MPP Hazell’s Debate on Bill 162 the Get It Done Act

  • Legislative Review

Transcript: I am pleased to stand here and debate this government’s Get It Done Act, or, more accurately, let’s say the “get it not-so-done act,” because, as Ontarians know, actions speak louder than words. The members opposite say that this legislation will help build highways. That’s strange, because I read this bill up and down and there isn’t anything about building highways. As my colleague from Beaches–East York put it so well, all that’s in there is stripping environmental protections.

I came back from a tour of the north as a member of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. I learned a lot. The north is so beautiful, and the people are so warm and kind. Transportation-wise, I heard a lot about the importance of twinning highways up there. The highways up there are particularly dangerous, with only one lane per direction. That’s tight driving, especially in wintertime. There is not much room to manoeuvre, and accidents are far too common. When a lane is shut down, that’s the whole highway being shut down, and guess what? That is added pressure to their daily economic productivity.

I want to share with you the accidents that recently happened on Highway 69:

—a 65-year-old passed away in November after a collision on Highway 69, north of the Magnetawan River Bridge, which is an untwinned portion of the highway;

—a nonfatal crash in March on the same section; and

—two seniors died in a crash in February of 2022 in the untwinned portion south of Pointe au Baril;

On Highways 11 and 17:

—a pedestrian was killed by a pickup truck on untwinned Highway 17 two days ago in the Sault Ste. Marie area;

—a Thunder Bay woman was killed in untwinned Highway 17 crash with a commercial vehicle last month;

—two teens were killed on untwinned Highway 17 crash in October;

—one person is dead after a two-vehicle collision in the township of Calder on untwinned Highway 11 in July.

I could go on, because it’s not done, but I hope you get the point about why we’ve got an issue with this Get It Done Act. This government has slowed down the twinning of Highways 11, 17 and even Highway 69. Not one kilometre started under this government’s watch.

Everyone in the northeast wants to see Highway 69 twinned: the municipalities, the Sudbury and Timmins chambers of commerce, everyone. But this government legislation is a missed opportunity to actually focus on expanding these crucial highways and to follow through with this government’s commitments. But we’re not going to see shovels in the ground from this bill, only more empty promises.

Furthermore, this legislation is taking a proud stance against highway tolls. Here’s the problem: There is only one toll road in Ontario, and this bill won’t do anything about it. Highway 407 will continue to charge Ontarians an arm and a leg, especially during an affordability crisis—and this government is A-okay with that? But of course they are, because it was the Conservatives who privatized it in the first place.

The members opposite claim this legislation will prevent tolls on the Gardiner and Don Valley Parkway. That’s funny because only one person ever proposed tolling those roads: former Conservative leader John Tory. This is just another bill for this government where the only purpose is to reverse the Conservatives’ bad ideas, just like the greenbelt.

Ontarians deserve serious legislation to address serious problems, not these performative stunts. Everyone wants things to get done, so stop wasting crucial legislative time on bills like this and introduce bills to actually get the work done. Just because it’s in the name doesn’t mean it’s true.