Harris calls for greater transparency in government decision-making

June 12, 2012

QUEEN’S PARK — Today, Michael Harris, MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga, introduced the Transparency in Government Bills Act, 2012, which, if passed, would require the government to provide a comprehensive report with each government bill, detailing its financial, economic, health and environmental implications.

“Time and again, the McGuinty Liberals rush legislation through the House without properly considering the consequences for their actions,” Harris said. “When new laws will affect the livelihood of individuals and the profitability of their businesses, the government should, at least, notify them about the potential impact.”

The Transparency in Government Bills Act would require government bills to be accompanied with a report that includes the following items:

A detailed summary of the financial costs the bill will have on government, municipalities, individuals and businesses.

•   A detailed summary of the financial costs the bill will have on government, municipalities, individuals and businesses,
•    An assessment of potential legislative overlap with different levels of government,
•    A review of how the bill will affect Ontario’s competitiveness,
•    And, if applicable, a science-based assessment justifying the bill’s measures.

“That way every Ontarian, not just lawyers and interest groups, will be able to go online and see what the government – for the most part – has already determined through its own lengthy research process,” Harris said.

The Management Board of Cabinet routinely examines the financial and personnel implications of each government bill before receiving cabinet and caucus approval.

“If this type of in-depth research is already being conducted on the costs and benefits of each bill, why do the Opposition parties and the Ontario public know little to nothing about it?” Harris said.

“This is an issue of trust, fairness and government responsibility. Ontarians analyze the costs and benefits of virtually every important decision they make, whether it’s buying a home or starting a business. So it’s time that they have the tools necessary to assess new government legislation coming down the pike before they get hit with new restrictions and taxes.”