Mr. Peter Tabuns: My question is for the Premier. Last week, the Premier announced another round of raises for PC MPPs. That’s right, Speaker: The Premier, who originally ran on a promise to stop the gravy train, now has more gravy going around than on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day combined. Can you imagine?
On top of a big $30,000 raise to the Premier’s right-hand man and new minister of Legislature renos, he also gave a big raise to the former, now demoted, environment minister. This is a minister with one of the worst records on climate and the minister whose attempts to drag us back to the Stone Age are still being fought in court.
Speaker, my question through you to the Premier: Why do PC ministers deserve a pay raise, but hard-working front-line workers and minimum wage earners deserve virtually nothing?
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Government House leader.
Hon. Paul Calandra: Mr. Speaker, what you see from the NDP day in and day out is a party that is literally bankrupt of any ideas whatsoever. What we are doing and what we decided to do from day one is to reinvest in the people of the province of Ontario, something that they have fought against every single day.
We’ve reduced costs to the people of the province of Ontario, reduced costs for small businesses. The Minister of Labour is working on new bills to ensure that front-line workers have access to simple things like a washroom. The minister of small business is making sure credential recognition is finally something that happens in the province of Ontario—something they talked about, but that we’ll get done.
We’re talking about building transit and transportation. That member talks about it; we’ll get it done. They talk about reducing costs for people. They talk about it; we get it done. They talk about a clean environment. You talk about it—
Mr. Paul Miller: Cha-ching. Cha-ching.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Stop the clock. The member for Hamilton East–Stoney Creek will come to order.
Mr. Paul Miller: Give your $30,000 back. Cha-ching.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Hamilton East–Stoney Creek is warned.
Hon. Paul Calandra: I don’t know why you get paid. You’re never here.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The government House leader will withdraw.
Hon. Paul Calandra: I withdraw.
Ms. Sandy Shaw: I’m curious why the Premier gets paid, then.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas will withdraw.
Ms. Sandy Shaw: Withdraw, Speaker.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Anybody else want to withdraw?
Supplementary question. Start the clock.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: Why, thank you, Speaker.
Again to the Premier: The Premier and the minister of Legislature renos, who just spoke, justified their big payout by saying it’s better for everyone to have politicians in charge of these kind of things—renos and some purchases. Speaker, the last time politicians were in charge of, or tried to put themselves in charge of, purchasing things like this, the Premier tried to buy himself a pimped-out ride on the taxpayer dime.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’m going to ask the member to withdraw.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: I will withdraw.
My question, through you, again to the Premier: Nurses, PSWs and other front-line workers, including minimum wage workers, put themselves on the line every day during the pandemic. I’ll ask again, why are they worth less than PC Party MPPs and the Premier’s buddies? Will he repeal Bill 124?
Hon. Paul Calandra: Mr. Speaker, we came to office and we had to restore the province of Ontario as the economic engine of this country. This is something that this member voted against, of course.
We saw the previous Liberal government close, I think, over 600 schools. We are seeing this Minister of Education build new schools. We saw the previous Liberal government build next to no long-term care. We see this government and this minister building 30,000 new long-term-care spaces.
We saw these members talk about affordability. We are seeing us do something about it. We are reducing costs for our small, medium and large job creators. We hear them talk about health care all the time but it’s this minister who has increased ICU capacity. It’s this minister who has increased funding for our health care professionals, Mr. Speaker.
What has that member accomplished? He has been able to say no constantly, and in a, what, 30-year career, not—
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you very much.
WATCH the Exchange on VIDEO here: https://bit.ly/3pNSBaO