Get It Done Act, 2024

Friday, March 01, 2024

TORONTO — For second reading debate on the proposed Bill 162, Get It Done Act, 2024, Sheref Sabawy, Member of Provincial Parliament for Mississauga—Erin Mills made the following statement Thursday before the Ontario Legislature:

“Today, I stand in the House to debate Bill 162, Get it Done Act.

“I’m really very happy to speak about this bill because this act is a fulfilment of the promises we made in 2018 and 2022. We promised that we would keep costs down and build infrastructure at the same time. Our government has always been for the people of Ontario and today, once more, we are getting it done for the people of Ontario.

“Madam Speaker, I want to start by thanking the Minister of Transportation for his hard work, both for introducing this bill and for being part of the largest infrastructure expansion in Ontario’s history.

“From highways to transit projects, this government, under the leadership of the Premier, is getting it done, building the transportation infrastructure that Ontario needs for its long-term success. All the while, this government has continued to keep costs down for Ontarians, never raising a single tax.

“When we talk about transportation infrastructure, it is very simple: People and goods need to be able to get around this province at an affordable cost. Time is money. If people are sitting in gridlock for endless hours or paying costly taxes, then we as a government have failed.

“The government’s role must be to get it done and get out of the way. This is the analogy we have been using. That’s why I support this bill and why these changes to transportation infrastructure and affordability are well needed.

“Madam Speaker, a major announcement for the people of Mississauga was announced earlier this month by the Minister of Transportation: Two-way, all-day GO train service is coming to the Milton line. Whereas service is currently only available during peak hours, the government plans to allow more services with extended hours of operation. For residents in Erin Mills, this means that Erindale, Streetsville, Meadowvale and Lisgar GO stations will have all-day transit connections into and out of the city.

“The Milton GO rail corridor is already the fourth busiest line on the GO network. It is used daily by many Erin Mills residents.

“These investments are critically needed and it’s great to see the government continuing to invest in important infrastructure such as this.

“Since 1999, when I started commuting by train into Toronto, there have been minimal changes to improve the Milton line. I think we added one extra train in the morning and one extra train back in the evening. So, that’s 25 years ago. Mississauga is now significantly larger than 25 years ago—maybe 10 times the population of 25 years ago—but no investments have been made in that past 25 years on this line.

“This is why we are calling on the federal government to agree to a cost-sharing partnership for this important rail corridor, which is going to benefit Mississauga and Milton as well.

“The former federal Minister of Transportation has endorsed this project. I am hopeful that the federal government will now invest in this critical infrastructure to support the people of Mississauga and Milton and support the growth of Mississauga as the seventh-largest city in Canada.

“North America’s largest transit infrastructure expansion is happening right here in Ontario, and that includes long-overdue investments into Mississauga. We are getting it done. Once again, I thank the Minister of Infrastructure and the Premier for this important investment.

“These investments demonstrate the government’s commitment to building infrastructure. With a rapidly growing population, Ontario needs transit, highways and housing to accommodate everyone. What we build now will be relied upon by future generations to come.

“That’s why this proposed Get It Done Act is focused on quickly and efficiently building infrastructure. If passed, this bill would reduce project planning timelines for construction of important infrastructure projects. It would expedite and streamline regulations that are slowing down public projects. This will allow projects like roads and sewage treatment systems to be built quickly and efficiently while still maintaining rigorous protections where necessary. By accelerating these projects, municipal governments and public agencies will be able to complete their tasks on time and within budget.

“One way that this bill will, if passed, help accelerate timelines is by clarifying the procedures surrounding expropriation during the environmental assessment process. It’s already allowed under the Environmental Assessment Act to acquire properties before the EA process is completed. But by providing greater clarity, municipalities and other proponents can create clearer plans and get shovels in the ground much sooner. These are simple, common-sense steps that this government’s proposing to get developments built. It’s not flashy, but it will get the job done.

“In Mississauga, we continue to make major investments into infrastructure in partnership with our municipal counterparts. For example, the new Mississauga hospital will give a much-needed replacement to the health care infrastructure in Mississauga, allowing more capacity for this growing city, the biggest hospital in Canadian history. The biggest ER room in Canada will be in Mississauga with 900-plus rooms. This is a huge investment, and as we said, time is money. We can accelerate the process getting things done. This is what we are trying to do if this bill passes.

“The South Common Community Centre in my riding will also be receiving renovations very soon, allowing it to continue to be a hub for activities for our local neighbourhood. This is all part of our government’s infrastructure revolution to continue building Ontario.

“Let me give you another example: Highway 413. The 413 will be built through Peel and Vaughan to bypass the busy Highway 401 in Toronto. It will save commuters time and it will get goods and people flowing. More and more people continue to come to the greater Horseshoe area to live and work. The infrastructure is needed to accommodate and handle this increased demand.

“When it comes to building infrastructure, the Liberals have made their stance clear: They are opposed to building new highways and infrastructure. When the Liberal leader was mayor of Mississauga, she voted against building the 413. She said the highway would be “disastrous,” but Ontarians know the truth. The real disaster for Ontario would be Bonnie Crombie and the Ontario Liberals. They are not willing to build highways or transit or housing or any infrastructure. Our government, led by this Premier, are the only ones prepared to get it done.

“Speaker, infrastructure is only half the picture. If people cannot afford to use infrastructure, then we cannot see the full benefits. That’s why we must continue to make life affordable for all Ontarians, and I’m pleased to see the government taking initiative to do that.

“The One Fare program, which came into effect earlier this week, is saving commuters money when they transfer between transit agencies. Residents from Mississauga can transfer between MiWay, GO Transit, TTC and many other GTA transit organizations while only paying one fare for the trip. This adds both affordability and convenience, allowing more options for connections at cheaper costs. And this program is expected to save transit riders an average of $1,600 per year. Every single commuter will save $1,600 per year. This is not pocket change. That is substantial savings being put right back into the wallets of hard-working Ontarians.

“Likewise, the government has already been working hard on saving money for drivers and vehicle owners. In the spring of 2022, the government removed licence plate renewal fees and stickers. For many vehicle owners, this has saved them over $100 per year, per person, per car. Now, in this bill, the government proposes not only extending that cost savings, but also making the entire renewal process automatic, providing both convenience and affordability.

“We might also discuss driver’s licence fees and photo card fees. In 2019, the government implemented a freeze on renewal fees of drivers’ licences and photo cards. As a result, in the years since then, over $22 million has been saved for Ontarians. This legislation proposes permanently freezing those fees, because our government believes in keeping costs down for the people. Our government has not increased a tax on the backs of Ontarians, and they are not increasing these fees.

“Our government is working hard to make sure that every Ontarian is able to get cheaper and convenient transportation all throughout this province, which brings me to a pivotal piece of today’s proposed bill, the Protecting Against Carbon Taxes Act.

“If passed, this legislation would enshrine in the laws of Ontario that the provincial government will not impose a carbon tax without the consent of the people. It would be a fair referendum, organized by the Chief Electoral Officer, with standard rules and procedures, and requiring a 50% majority of the vote to pass. This is not unusual. The Taxpayer Protection Act, 1999, provided for a similar referendum mechanism. This would ensure we have a fair and democratic process for establishing a new tax, if any future government wishes to impose one.

“We have seen the damage that a federal carbon tax has imposed on our nation. The carbon tax has caused the prices of everything in Ontario to go up, because every item we buy—whether it’s food, clothes, materials for industry—has a transportation cost. These costs were affected and increased by the carbon tax. Every household in Ontario has had their costs increase because of the carbon tax, such as the higher cost of heating. So despite the efforts of our provincial government working hard to make life easier, the federal government is forcing harder choices on the people of Ontario, whether they heat their homes or feed their families.

“I noticed on my heating bill a $64 item as carbon tax—$64 of carbon tax monthly. So when the federal government says it’s not significant, I say no; the carbon tax has caused the day-to-day cost of households to go significantly higher.

“We have seen the problems of the carbon tax, and we don’t want to see it again. So this bill proposes a simple and reasonable solution: Before any government force a carbon tax, they must get the consent of the people in a fair referendum. This is not a hypothetical situation.

“We can trust that this Ontario PC government would not impose a carbon tax, but the same cannot be said about all future administrations. In fact, the Liberals have already done this before. Premier Wynne told everyone that she wasn’t planning on implementing a carbon pricing system, but just a short while later the Liberal government implemented a disastrous cap-and-trade carbon tax.

“In the subsequent election, Ontarians elected our government to repeal that carbon tax. We did that. We got it done.

“But we have learned our lessons from the provincial and federal carbon taxes. Carbon taxes do not work. They hurt people, and Ontarians do not want another carbon tax. That’s why by passing this bill, we would be giving power back to the people to decide for themselves if they want the provincial carbon tax. The people of Ontario deserve a say in this.

“Therefore, our government is building infrastructure quickly, all the while making life more affordable for Ontarians. Just to name a few, we are building Highway 413, the Hazel McCallion Line, two-way, all-day GO on the Milton line. The Get It Done Act would make it easier to get this infrastructure built, including municipal projects and provincial priorities.

“Affordability measures are making life easier for everyone. This includes the One Fare transit program, the elimination licence plate stickers, freezing the driver’s licence and photo card renewal fees and ensuring no new carbon tax can be imposed without the will of the people.

“The Ontario government, led our amazing Premier, is laser-focused on making life affordable for everyone.

“Whether they call it carbon tax, a toll or a fee, at the end of the day there is only one taxpayer. The Liberals and NDP are willing to raise taxes and fees for Ontarians; we are not. The Liberals and NDP will cost Ontarians; we will not.

“Our government is here for the people of Ontario because Ontarians trust us, and we will not let them down. We will get it done. Thank you.”

MPP Sabawy gives a thumbs up in front of a gas station pump and a sign that reads "Working for you"