Today, Ontario took a step back in the battle against COVID-19. With 700 cases reported, we’ve now seen the largest single day increase in positive cases since the pandemic began.
Of these cases, 381 have been found in Toronto alone.
After a few months where we saw our case numbers slow down, we are now in the midst of a second wave of COVID-19 in Ontario. Sadly, we still have not seen a comprehensive plan to address this second wave, which has long been predicted by medical experts. In fact, we’ve almost seen the opposite.
For example, today, in a mystifying move the Ford government has moved to reopen some casinos across Ontario. This coming on the heels of continued growth in our COVID-19 case numbers in weeks, and truly explosive growth in the past few days.
Conversely, in Quebec, it was announced today that they will be moving to close bars, and other establishments for the next 28 days in some of their particularly hard-hit areas, including Montreal and Quebec City. This is to contain their own outbreak of COVID-19, which today ballooned with 896 new cases.
While the response from our provincial government has largely been muted, this evening, we heard a strong message from Dr. Eileen de Villa, the Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, who has come forward to say that social bubbles will no longer be sufficient in Toronto. She now recommends that we all make an effort to only come within six feet of those that we live with.
To our community in this difficult time, I say this:
We are going to get through this, but we need to be working together to address this new wave of COVID-19 together. We are in a crucial moment, where we must flatten the curve of COVID-19.
We need to ensure that we are all taking the COVID-19 precautions, as they have been laid out by our medical experts. That means wearing a mask, whenever you are in public, limiting your contact with anyone that you don’t live with, washing our hands as much as possible, and doing everything we can to protect our most vulnerable.
One the spaces where we’ve seen the most concern is in the education sector, and in specific there has been great worry surrounding the Ford government’s reopening plan for schools. This morning, I spent time outside the gates of Winona Drive Senior Public School and McMurrich Junior Public School to speak with students, parents and teachers about their questions and concerns (from a safe distance).
The message that I heard from those who I spoke with was loud and clear. The province needs to do more to support our education system - from top to bottom. What the Ford government has done so far - is not working for Ontario.
Finally today, I’m sending out another reminder about Orange Shirt Day - coming up this Wednesday September 30!
Orange Shirt Day is a day to commemorate the Residential School experience and an opportunity for us all to reflect and learn about Indigenous history and contemporary issues. In advance of this, I will be sharing some links to resources where you can learn more about Residential Schools in Canada (and a big thank you to Germaine for sharing these links with me!).
You can find these links just below this letter.
P.S. If you are wearing your Orange Shirt on Wednesday, make sure to email JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca with your picture to be included in our next newsletter!
Orange Shirt Day Resources
Orange Shirt Society
A background on Orange Shirt Day and how it came to be
Additional resources on Residential Schools
Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Senator Murray Sinclair, who was the Chief Commissioner for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission speaks in this video about the importance of the TRC.
A Heritage Minute video about Chanie "Charlie" Wenjack.
Additional resource for learning: Indigenous Canada course
A short description of the course from the website:
“From an Indigenous perspective, this course explores key issues facing Indigenous peoples today from a historical and critical perspective highlighting national and local Indigenous-settler relations.”