It has been a very busy day today, with multiple groups descending on Queen’s Park to voice their displeasure with the actions of this government.
First, I joined a group of students and parents who want to see our schools opened safely and full time in September. I am in full support of their call to open schools, and I want to see our government invest in education in such a way that we will be able to do so. That means we need to see more education workers, teachers and custodians hired in every school board in Ontario, as we’ll need to maintain smaller class sizes and carefully sanitized schools. We also must commit to providing school staff with the PPE that they need in order to do their jobs safely. I'd like to send a huge shout out to Athena Reich and all organizers of today's event!
Next, I attended a rally organized by Toronto ACORN to denounce Bill 184. Bill 184 has been labelled by the government the “Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act”, which could not be a more misleading title. In reality, this Bill will enable landlords to evict tenants more easily and takes rights and protections away from tenants. The fact that this has been brought forward during a global pandemic is a haunting reminder of this government’s priorities especially when many tenants in our community are already facing dire situations. Earlier this week, I spoke in the House against Bill 184, as I know that it will have a negative impact on our community. You can watch my debate on this bill here.
Sadly, Bill 184 received Royal Assent yesterday, and is now law. The way that this bill was rammed through is especially concerning when we see that the government immediately turned around and adjourned the Legislature until September 14th. Closing down Queens Park means that we - your official opposition - cannot ask the Ford government the tough questions during question period and demand dialogue during debates. However, we won't stop fighting. I ask you to CONTACT PREMIER FORD AND HIS PC MPPs across the province. Let them know that St.Paul's will not stop fighting for democracy!
But that wasn’t even the only piece of problematic legislation that was rushed through the Legislature yesterday. Bill 195 is an incredibly controversial piece of legislation that gives the government of Ontario the power to extend their emergency orders once a month for the next two years.
This is unprecedented in Ontario’s history and puts an enormous amount of unilateral power in the hands of the Premier. It enables Doug Ford to override collective agreements and allows him to bypass the Legislature on many issues. Earlier this week, I raised my voice in the Legislature to register my concerns with this bill. In fact, Bill 195 is so out of line that we even saw a PC MPP vote against it. After which she was hastily thrown out of the PC caucus for her vote.
MPP Belinda Karahalios is the MPP for Cambridge and she referred to Bill 195 as an “unnecessary overreach” of parliamentary democracy. Let's face it there are a million and one of Ford's bills his MPPs should be voting against by the dozens but nonetheless I commend MPP Karahalios for her moment of clarity on Bill 195, and I believe every Ontarian should be concerned by the contempt for democracy displayed by the government in Fords decision to toss her out.
While Doug Ford often refuses to listen to the people of Ontario, that will not stop me from continuing to make sure that the voices of Toronto-St. Paul’s are heard loud and clear in the Legislature. On Tuesday, I presented three petitions – one regarding the Regis Report, the second fighting against Above the Guideline Rent Increases in Ontario, and finally a petition demanding the creation of an emergency basic income in Ontario.
The Regis Report petition calls for the creation and implementation of ‘The Regis Report’ which would examine the events that led to Regis Korchinski-Paquet’s death after an interaction with the Police. We know that Black and Indigenous people are more likely to die during interactions with the police, and we know we need a thorough reform of policing in our society. The hope is that through the Regis Report, we could work together to ensure that we reform these broken systems that are failing Black, Indigenous and racialized people in Ontario every day.
As Ontario continues on the path to reopening, we are seeing frustrating setbacks with new case numbers in our province increasing to levels we have not seen in over a month. When analyzed, we are seeing that the largest number of new cases are being found in young people.
While we know that young people are at the lowest risk of dying from COVID-19 – that doesn’t mean that they are immune or cannot spread the virus. It’s vital that as we reopen, we continue to take all the precautions necessary – even if you are a young person. Please remember that battling COVID-19 is up to all of us; so no matter your age, please make sure that you are wearing a face mask in public, washing your hands frequently, and keeping your bubble to a maximum of 10 people.
I also want to send a quick shout out to everyone from 15 and Fairness who spent the weekend fighting for paid sick leave for workers. You have my full support!
Finally today, I’m excited to share with you a survey with a chance to win 1 of 2 $100 gift cards! Our friends at Unison Health and Community Services are looking to hear from youth in our community (13-29) so they can work to understand our community more fully.
You can find the survey here: https://airtable.com/shrJBVhF9KAQvXCE1
If you have a positive story from our community OR a virtual event you're hosting that you want amplified, please email us at JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca.
Birthday, Anniversary Greetings
During normal times, my office sends out congratulatory scrolls to folks across the riding to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and other milestones! While we're taking physical distancing measures, I will be continuing this digitally. If you have a birthday coming up in the family and you would like a special video message from me, please email us at JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca. And if you should decide to share your video on social media do tag us @JillsLastWord on Twitter and Jill Andrew - MPP, Toronto-St. Paul's on Facebook.
Calling Local Artists
If you are local artist, and you have a piece of work that you’ve been putting time into, we would love to share it with the community! We know that #ArtsSavesLives and minds especially during traumatic times. If you’re interested in sharing your art please email us at JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca
ALL art submitted MUST be accompanied by a short artists statement (50 words or less) to help contextualize the art. Additionally, there are no guarantees that submissions will be included in the newsletter. Thank you for sharing your work with us and our community."
Community Food Table Locations for Saturday July 25
729 St. Clair Ave W ( located at St. Clair West and Rushton)
Click here to Volunteer
Oriole Park Community Garden from 11am to 3pm
201 Oriole Parkway (near Frobisher and Lascelles)
Click here to Volunteer
Vaughan and Winona from 11am to 3pm
529 Vaughan Road
Click here to Volunteer!
Marian Engel Park from 11am to 1pm
285 Melita Ave (just west off of Christie)
News and Updates
Here are today’s new developments:
- Ontario's COVID-19 case count today was 165 — still high, although a slight improvement over Tuesday’s count over 200. Just over half are people under age 40.
- The Ford government abruptly adjourned the Legislature for the remainder of the summer on Tuesday, after using its majority to ram through several controversial bills, including one that will make it easier for landlords to evict people despite the ongoing pandemic (Bill 184), and one that uses the pandemic as cover to give the Premier unchecked powers (Bill 195).
- In an end-of-session press conference this morning, Andrea Horwath said the Ford government's wrongheaded priorities made the session a missed opportunity to help seniors in long-term care, tenants, small businesses and schools.
- A new study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal finds that for-profit long-term care homes in Ontario experienced significantly worse outbreaks of COVID-19, and more related deaths, than non-profit or municipally run homes - for months, we have been pushing for an independent, find-and-fix long-term care judicial inquiry that includes scrutiny of the role of profits in long-term care.
Solutions we’re pushing for:
- Teresa Armstrong responded to an Ontario Health Coalition survey that shows 95 per cent of long-term care staff say seniors' basic needs continue to go unmet due to staffing shortages - we have been urging Ford to address the sector's critical staff shortages.
- Monique Taylor, tabled a motion in the Legislature Tuesday urging the Ford government to make a plan to meets the needs of children with special needs and their families during the pandemic.