Ontario MPPs to sit until June 9 but Wynne not denying suggestion Liberals will prorogue this session

TORONTO — Premier was coy Wednesday when asked if she was planning on proroguing the legislature, which the opposition believes could be a way to avoid accountability.

The house is scheduled to sit until June 9 before taking a summer break, resuming Sept. 12, but the majority Liberal government has already passed most of its agenda this session, including enabling legislation for the partial sale of Hydro One, its sexual violence and harassment action plan and changes to electoral boundaries.

There are still two major pieces of legislation — the budget bill and cap-and-trade legislation — that have not yet passed, but are expected to soon.

When asked if she was planning on proroguing once those bills get through the legislature.

“There is a lot more work to do in the province, so stay tuned for how we’re going to continue to build this province up,” she replied.

Government House Leader Yasir Naqvi also did not deny that the government is considering prorogation.

“We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us,” he said. “We have a very ambitious legislative agenda. We have some significant bills in front of us and our focus is right now to pass those bills.”

The opposition parties suggested the Liberal government might want to prorogue in order to avoid question period.

“They’re mired in waste, mismanagement and scandal and I think that’s the real reason this government wants to run, but it won’t be able to hide from the people of Ontario,” said Progressive Conservative .

The government has been on the receiving end of criticism in question period for its partial sale and privatization of Hydro One, and more recently changes in the budget to seniors’ drug costs that the opposition says will leave most seniors in the province paying more. Wynne has said she will reconsider the changes.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the government “has been everything but transparent and open,” such as ignoring the public outcry to the sale of Hydro One and feedback on budget consultations.

“They are simply deciding that they don’t have to account to anyone,” she said. “This is the place of accounting. This is the place where the opposition holds the government to account on what people are saying are problems in this province.”

There is also growing speculation Wynne will shuffle her cabinet at some point this year, since she has not made any substantive changes since the 2014 election.

Prorogation can be a standard tool for governments, but former prime minister sparked vigorous debate after he prorogued in late 2008, when his minority government faced the spectre of being unseated by an opposition coalition.

In October 2012, after increasing criticism over the costly decision to cancel the plants, former premier Dalton McGuinty abruptly announced a plan to resign as premier and prorogued the legislature. It was done to allow for a cooling off period after a bitter contempt of parliament debate erupted in the legislature over his energy minister’s refusal to produce all documents related to the plants.

About Allison Jones, The Canadian Press