The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Ontario Liberal majority approves throne speech in confidence vote

  • Print

TORONTO - Ontario's Liberals won enough seats June 12 to form a majority government, but the change in status is not leading to any more co-operation with the opposition parties.

The Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats voted against the government's throne speech Thursday, but the Liberals easily outvoted them 57-40 to approve their legislative plan.

The vote clears the way for Monday's re-introduction of the provincial budget, which Premier Kathleen Wynne said again Thursday would be identical to the May 1 fiscal blueprint that the opposition parties rejected, triggering the election.

There has been no other business since the legislature resumed July 2 because the government is fighting with the Tories and NDP over the makeup of committees.

The Liberals are demanding six of nine seats on each committee, while the opposition parties say the government should get only five seats.

The chairs of the committees only vote in case of a tie, and only to maintain the status quo, so shouldn't be considered regular members, said government house leader Yasir Naqvi.

"What we are talking about is having a voting majority, excluding the chairs, within the committee," Naqvi told reporters.

"That's exactly the position that the opposition parties took in 2011 (when) they argued that since it was a minority Parliament, there should be a minority of (Liberal) voting members in the committee, which we agreed upon."

The Progressive Conservatives noted the throne speech committed the government to put "partnership over partisanship, to increase transparency and accountability," but said the Liberals want to change long-standing protocols on committees.

"It's sheer arrogance for your party to change the rules of this legislature," Conservative Steve Clark said during question period. "Premier, why are you trying to prevent the opposition from holding your government to account?"

Premier Kathleen Wynne made it clear the Liberals intend to stand their ground and insist on what the Opposition calls a "super-majority" of six members on each committee.

"It would be arrogance, I would suggest, to propose otherwise than that we follow that tradition where when there is a majority of seats in the house, that majority is reflected in committees," Wynne told the legislature.

The New Democrats point out that the clerk's office that guides legislative proceedings has recommended giving the Liberals five of nine seats on each committee, which ensures the government has a majority of members.

"There's a principle that we have around the proportionality of the committees that's based on a formula that the clerks bring forward every time there's a new legislature," said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

"Whatever the clerks calculate based on that time worn principle should be good enough."

Virtually every piece of legislation introduced by the government goes through a committee stage where changes are often made before the bill is called for a vote.

Deputy Tory leader Christine Elliott failed Thursday to get unanimous consent necessary to allow a committee on developmental disabilities to meet long enough to release the report it had completed, which was shelved by the election call.

"We have thousands of young people in Ontario who, when they turn 21, have nothing — no job, no life, no hope," said Elliott. "I cannot understand why ... you don't even want to hear what the select committee has to say."

The combined opposition parties controlled committees during the past three years when the Liberal were in minority, holding public hearings into the $1.1 billion cancellation of two gas plants and into the Ornge air ambulance service that were both highly embarrassing to the government.

The Tories had wanted to call at least two more witnesses at the justice committee hearings into the attempted cover-up of the cost of the gas plants scandal, but the throne speech said the committee would be reconstituted to write its report, which means the Liberals won't allow additional witness testimony.

Follow @CPnewsboy on Twitter

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Your top TV picks for this weekend - Aug 29 - Sept 1

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Great Horned Owl that was caught up in some soccer nets in Shamrock Park in Southdale on November 16th was rehabilitated and returned to the the city park behind Shamrock School and released this afternoon. Sequence of the release. December 4, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos


Are you concerned about the spread of Ebola virus?

View Results

Ads by Google