ON PC’s should support Marchese PMB for more Ombudsman oversight

Tomorrow, Ontario NDP MPP Rosario Marchese will introduce a Private Members Bill in the Ontario Legislature that, if passed, would give the Ontario Ombudsman the oversight power to investigate complaints that deal with school boards, hospitals, long term care facilities, retirement homes and children’s aid societies — all areas that are apparently NOT now covered by that office.  Clearly, given the fact that there were some 4,000 complaints last year that the Ombudsman was not able to investigate,  this addition to the Ombudsman’s powers is long overdue.

As such, it is my hope that the Ontario PC caucus, under the leadership of Tim Hudak, look at this bill from a bi-partisan point of view and support it 100%. While I don’t have links, I do recall that there have been attempts to extend such powers to investigate in the past during both the Bob Rae and Mike Harris governments. Yet, they went no where. Why not? Well, in my opinion, they went nowhere because of pressures from the very groups that would be investigated.

For a really good link, check out Hugo’s blog at The Education Reporter. He has a link to an article written by Jen O’Brien of the London Free Press. Once you get to Hugo’s link in his first sentence, click on the magnifying glass at the bottom of the page and then simply move your cursor onto the article itself and you will be able to read the article, as well as some examples of the types of complaints that have gone unheaded, especially about bullying.

The Ontario public, be they parents, patients or caregivers, need to be able to ask someone to investigate issues and events that previously have been ignored or disputed, which is why we should all be in favour of the Marchese PMB. Why? Because if passed into law,  it would allow the Ontario Ombudsman oversight powers into all areas of public services.

Update November 16th: MPP Rosario Marchese tabled his Private Members Bill yesterday. Here are some recent links: Global Toronto, CBC, Brandon Sun and CP 24. No Ontario government, no matter which political party, has ever supported a PMB to increase the Ontario Ombudsman’s power of oversight. Why I don’t know. It should be about accountability and as a last resort for many parents and caregivers. It is my hope, therefore, that the Ontario PC’s support this bill. If it is not needed, there will be no complaints. If it is needed, we will see what those complaints are all about and how the next government, which I hope will be a PC government, can bring in new legislation or policies to correct them.

2 thoughts on “ON PC’s should support Marchese PMB for more Ombudsman oversight

  1. Liberal MPP Ted McMeekin introduced a private member’s bill several years ago on the same theme. He proposed to create a position of Children’s Education Advocate or some such title — an independent ombudsman who could represent issues concerning individual students or their families, not answerable to the MOE or the boards. Despite the fact that McMeekin was one of the majority party (and presumably NDPers and Tories would be supportive of such a move to ensure accountability and fairness to discriminated parties), it apparently went nowhere. So I don’t hold out a lot of hope for the current initiative, however badly needed.

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  2. TDSB — My memory may be incorrect but I seem to recall PC MPP John O’Toole tabling a PMB on a similar topic sometime between 1995 and 1999 when the PCs were in gov’t. I can’t find anything on his website, so I may be wrong. Suffice that all the parties have tried to get this done. Lobbying against such powers must be incredible for none of the parties to succeed.

    A lot of people don’t understand what is involved in presenting and tabling a PMB. I put together an entire PMB package for my former boss, the PC MPP. It is a huge job. The one I put together was on school bus safety — that all buses stop at train crossings — including those that have the bells and whistles because if there is a power outage, they fail. I had to do background research regarding every school bus accident in the U.S. and Canada. Lastly, you have to come up with a communications plan and the package is delivered to every single MPP, regardless of party. Eventually, my boss’s PMB passed but only because the Premier’s office approved and allowed it to be folded into the Highway Traffic Act when they were amending it to stop wheels from falling off trucks.

    The thing is that, in Ontario, each and every MPP, no matter what their political party draws a number at the start of each parliament. Whatever number they draw is when they can put forward a PMB and not until then. And, even then, they have to run their ideas by their leader and whip. My boss’s number was 78 out of 130. So, it took three years to get to him. Often, however, some never get a chance if they keep getting between 120 and 130. Now, of course, it is 107 but it likely would not be possible to be any number past 80 or 90.

    Either way, I hope this is passed or at least awakens the public for the future.

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