FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Oct. 3, 2013
QUEEN’S PARK – During question period today, MPP Toby Barrett asked that Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure step aside until issues around an illegal burger shack in Caledonia are resolved.
The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit originally issued a closure notice to the owners of the burger shack on July 12 due to the lack of 24-hour refrigeration and a constant source of power. When nothing happened, the health unit successfully sought a cease and desist order to enforce the closure. Subsequently, a decision was made to seek a contempt of court charge against the Minister of Infrastructure and the owners of the shack.
At the same time, Barrett was asking the question in the Legislature, a judge in Brantford was listening to the contempt of court case against the Minister of Infrastructure and the owners of the burger shack. The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit was seeking the ruling after the province refused to enforce the ruling against the owners of the burger shack, which sits on provincial land.“Acting Premier, it’s been two and a half months since the court order was issued. Why do you feel
your government is above the law in disobeying this court injunction,” Barrett asked.
To the surprise of some, Acting Premier Charles Sousa passed the question to Minister of Aboriginal Affairs David Zimmer. He refused to answer, saying the matter was before the court.
Barrett, not satisfied with the answer, asked the Acting Premier, if his infrastructure minister would “step aside” until the matter is cleared up.
“I think you would agree it’s unusual for a medical officer of health to have to get a contempt of court ruling against a minister of the Crown,” Barrett noted in his supplementary question.”What will it take for
your government to apply the rule of law?”
Again, the question was bounced to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. Responding angrily, Minister Zimmer again said he couldn’t answer because the matter was before the courts.
For more information contact
MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446
Ontario Legislative Assembly
Aboriginal land dispute
Mr. Toby Barrett: To the acting Premier: On July 12, under the authority of the Health
Protection and Promotion Act, an illegal burger shack in Caledonia was ordered closed. Then, on
July 22, a cease-and-desist order was issued by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. This
burger shack is on MTO property and the court order names your Minister of Infrastructure, but
you have not closed this burger shack.
Acting Premier, it’s been two and a half months since the court order was issued. Why do you
feel your government is above the law in disobeying this court injunction?
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Acting Premier.
Hon. Charles Sousa: The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.
Hon. David Zimmer: Thank you for that question. As the member opposite knows those issues
regarding the burger shack are before the court today as we speak—in front of the superior court
on both issues. Until the court deals with that today and renders its decision it is inappropriate for
anyone in this House to comment on that.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?
Mr. Toby Barrett: Acting Premier, this is for you: A condemned burger shack next to an illegal
smoke shack, on government land adjacent to provincial Highway 6, no potable water, no sink to
wash your hands, no refrigeration, intermittent power—it’s clearly a threat to public health.
Now, as we know, the Haldimand–Norfolk Health Unit is trying to get a contempt of court ruling
against your Minister of Infrastructure. I think you would agree it’s unusual for a medical officer
of health to have to get a contempt of court ruling against a minister of the crown.
What will it take for your government to apply the rule of law? Acting Premier, will you ask your minister, who is now and could be in contempt of court, to step aside until this gets
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Stop the clock. Be seated, please. Be seated, please. Minister?
Hon. David Zimmer: The member opposite knows full well that when issues of this importance
are before the court, that it’s inappropriate for anyone to comment on the case. Those issues—
Mr. Gilles Bisson: EllisDon is before the courts.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I didn’t get things quiet for you to have another heckle.
Hon. David Zimmer: As we speak, this very moment, those issues are…
I didn’t get things quiet for you to have another heckle. Finish, please.
Hon. David Zimmer: As we speak, this very moment, those issues are being heard before the Superior Court of Ontario, by a judge of that court, and you are being disrespectful by trying to raise those questions in the middle of a court hearing over in Brantford today. The member opposite knows better than that.