News

Ontarians deserve affordable licensed childcare not empty Liberal promises

Catherine Fife, Ontario NDP Early Years and Child Care Critic, issued the following statement.

“Today’s announcement by Ministers Hunter and Naidoo-Harris does nothing to ease parents’ struggles to find affordable child care in this province. Unfortunately, it was revealed to be little more than a publicity stunt by a Liberal government more concerned about its political fortunes ahead of next year’s election than about the urgent needs of families.

The Wynne Liberals announced a plan to make a plan when it comes to child care and that’s not good enough. The Liberals want credit for years of doing nothing while waiting lists grew and affordable, quality child care became harder to find. Parents deserve action to make affordable, quality, licensed child care spaces available right away.

After 14 years of Liberal government, Ontarians pay the highest child care fees in the nation. For all those moms and dads deciding whether going to work is even worth it, it’s clear the Liberals just don’t get it.”

Quick Facts:

  • There are only enough licensed child care spaces in Ontario for one in five children.
  • Parents in Ontario pay the highest child care fees in the country and wait on the longest lists for subsidized child care.
  • Parents pay an average of $1,152 per child, per month in child care fees
  • Wynne abandoned municipalities, refusing to pay the provincial share of child care costs and forcing municipalities to cut child care spaces.
  • The Liberal government has closed 300 schools, and has another 300 on the chopping block now – some of which housed daycare spaces.

Horwath says Sault byelection has NDP looking to 2018

SAULT STE. MARIE – Thursday’s byelection result shows the NDP overtaking the incumbent Liberals.

Speaking to community members and volunteers in the Sault Thurdsay night, Horwath was looking ahead to 2018. 

“The much bigger fight lies ahead,” she said. “Just a year from now, the people of Sault Ste. Marie – and all Ontarians – will be given a choice not just to change a seat in the assembly, but to change governments. And we’ll give Ontario the choice to elect a government that’s focused on people.

NDP’s Sattler introduces bill to make sexual violence prevention training mandatory for alcohol servers

NDP Women’s Issues critic Peggy Sattler (London West) is tabling a new bill Thursday that requires sexual violence and harassment prevention training be included in Smart Serve, the mandatory training for restaurant and bar owners and employees.

“Servers, bar owners and bartenders are already required to learn to recognize when somebody has had too much to drink and are trained to intervene to stop alcohol service, and help the guest arrange to get home safely,” said Sattler. “It is a natural extension to expand the training to help those in the industry recognize and intervene safely when their customers are at risk of sexual violence or harassment.”

Sattler’s bill, The Safe Night Out Act has widespread support and follows a recommendation from the December 2015 Final Report of the Select Committee on Sexual Violence and Harassment.  Instead of adopting the recommendation, in September 2016 the Liberals announced funding to develop voluntary sexual violence training for bartenders and servers – an announcement that many, including Toronto bar owner Nick Kennedy, felt did not go far enough. 

“I’m honoured that I’ve been able to work with groups and organizations, such as the Dandelion Project, to serve as a leader in the Toronto service industry and ensure that my staff and patrons are as safe as they can be,” said Kennedy. “Doing this work has shown me that unless training is mandatory, too few restaurants, hotels, and bars will have access to the resources that are needed to adequately train their staff and protect their patrons.”

Toronto City Councilor Kristyn Wong-Tam, who spoke in support of the bill, agreed. Wong-Tam has already put forward a motion at Toronto City Hall calling for this very step to be taken. 

"All establishments that are profiting from the sale of alcohol have a responsibility to make sure that their guests and their clients get home safely," said Wong-Tam. “I was proud that my motion at City Hall calling for this legislation passed 35 to four, and I hope the government will make MPP Sattler’s bill a priority when they return in the fall.”

The Ontario University Students’ Association (OUSA) has also identified this as a key issue for students, and has spent the last year lobbying the government to introduce this legislation. Speaking in support of Sattler’s bill at Queen’s Park, OUSA president Andrew Clubine said “OUSA is pleased to see MPP Sattler take leadership on this important issue. Bar environments tend to be high-risk areas for sexual violence. By mandating training for management and service staff, the province would be taking a step forward in combatting sexual violence within our communities.” 

“In Ontario, we know that alcohol or drugs were factors in one in five reported sexual assaults, but the actual incidence is likely to be much, much higher,” said Sattler. “Earlier this week, all three parties recognized Sexual Assault Prevention month. My bill would go a long way to preventing sexual violence and harassment by training bystanders how to intervene when they see someone at risk.”

Horwath fights for families, affordability during legislative session

With Ontarians facing a skyrocketing cost of living, Andrea Horwath and the NDP used the spring session of the legislature to lay out big plans to make life more affordable.

In February, Horwath announced her plan to return Hydro One to public hands and lower hydro bills by at least 30 per cent. In April, she announced that the NDP will create the first universal Pharmacare plan in Canada – drug coverage for everyone, so that no one has to empty their wallet to get the medicine they need.

NDP MPP Campbell: Liberal government passing the buck on mercury cleanup

Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell says the Wynne Liberals are illegally trying to shift responsibility for the cleanup of mercury contamination in the English-Wabigoon River instead of helping communities suffering the consequences of decades of mercury poisoning. 

“Two days ago we learned the government’s plan for cleaning up the Wabigoon River is to offload this responsibility onto somebody else,” explained Campbell during question period this morning. “The Ontario government intends to make Domtar responsible for cleaning up the mercury, even though decades ago the Ontario government formally declared that Domtar is not responsible for cleaning up the mercury.”

Ontario’s Superior Court previously ruled it illegal for the provincial government to pass responsibility for the cleanup to another party. The mercury contamination dates back over 40 years, to a previous owner of the mill site. Since then, residents of the Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong First Nations have been dealing with the devastating consequences of multi-generational, community-wide mercury poisoning.

“The premier is well aware that Ontario’s Superior Court has ruled that it is illegal to offload their responsibility. She doesn’t care that what she is doing is illegal. She knows that she will lose this latest court battle,” said Campbell. “Her goal is not to win. Her goal is to delay. All the while, families in Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong are literally dying of mercury poisoning.”

Campbell called on Kathleen Wynne to stop delaying the cleanup, asking, “Will the premier listen to her conscience, stop this pointless delay and get to work cleaning up the mercury once and for all?”

Wynne government failing Londoners in Mental Health Crisis: MPP Sattler

During question period Wednesday, Peggy Sattler, NDP MPP for London West, demanded an acknowledgement from Kathleen Wynne that she is failing Londoners by refusing to approve a mental health project to help thousands of Londoners.

This was the sixth time MPP Sattler has raised the issue in the Ontario legislature over the past three months, as yet another London West constituent contacted her to report a disastrous mental health ER experience.

NPD MPP demands Wynne stop planned closure of five hospitals

Today, Welland MPP Cindy Forster was joined by the Ontario Health Coalition and the Niagara Health Coalition to demand that Premier Kathleen Wynne and her Liberals stop their plan to close five hospitals in the Niagara region.

The group brought more than 2,500 letters from community members urging the government to immediately stop the planned hospital shut-downs. 

“The Liberal government has a proposal in place to close more hospitals in South Niagara – in Welland and Port Colborne – all based on a non-validated report issued in 2012 by Kevin Smith that experts describe as a report lacking ‘total evidence or reference,’” said Forster. “ The proposal was put forward without any formal consultation with families in my community. Should it move forward, the restructure will be unprecedented, putting tens of thousands at risk.”

The government’s current proposal is to entirely close five community hospitals in the Niagara region, in Welland, Port Colborne, Fort Erie, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls, and replace them with one hospital on the southern outskirts of Niagara Falls. The Welland hospital, alone, provides health services for roughly 100,000 Welland and area residents. 

“We know that Niagara has one of the highest populations of seniors in the province – many of whom live on lower incomes. Worse, the region already has one of the lowest number of long-term care beds per population of seniors,” said Forster. “Studies show that with increased growth in the region as a result of more and more people drawn to the area, closing more hospitals in our community will have devastating impacts on already high capacity levels, putting families at enormous risk.”

The currently proposed ambulatory care centre to replace the hospital will not be a hospital. It won’t provide in-patient health care services, emergency care, nor complex and acute care. Welland and South Niagara area residents concerned about the closure of their hospitals joined Forster to present Wynne with over 2,500 personal letters opposing the closure of their local hospitals.

“Will the minister listen to the experts, and to the message brought by constituents today and put an immediate stop to the short-sighted proposal to closing the Welland and Port Colborne hospitals?” asked Forster.

 

Statement from Ontario NDP Finance Critic John Vanthof on the FAO annual report

Ontario NDP Finance Critic John Vanthof issued the following statement on the FAO annual report.

“Today’s report from the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) makes clear that Kathleen Wynne’s privatization agenda, giving up dividends from profitable Crown corporations – particularly Hydro One – is about doing what’s good for the Liberal party at the expense of the people of Ontario.

Right after the election, Ontario’s debt will grow. One-time revenues from the sell-off of Hydro One will be gone as will the dividend benefits for Ontarians.  This FAO report confirms that, once again, Ontarians can’t trust what this Liberal government is saying.

I don’t blame Ontario families for worrying about which of their public assets Kathleen Wynne will put on the auction block next. We simply can’t let her do any more damage.”

NDP: Liberal cuts worsen Toronto housing crisis

Toronto-Danforth MPP Peter Tabuns is urging Premier Kathleen Wynne to restore funding to Toronto social housing, as decades of cuts by Conservative and Liberal governments have left the city scrambling to repair crumbling social housing stock.

“Nearly 20 years ago, the Conservatives downloaded responsibility for social housing to the municipalities; they had no way to pay for it. This action created a permanent crisis for affordable housing, most acutely in Toronto,” explained Tabuns this morning during question period. “Instead of fixing this crisis, the premier made things worse by cutting $129 million per year in annual funding for Toronto’s housing programs.

 

NDP Leader: Liberal and Conservative cuts to blame for Sault Area Hospital overcrowding

Today during question period, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath pressed the Wynne Liberals to explain why they think Sault residents should the pay the price for years of Liberal and Conservative cuts to hospital budgets.

“Health care should be there when people need it, but cuts and underfunding by both the Wynne Liberals and the Conservatives have pushed the Sault Area Hospital to the brink,” said Horwath. “Instead of fixing the problems in this year’s budget, Wynne has shortchanged Ontario’s hospitals, including the SAH, by over $300 million dollars.”

Wynne puts Algoma jobs at risk

Under questioning from NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, Premier Kathleen Wynne's government refused Monday to protect Algoma steel jobs in Sault Ste. Marie.

The NDP has committed to investments to save the Huron Central Railway – the line that carries Algoma steel and other products of the local economy to market. By refusing the save the railway, Wynne is putting hundreds of Algoma steel jobs at risk.

Horwath demands Wynne withdraw regulation forcing political messages into hydro bills

On Monday, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath demanded Premier Kathleen Wynne withdraw her new proposed law that would force all electricity companies to insert Wynne's political message into hydro bills until the next election.

The proposed regulation is being pushed through Wynne’s cabinet this month. It includes a specific, self-promoting message Wynne plans to force all electricity vendors and sub-metering companies to insert into hydro bills.

NDP's Horwath, Krmpotich commit to funding to keep HCRY, Essar jobs alive

Today, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and byelection candidate Joe Krmpotich announced their funding commitment to keep the Huron Central Railway rolling in order to protect and create good jobs in the Sault.

"Huron Central's line to Sudbury is how Essar gets Sault products to market," said Krmpotich. "Without it, hundreds of jobs will be lost. I'm proud to say that the NDP won't let that happen."

NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo calls for action in housing crisis unfolding in Parkdale

Cheri DiNovo, MPP for Parkdale – High Park and NDP Critic for GTA Issues, is standing with Parkdale tenants on rent strike, and calling on AIMCo to immediately stop issuing evictions notices and the Liberal government to immediately address the housing crisis unfolding in her riding in Parkdale.

“I will not stand by while my neighbours and constituents are pushed out of their homes and their communities.” said DiNovo. “Kathleen Wynne must act immediately to protect tenants from eviction.”

Health care wait times are too high in the Sault: NDP

The NDP says years of cuts and underfunding by Lberal and Conservative governments have led to health care wait times that are too long in the Sault – and it's time to turn that around with a voice that will fight for more resources.

According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), 90 per cent of admitted patients wait as long as 53 hours in the Sault Area Hospital ER for a hospital bed. Sault's hospital is the second most crowded hospital in Ontario, according to numbers revealed by a recent Globe and Mail article.

FAO report warns that Wynne hydro plan will cause bills to soar: NDP

A new report from the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) confirms that Premier Kathleen Wynne's Hydro borrowing scheme will cause Hydro bills to soar. Ontario NDP Energy Critic Peter Tabuns said the report shows that Wynne’s plan is even costlier than feared, and is about saving Liberal seats at the expense of everyone who pays a hydro bill.

"We thank the Financial Accountability Officer, Stephen LeClair, for his work and urge Kathleen Wynne to see it as a big red flag," said NDP Energy critic MPP Peter Tabuns. "The cost to everyday families and businesses across Ontario with this plan is far too high.”

 

STATEMENT FROM THE NDP ON KOMAGATA MARU ANNIVERSARY

On the anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident, Ontario’s New Democrats join with Ontario’s South Asian community, and all Canadians, to remember this dark chapter in Canada’s history.

When the Komagata Maru landed in Vancouver 103 years ago, 352 passengers – largely Sikh – fleeing British colonial rule in India were refused entry to Canada, and refused even basic necessities such as food and water. The decision to refuse to help these passengers seeking refuge and a better life was the result of exclusionary laws designed to keep immigrants of Asian origin and descent out of Canada.

New Democrats across the country joined with the South Asian community as far back as 2007 in calling for a formal apology from the Canadian government. Ontario’s New Democrats have also worked closely with Ontario’s Sikh community on issues including the creation Sikh Heritage Month in Ontario, formal recognition of the November 1984 Sikh massacre, and flying the Nishaan Sahib outside the provincial legislature – a historic first.

Across the country, New Democrats and the Sikh community are united by shared values of selfless service, community wellbeing and optimism. Although the discriminatory laws that led to the incident are gone, racist sentiments and anti-immigrant discrimination are still present in Canada today. All Canadians should use the memory of the Komagata Maru to remind us to stand up to oppression and injustice whenever we see it.

Racism, faith-based discrimination, and prejudice have no place here.

 

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Statement from Peter Tabuns NDP MPP (Toronto-Danforth): Ontario must act immediately to end social housing crisis

Peter Tabuns NDP MPP (Toronto-Danforth) issued the following statement.

“Social housing is at a crisis point in the city of Toronto, and in communities across the province, because Premier Wynne refuses to provide provincial support to clear the repair backlog.

Today’s alarming news that more than 3,000 families and individuals are at risk of losing their homes in the next five years when half of all TCHC properties will be in critical condition shows that the province must act immediately to stop today’s crisis from becoming a disaster.

Kathleen Wynne’s recent provincial budget ignores families on the affordable housing wait-list in Toronto and throughout the province, and provides no new money for social housing and urgent repairs.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has committed to Toronto Mayor Tory, to the people of Toronto, and to communities throughout the province that under an NDP government the province will pay its fair share to repair social housing units – a one-third split between provincial, federal and municipal governments.  

New Democrats will stop the downloading and cuts. We will be partners in safe, affordable housing.”