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No Ombudsman Oversight
May 6, 2011 permalink
Bill 183, to provide for ombudsman oversight of Ontario's children's aid societies, has been voted down in the legislature. The ayes and nays from the Hansard are enclosed. While the vote means the unconditional end to the bill, the partisan split, PC and NDP aye and Liberal nay, makes this an issue for the upcoming October provincial election.
Bisson, Gilles (NDP Timmins-James Bay)
Chudleigh, Ted (PC Halton)
Craitor, Kim (Lib Niagara Falls)
DiNovo, Cheri (NDP Parkdale-High Park)
Hardeman, Ernie (PC Oxford)
Klees, Frank (PC Newmarket-Aurora)
Kormos, Peter (NDP Welland)
Marchese, Rosario (NDP Trinity-Spadina)
Miller, Paul (PC Parry Sound-Muskoka)
Prue, Michael (NDP Beaches-East York)
Tabuns, Peter (NDP Toronto-Danforth)
Albanese, Laura (York South-Weston)
Arthurs, Wayne (Lib Pickering-Scarborough East)
Balkissoon, Bas (Scarborough-Rouge River)
Berardinetti, Lorenzo (Lib Scarborough Southwest)
Best, Margarett (Scarborough-Guildwood)
Broten, Laurel C. (Lib Etobicoke-Lakeshore)
Dhillon, Vic (Lib Brampton West)
Flynn, Kevin Daniel (Lib Oakville)
Jaczek, Helena (Lib Oak Ridges-Markham)
Kular, Kuldip (Lib Bramalea-Gore-Malton)
Kwinter, Monte (Lib York Centre)
Mangat, Amrit (Lib Mississauga-Brampton South)
Moridi, Reza (Lib Richmond Hill)
Pendergast, Leeanna (Kitchener-Conestoga)
Phillips, Gerry (Scarborough-Agincourt)
Qaadri, Shafiq (Lib Etobicoke North)
Ramal, Khalil (Lib London-Fanshawe)
Rinaldi, Lou (Lib Northumberland-Quinte West)
Ruprecht, Tony (Lib Davenport)
Sandals, Liz (Lib Guelph)
Sergio, Mario (Lib York West)
Sousa, Charles (Lib Mississauga South)
The Clerk of the Assembly (Ms. Deborah Deller): The ayes are 11; the nays are 22.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Jim Wilson): I declare the motion lost.
Source: Ontario Hansard, affiliations from Wikipedia
Addendum: Here are three video clips of the legislature debating the issue, and the vote:    [vote] (mp4). Note the laughter by Leeanna Pendergast at 1:02 of the vote. A newspaper story is enclosed below.
Fight continues after Grits reject bill
ANTI-BULLYING: Head of group seeking an independent watchdog not deterred by actions of government
The head of an anti-bullying group says she won't give up her fight for an independent Ontario school board watchdog, despite disappointment a private member's bill to create something of the sort has died.
Corina Morrison, co-founder of the London anti-bullying coalition, said she was "stunned, appalled, disgusted," after seeing governing Liberal MPPs vote down Bill 183, an NDP MPP's bill that would have expanded the power of Ontario's ombudsman to investigate school boards, hospitals, nursing homes and children's aid societies.
"If anything, it fuels me even more to get an independent, third-party investigative body to oversee school boards," she said Monday.
"We are going to refocus and continue to lobby. We have to, because there is no voice out there for children and no place for parents to go," with complaints about their school board.
Introduced by NDP education critic Rosario Marchese, the bill came up for second reading at Queen's Park last week. It had full support of provincial ombudsman Andre Marin. Every Ontario ombudsman for the past 35 years has called for more oversight of what's known as the MUSH sector -- municipalities, universities, schools, hospitals, long-term care, children's aid and police.
"Why wouldn't you vote for something that would give the ombudsman the oversight to look into it?" Morrison said. "The ombudsman did a great job uncovering the e-health scandal, the lottery-corp scandal and he wants to investigate the MUSH sector. He wants to. Why wouldn't they want to be accountable to taxpayers?"
Anti-bullying groups say they get involved with parents who believe teachers, principals and school board officials aren't taking action to keep children safe. Organizers from groups across Ontario were at Queen's Park last week to support the bill.
It didn't look good for the bill, even going into the reading.
London-Fanshawe MPP Khalil Ramal said he didn't think expanding the ombudsman's job was needed and, speaking about school boards, he pointed out elected trustees should deal with complaints.
But London District Catholic school board trustee Linda Steel said trustees could also use some oversight.
"They do have the power to affect change, but they don't seem to exercise it," said Steel, who's been involved with several families in bullying cases - but all have been resolved.
"I don't know that the trustees are consistently stepping up to the plate and enforcing the powers that are vested in them by the public. It's a grey area," she said.
Steel was also disappointed the bill died.
"I think everyone needs an area where they can go and have someone further investigate," she said.
Source: London Free Press