Chris Ballard’s Private Member's Bill 42 which will force the direct election of the Chair of York Region from 2018 is now half way through its Committee Stage at Queen’s Park.

But what was striking about the first evidence session (on Wednesday, 24 February) was that no-one turned up to defend the status quo. All seven witnesses argued for direct election.

The second evidence session this coming Wednesday (2 March) promises to be delicious. Probably lip smacking. Aurora Mayor, Geoff Dawe, who voted against directly electing the Regional Chair when the matter came before York Regional Council earlier this month, will be mounting a defence of the status quo.

Fellow Aurora councillor, Wendy Gaertner, put it this way:

“The Mayor voted against (Aurora) Council’s wishes and for his own.”

Liberal MPP Bas Balkissoon told her:

“That’s not democracy.”

In fact, Bill 42 seems to have a lot of friends.

Progressive Conservative Ernie Hardeman told the Committee:

“I support the Bill 100% and I do hope that we can get it through as quickly as possible.”

Once the Committee has finished with the Bill it then reports to the House – with or without any amendments. It then goes to Third Reading and, if passed, Royal Assent.

However, the timetabling of the remaining stages of the Bill’s progress through the legislature is in the hands of the House business managers. But with such widespread support it looks increasingly likely the Bill will make it on to the Statute Book.

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