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Legislature Debates CFSA
March 2, 2006 permalink
Changes to the Child and Family Services Act, bill 210, were debated in three sessions. Here are links to the debates.
Ontario's Ombudsman will not get oversight over Children's Aid. Once again, nearly half of the debate centered on First Nations. The only real opposition to the bill came from the NDP.
Addendum: Here is spin from the Toronto Star, suggesting the PC's are endangering children by holding up bill 210.
Conservatives stall adoption bill
Mar. 2, 2006. 07:41 PM
A Liberal adoption bill that could help thousands more Ontario children find permanent homes was stalled Thursday by Conservatives angry that Premier Dalton McGuinty hasn't asked a controversial cabinet minister to step down.
Tempers were running high on the last day of the legislative sitting as the Conservatives blocked legislation to lift restrictions on the adoption of Crown wards whose birth parents have a court-ordered right to maintain contact with them.
The bill has the support of the Conservatives, who chose to delay it on the eve of a three-week legislative break because the Liberals refused to extend debate on a separate matter: the reprimand of embattled Transportation Minister Harinder Takhar.
Two weeks ago, Takhar became the first Ontario cabinet minister to be reprimanded by the integrity commissioner because he failed to hire a suitably independent trustee to manage his business affairs while in cabinet.
The Liberals successfully moved Thursday to accept the commissioner's report without further debate on the matter, which the Conservatives have seized upon in recent weeks as grounds for Takhar's removal from cabinet.
Several angry exchanges erupted during question period, which saw Conservative critic Tim Hudak ejected from the legislative chamber and normally placid Child and Youth Services Minister Mary Anne Chambers spouting uncharacteristic vitriol.
After question period, Chambers accused the Conservatives of trying to "hold kids basically hostage" in an effort to give the Takhar controversy "legs."
"We have vulnerable kids and every day that this bill is held up is another day when we are not providing the very best protection for kids," Chambers said.
"It's just shameful that the Progressive Conservatives could see chasing Minister Takhar's ghosts as being more important than taking care of vulnerable kids."
Conservative house leader Bob Runciman accused the government of playing "the sleaziest kind of politics" he's seen since the Liberals took office in October 2003.
He accused the Liberals of using the legislation as a shield to discourage their Conservative rivals from using procedural tactics in protest over the government's decision to end debate over the Takhar controversy.
"They put us in a situation where we had no option," Runciman said. "If anyone's being shameful, it's the Liberals in the way they are conducting this and the way they are suggesting that we've held this up."
The adoption bill, if passed, would allow Crown wards whose birth parents don't take advantage of their rights to maintain contact with their children to be eligible for adoption.
The Liberals say almost 60 per cent of such parents never take advantage of their rights.
The bill is likely to pass final reading when the legislature resumes March 27.
Source: Toronto Star