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Chris Ballard and Bill 42

Congratulations to Aurora Newmarket MPP Chris Ballard on his promotion into the Government as Minister of Housing. He will be a busy boy.

But this raises the question of what happens to Bill 42 - his private member’s Bill which would mandate the election of the Chair of York Region in 2018. At the moment, the Chair is indirectly elected by York Regional Council. And they like the cosy status quo.

As a Government Minister, Ballard is no longer a “private member” and in the ordinary course of things his Bill 42 would continue to appear on the Order and Notices Paper. In the absence of a motion to withdraw the Bill, it would just sit there, going nowhere. The Bill would then die at prorogation or dissolution.

As it happens, I gave oral evidence to the Committee examining the Bill on 2 March 2016 and, for this reason amongst others, I feel an attachment to Ballard’s Bill which I would like to see survive and become law.

The answer is for Ballard to arrange for another MPP (of any Party) to take the Bill over and become its sponsor. This could be done simply enough by the House agreeing a motion to transfer sponsorship. But here is the rub. The motion to transfer would have to be moved by the Government.

So, I suppose the fate of Ballard’s Bill 42 rests with Kathleen Wynne.

Last month I wrote to Chris (who is my MPP) asking how the Government’s proposed ban on corporate and union donations to candidates running for election at provincial and municipal level would impact on Bill 42. The questions are straightforward and obvious but the answers, I fear, are less so.

How will this work in practice at municipal level where political parties do not organize?

I understand a public subsidy will be going to provincial political parties to compensate for the ending of corporate and union donations. It will be based on the votes received at the preceding election. But how are municipal candidates going to be helped, if at all?

As I tap this out I am thinking of your own Bill 42 mandating the election of the regional chair. The electorate is huge – according to York Region it will be around 750,000.

How are candidates expected to finance their campaigns? Will there be any kind of public subsidy? If so, what form will it take?

I know Chris has a lot on his plate at the moment but I am sure he will find time to reply to these points. When he does, I shall post his answers here.

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