James Bay and St Catharines for participating and responding to the comments I made.
I say to the member from St Catharines that I'm a great believer in public process, as you are. I'm a supporter of government and government processes. I'm a supporter of taking the time necessary to make sure that what we do here is the right thing on behalf of all of the people of Ontario. In fact, we should be doing more, in my view, of a non-partisan nature than we do here in this place so often. If a senate at the provincial level would contribute to that, I'd have no difficulty with that. I'm not one of the people out there condemning any level of government. Each level of government has its pluses and minuses and we should be doing everything in our power to make sure that they in fact work on behalf of people. I think that speaks to the contribution that so many people have made to this place over such a long time.
In my own instance, in Sault Ste Marie, there's a member who comes to mind that I think we should recognize and perhaps put on this committee, and that's Russ Ramsey, a Conservative member who used to be a cabinet minister in Bill Davis's government, who never fails to respond to any event that I lead in Sault Ste Marie. He comes, he participates. Even if it's a fundraiser, he puts his money on the table and he has supper and we celebrate the contribution that all of us make to the common life of the community that we all love and want to serve. I have lunch with him on a regular basis because I appreciate the advice that he gives me on things. I want to hear what he's thinking and what he's feeling about certain things.
I'm happy, as I said before, to support this and our caucus will be supporting it as well, of course.
The Deputy Speaker: Further debate?
Mr Gilchrist has moved second reading of Bill 65. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? It is carried.
Hon Jim Flaherty (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): I seek unanimous consent to call third reading of Bill 65.
The Deputy Speaker: Is there consent? It is agreed.
Mr Gilchrist moved third reading of the following bill:
Bill 65, An Act to establish the Ontario Association of Former Parliamentarians / Projet de loi 65, Loi constituant l'Association ontarienne des ex-parlementaires.
Mr Steve Gilchrist (Scarborough East): I really don't think there's a need to belabour the point. All parties have put their comments on the record. I certainly appreciate the debate we've had and the input so far. I look forward to a successful vote for third reading.
The Deputy Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): Comments and questions? Further debate?
Mr Gilchrist has moved third reading of Bill 65. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? It is carried.
Be it resolved the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.