Premier Kathleen Wynne announces prorogation of legislature ahead of throne speech

Premier Kathleen Wynne on Thursday announced the prorogation of the legislature to make way for a speech from the throne on March 19.

Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell to outline government’s plans on March 19

Kathleen Wynne points to changing economy are some hard realities as she announces prorogation of legislature ahead of Throne Speech. (Paul Borkwood/CBC)

Premier Kathleen Wynne has announced the prorogation of the legislature to make way for a speech from the throne on Mar. 19.

Lt.-Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell will outline government's plans in the throne speech scheduled to begin at noon.

"We are at a critical moment in Ontario, when we know people are dealing with a lot of uncertainty in their lives," Wynne said in a statement Thursday. 

"This throne speech will clearly outline our government's priorities for the rest of the legislative session," she added.

The move comes less than a week after the opposition Progressive Conservatives elected Doug Ford as their new leader ahead of the June 7 election.

The procedural move requires the government to briefly prorogue the legislature, which means shutting it down, but no sitting days will be lost because the closure will take place this week over March Break.

In the statement, Wynne noted that today's changing economy means there are some hard realities that are affecting people's everyday lives, and creating an unfair burden.

"We know families are under a lot of pressure, whether it's the cost of childcare for their kids or the cost of home care for their parents. People are struggling to take care of themselves, and their loved ones," the statement reads.

Wynne said her government will make investments in mental health, health care, home care and child care and invest in areas that make life more affordable — because people need that relief.

"This is no time for a government to take a step back or make deep cuts," the statement said.

It notes that the speech will set out our government's plan for care and opportunity, outline how government will do more for people, and will not pull back at a time when people most need support.

Wynne says all government bills and motions that existed prior to prorogation will be re-introduced to the legislature.

Ontario NDP calls announcement a 'stunt'

Meanwhile, in an immediate reaction, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath described Wynne's announcement as a "stunt" and "nothing more than a desperate attempt to wipe the slate clean" by a tired Liberal government that's well past its expiry date.

Horwath said the Liberals had 15 years to make life better for Ontarians, and that they let people down.

"The fact is, anything she really intended to do, she could have done already," Horwath said in a statement.

She noted that a throne speech just weeks before an election campaign won't fix hallway medicine or provide prescription medicine to all the people who need it.

"It won't end the problems in seniors care homes. It won't fix a single crumbling school," Horwath added. "It won't put Hydro One back into public hands."

With files from The Canadian Press