House Debate, Question Period, Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Canada

The courts aren't going to work for these people. How many people are you willing to sacrifice? You said you wanted to protect franchisees and we took you at your word.


Legislative Assembly of Ontario
November 21, 2001

House Debates, Question Period
Oral Question
Tony Martin, MPP

The Committee of the Whole
2nd session, 37th Parliament
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): My question is also for the Minister of Consumer and Business Services. Twenty-three Grand and Toy franchise owners across Ontario are facing ruin at the hands of a company that just doesn't care. Many of them and their families are here in the House today.
They're looking to you for some help. Your legislation fails to stop Grand and Toy from ripping up contracts and locking the doors on these people. Minister, you have laws to stop big corporations from doing that to their workers. Are you saying that a Conservative government doesn't want to protect small businesspersons? Minister, you promised to consider changes to the legislation if the facts showed it doesn't protect franchisees. Well, the facts have spoken: your law doesn't work. I introduced a bill today that will. Will you support it?

Hon Norman W. Sterling (Minister of Consumer and Business Services): First of all, no one can rip up a contract and avoid the promises and the conditions of that contract. That's what our laws are about. My understanding is that this matter is before the courts. It is my hope that the Arthur Wishart law will help provide fair dealing as described in the Arthur Wishart Act. I understand from reading the statement of claim in their lawsuit that in fact they plead the Arthur Wishart Act as part of their statement of claim. It is my hope that, as a result of this legal case, we could find out how well the Arthur Wishart Act protects franchisees. As I have promised before, if it does not, then we will have to change the law.


Mr Martin: The courts aren't going to work for these people. How many people are you willing to sacrifice? You said you wanted to protect franchisees and we took you at your word. I believe that if you really understand what terrible things are happening to these hard-working people and you look at the changes we are calling for in the act, you will see that you can and should work with the NDP and bring changes in right now, immediately. Minister, the clock is ticking. Will you sit down, at least, and meet with me and the franchisees from Grand and Toy, hear their case and be open to working with us to bring real protection into our laws?

Hon Mr Sterling: I find it odd that it took a Conservative government after 1995, when there were other franchise laws in this country and on this continent, to bring in a law to protect franchisees, notwithstanding the fact that of course the NDP government was here from 1990 to 1995.

I feel very sorry for these franchisees. I will do everything in my power to help them. However, if there is a case underway, then as a member of cabinet I cannot interfere directly in that matter until that particular case has finished and been heard by the courts. That's what our courts are for.

I have not seen the member's bill and therefore I cannot say whether I would support it or not. I will look at it, and I will look at it in a positive sense and in a constructive way. I am always, and this government is always, looking for ways to have fair dealing between small business and other people who are involved with small business.

This document is a verbatim copy of Hansard, the official record of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

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Copyright (c) 2001
Office of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Risks: Ministry of Consumer and Commerical Services, Ministry of Consumer and Business Services, Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, Ministry of Government Services, Ontario, Tony Martin, Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000, Canada, Government hostile to small business, State refuses to even listen, Private Members’ Bill, Futility of taking legal action, Justice only for the rich, Courts misunderstand relationship, Canada, 20011121 Oral Question

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