Premier acknowledges importance of the Morriston bypass
Ted Arnott, MPP
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 9, 2014
Premier acknowledges importance of the Morriston bypass
(Queen’s Park) – In Question Period on July 8, Premier Kathleen Wynne publicly acknowledged
the importance of the Highway 6 Morriston bypass project and Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted
Arnott’s efforts to get the project on to the Ministry of Transportation’s 5 year plan.
In response to a question from Opposition Leader Jim Wilson, Premier Wynne said: “…We
understand the constraints that have to be in place. But the other reality is that there are
investments needed. I would just call attention to a statement that the member for Wellington–
Halton Hills made yesterday in his first member’s statement…”
Mr. Arnott’s July 7 statement began by highlighting the importance of the Highway 6 Morriston
bypass and the need to get the project on the Ministry of Transportation’s 5 year plan.
“I’m glad that the Premier has finally acknowledged that the Morriston bypass is needed,” said
Mr. Arnott. “As a former Minister of Transportation, she must know the importance of this
“It’s clear that that the Premier is paying attention,” he added. “I just hope that the Minister of
Transportation was listening too.”
Once a provincial budget is passed, it is normal for the Ministry of Transportation to review its 5
year plan and make changes as projects are completed and new ones are considered.
Page 265 of the 2014 Ontario Budget Papers indicates that the Ontario Government plans to
spend almost $2.5 billion on provincial highway infrastructure this fiscal year.
“Now that the Premier has acknowledged the need for this project in the Legislature, I hope that
we will soon see the Highway 6 Morriston bypass added to the Ministry’s 5 year plan,” said Mr.
Working with Township of Puslinch Council and the County of Wellington, Mr. Arnott has
persistently raised the need for the Highway 6 Morriston bypass in the Ontario Legislature for
(Attached: Hansard record of Mr. Wilson’s question and the Premier’s response in the Ontario
Legislature, July 8, 2014 and Mr. Arnott’s Member’s Statement, July 7, 2014)
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Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott was re-elected to the Ontario Legislature on June
12. The 41 Provincial Parliament began a summer sitting on July 2, and the session
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Ted Arnott, MPP
Ontario Hansard – 08-July 2014
Mr. Jim Wilson: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Certainly the introduction of pages is important. It’s historic
for them to be here, and we certainly welcome them all.
Now let’s get down to business.
My question is for the Premier. Moody’s credit rating agency has changed Ontario’s debt rating outlook
from stable to negative. After 11 years of a Liberal regime in Ontario, you’ve managed to double our debt,
and paying the interest on that debt is now the third-largest expenditure in the budget. When referencing
the debt, even former Liberal MPP Donna Cansfield said, “This province is in deep trouble.”
Premier, your proposed budget has caused a credit downgrade to hang over Ontario. Tell us today, does
the government’s fiscal plan take into account a further credit rating downgrade, which would increase the
cost of servicing the debt? Or will you assure us that your budget will not result in a credit downgrade?
Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: What I can assure the Leader of the Opposition is that we are determined to
eliminate the deficit by 2017-18. We have laid that out in our budget. We will reintroduce our budget next
week. We have been very, very clear about the constraints that we know have to be put in place. We have
been clear about that path to balance.
But we’ve also been clear-and we were clear with the people of Ontario as we went through the election
campaign-that our plan was based on investments in communities, investments in the talent and skills of
our people, our children, our grandchildren, investments in infrastructure that we know are necessary,
whether it’s roads or bridges, whether it’s transit, whether it’s hospitals or schools. Those investments are
necessary in order for the province to thrive.
That is the basis of our plan, and it is laid out very clearly in our budget documents.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?
Mr. Jim Wilson: Again to the Premier: Premier, you claim that you want to build Ontario up, but the fact
is, the massive debt your government has created is now threatening front-line services that we cherish
here in Ontario, like health care and education. Even former Finance Minister Dwight Duncan says that
the province’s finances are “a ticking time bomb,” yet you’re still working to push through a budget that
the credit rating agencies are already frowning upon.
Premier, is it your intention to rush through this budget, then shut down the Legislature so that you can
negotiate new public sector contracts without the Legislature being in session to hold you to account?
Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: As the Leader of the Opposition knows, we are back here within 20 days
because I said that it was important that we get the budget reintroduced and that we have the opportunity
to debate it. We’re willing to stay as long as that takes, to have the budget debated and to make sure that
we get the full input from this House. But the reality that the Leader of the Opposition puts forward, that there are challenges ahead, that’s not
news to us. We know that there are challenges, Mr. Speaker. That’s why in our budget, we lay out the path
to balance. We understand the constraints that have to be in place.
But the other reality is that there are investments needed. I would just call attention to a statement that the
member for Wellington-Halton Hills made yesterday in his first member’s statement. He talked about the
need in his riding-
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Answer?
Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: -and I will quote in the final supplementary, but he talked about the need in
his riding for investments in infrastructure.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Final supplementary.
Mr. Jim Wilson: Well, the honourable member for Halton-
Mr. Jim Wilson: I just say to the Premier, the honourable member for Wellington-Halton Hills has a far
better record of sticking up for his constituents and setting priorities, because he was part of a government
that set priorities for eight years in this province and balanced the budget.
Premier, in Europe, they-
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Order.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): That will do.
Mr. Jim Wilson: We’ve seen in Europe, where they didn’t care about the credit rating, or didn’t care
enough about it, and they didn’t care enough about their debt obligations-in fact, their debt obligations just
kept growing-that they actually did have to cut services that we cherish here in Ontario, like health care
You need to treat the credit rating as sacrosanct to make sure that we spend within our means, because we
owe that to the hard-working people of Ontario. That’s an obligation we have, and we have an obligation
to preserve front-line services.
Premier, will you take your time with the budget? We’ll forgive you if you don’t introduce it next
Monday. Take your time with the budget. Fix it so that we don’t lose our current credit rating.
Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: What is sacrosanct to me are the needs of this province and the needs of the
people in this province, and those needs are multi-faceted. As the Leader of the Opposition notes, there
are challenges ahead for our fiscal situation, and we have laid out our path to balance in our budget.
But we also have a need to make investments in infrastructure. The Leader of the Opposition references
the history of the member for Wellington-Halton Hills and his participation in the government, his
membership in the government, and his membership in a government that in fact didn’t make the
investments that were needed, didn’t make the investments in infrastructure that were needed, which is
why yesterday he was standing in this House saying, “On June 13, the day after”-and I’m quoting the
member for Wellington-Halton Hills-“On June 13, the day after the election, we were back to work at my
constituency office, and I wrote the Premier to highlight three key issues in my riding: the Highway 6
Morriston bypass, improved GO train service, and high-speed Internet in rural Ontario.” So, Mr. Speaker-
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you.
Ontario Hansard – 07-July 2014
Mr. Ted Arnott: Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate you and every member of this House on their
successful election on June 12. I’m looking forward to working with each of them over the next four years
in the 41st Parliament as we all seek to make Ontario a better place for all of its residents.
On June 13, the day after the election, we were back to work at my constituency office, and I wrote the
Premier to highlight three key issues in my riding: the Highway 6 Morriston bypass, improved GO train
service, and high-speed Internet in rural Ontario. On July 3, I tabled three private members’ resolutions on
these issues. They are the first three items listed on the order paper today.
Highway 6 serves as a vital link between the 401 and the Hamilton-Niagara region and the US border. A
bypass around Morriston will eliminate a major traffic bottleneck, improve safety and allow for the free
flow of goods to the border.
During the election campaign, the government promised full-day two-way GO train service between
Waterloo region and the GTA. What is the time frame for keeping this commitment? How does the
government define “full-day two-way service”? Will this include more stops in Wellington-Halton Hills?
Finally, lack of access to high-speed Internet in rural Ontario continues to be a concern. Reliable and
affordable access to high-speed Internet is essential in today’s economy. A provincial strategy for
expanding affordable high-speed Internet would help our local businesses grow and attract new
investment to our rural communities.
I commend all of these issues to the government and urge immediate support for them.