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MPP Paul Miller

Sprinkler regulations finally going through

COLUMN

Paul Miller, Hamilton East-Stoney Creek MPP

‘Balanced budgets’, what interesting terminology! Traditionally, Ontarians have thought of Conservatives as the money managers, with the Liberals as a bit less stringent, then the NDP as ‘tax and spend’ governments.  What an awakening we’ve had on this clearly misconstrued perception.

Toby Sanger, a senior economist, in The Progressive Economics Forum  reported in April 2011 that he undertook a research project covering three decades “about the fiscal and economic impact and record of NDP governments.”  He researched the federal and all provincial governments.

Sanger’s conclusions are more than surprising, they’re real eye-openers. His results “show that NDP governments have the best fiscal record of all political parties that have formed federal or provincial government in Canada.”  His analysis covered the number of years that the budgets were in balance or deficit and, more significantly, the size of the deficit as a share of gross domestic product.

This hard data puts to rest the fears of a tax-and-spend NDP government and dispels the myths about NDP governments having poor fiscal records – they have the best.  It also sheds a light at the end of the tunnel of Ontario’s huge deficit, financial mismanagement and arrogant, perhaps wonton, spending of our hard-earned tax dollars.

As I look over the past year, I am quite happy with two major legislative successes. The first, which I have previously mentioned, was the Royal Assent into law, of Bill 8, an underground infrastructure notification system for the province.  I co-sponsored this bill with PC MPP Bob Bailey.

The result of this bill is the increase in worker and public safety.  The work of the many utility companies and other stakeholders, like the Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance, who provided the research and analysis, made recommendations for the legislation and spent many hours bringing this issue to the Legislature, are to be commended for their tireless dedication to this cause.

The second achievement is the process at which my repeated calls for automatic sprinklers in every retirement residence has finally gone through. This past summer, a technical consultation was established to look at the issues raised in my bills 92 and 54 and at expanding the mandate to include every retirement home, as well as group homes, plus other like-types of homes.  The technical consultation resulted in recommendations being made to the Minister of Community Safety.

The recommendations will be implemented by changes to the regulations to both the fire and building codes.  Because it is these two codes that are being affected, there is a 45-day public consultation process that will be announced by the minister early in January. I will continue to monitor this process to ensure that we get the right regulations implemented as quickly as possible.

Both these bills lead to much greater worker and public safety; an achievement of which I am very proud.

Along with my wife Carole and my staff, Todd, Jason and Margo, I wish you the best of the New Year.

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