Wynne says one thing, does nothing on Ring of Fire

Tuesday during her pit-stop in Sault Ste. Marie, Premier Kathleen Wynne, after being pushed by journalists, tried to claim that money for the Ring of Fire development was available, ignoring the truth: that there isn’t a single dollar for the Ring of Fire in her 2017-18 budget. 

“Wynne is up to her old tricks,” NDP Northern Development and Mines critic Michael Mantha said in question period Wednesday. “She only talked about the Ring of Fire in the Sault after being forced to, there’s no money in her budget this year, and we still haven’t seen one shovel in the ground. People can’t trust what she says anymore.”

The Wynne Liberals have a long history of empty promises when it comes to the Ring of Fire, and during question period, Mantha pushed Wynne to explain her inaction.

“She was bragging about how her budget would help the north while, at the same time, committing no money at all for the Ring of Fire,” Mantha said in the legislature.  “When will the premier learn that the people of Ontario see through her desperate political tactics? When will she start walking the walk?”

The Ring of Fire is a chromite deposit that, if developed, would create thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic development. To date, Wynne has failed to take any action to spark this development.

The Ontario NDP recognizes the economic importance of developing the Ring of Fire, particularly for northern communities, and has previously committed to providing provincial support for the project, including the transportation infrastructure required to support the development, and bring it to operational status as quickly as possible.

MPP Gretzky calls on Wynne government to help Ontarians with developmental disabilities

During question period on Tuesday, Lisa Gretzky, NDP MPP for Windsor West, demanded that the Wynne government begin helping thousands of adults with developmental disabilities, and their families, by increasing funding for supportive programs and housing. 

Gretzky, the NDP's critic for community and social services, raised the struggles of 16-year-old Abdullah Yar Khan and his family. Khan, who lives in Windsor, has severe autism and his family is struggling to care for him without the necessary supports.

Wynne disregards Ontarians by selling off majority of Hydro One

During question period on Tuesday, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath blasted Premier Kathleen Wynne for ignoring the vast majority of Ontarians and businesses who want her to stop hiking already sky-high hydro bills by further privatizing Hydro One.

“Families, business owners, municipalities, NGOs – they have all told the premier, loud and clear to stop this wrong-headed sell-off,” Horwath said.

Wynne's move to sell off more of Hydro One disastrous: Krmpotich

Ontario NDP candidate Joe Krmpotich issued the following statement about the further privatization of Hydro One, announced late Monday.

"Premier Kathleen Wynne and her Liberals are now giving up the province's majority stake in Hydro One. Premier Wynne clearly doesn't understand how people are hurting as a result of the damage she's already done to our hydro system -- including families and businesses here in Sault Ste. Marie.

Monday's announcement that Wynne will now sell off more than 50 per cent of Hydro One is unwelcome in the Sault. People are already paying massive hydro bills -- a major factor in a growing cost-of-living crisis that's making it harder for folks to get caught up, and get ahead. I think of Jamie LaCross, who I met just a few weeks ago, who told me that this winter, she had to shut off the heat and use propane heaters in the house to keep her little boys warm. I think of all those who are losing sleep over how to pay off the hydro bill while other costs are also piling up. Premier Wynne acts like she hasn't had to pay her own hydro bill in years.

By selling off more than half of Hydro One, Wynne is following a Conservative playbook: this disastrous privatization plan was first proposed by the Conservatives in the last election.

New Democrats will fix the electricity system broken by private power deals signed by Liberals and Conservatives. We'll cut hydro bills for everyone by about a third, and put Hydro One back into public hands where it belongs. And when Hydro One's dividends go to the public instead of well-heeled and foreign investors, we'll be able to keep those hydro bills down, and help fund hospitals, schools and vital public services."

MPP French shares deeply troubling local patient’s story at legislature

Oshawa NDP MPP Jennifer French called on Premier Kathleen Wynne to address ballooning hospital wait times during question period on Monday.

French shared the story of Steve Borders, an Oshawa man who injured his shoulder and has spent the past five months in relentless pain, but still hasn’t received a date for his surgery.


Statement from NDP Leader Andrea Horwath on Nursing Week 2017

To mark the beginning of Nursing Week 2017, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath issued the following statement calling for a moratorium on nursing cuts and any further layoffs of health care workers: 

“Ontario’s nurses are healthcare champions. New Democrats, and all Ontarians, owe a debt of gratitude to nurses for their concern and care, advocacy, and professionalism.

Liberal cuts have pushed health care in Ontario to the breaking point, but Premier Wynne still doesn’t get it. Everyone who has watched a loved one wait months for surgery, or suffer in a hallway without a proper hospital bed, has felt the impact of Premier Wynne’s cuts. More than 1,600 nurses have been laid-off in the past two years, along with hundreds of additional health care workers, hurting patient care and making wait times worse.

Enough is enough. Our hospitals are dangerously overcrowded but the Wynne Liberal budget does nothing to undo the damage. In fact, it will make the hospital crisis even worse. Funding for hospitals falls more than $300 million short of what’s needed just to stop the crisis, never mind fixing the damage.

The need for a moratorium on all nursing cuts and the layoffs of frontline health care workers is long overdue. Premier Wynne’s cuts to caring, dedicated health care workers must stop. Patient care cannot be allowed to deteriorate any further. Fewer nurses and health care workers mean less care for patients, and less care for patients is something that New Democrats will never accept.” 

The province must pay its fair share for social housing: NDP

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath joined Toronto Mayor John Tory on a tour of the Bleecker Street Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) development on Monday. The building is just one of many social housing developments in need of urgent repair, but the new Liberal budget fails to commit badly needed funding for social housing.

Horwath repeated her promise to Tory and the people of Toronto: if the NDP forms government in 2018, the province will pay its fair share for social housing repairs. An NDP government would fund its share of a one-third split between provincial, federal and municipal governments.

“Families, regardless of income, have been hard hit by years of downloading and cuts,” said Horwath. “There is no doubt that those who live in Toronto Community Housing and social housing across the province have been ignored by the Liberal government. The conditions we saw today are heartbreaking, and the damage Kathleen Wynne has done is obvious. 

“A New Democratic government will step up to the plate, and be a partner to cities – including the City of Toronto – and pay its fair share to repair social housing units.”

The NDP Leader said Wynne missed her chance to undo some of the damage her Liberal government has done to social housing across the province. The recent Wynne Liberal budget does little to help any of the 181,000 families on the affordable housing wait-list in Toronto. Not only is there no new money for social housing in the provincial budget, there is no money for urgent repairs.

In 2018, provincial funding for Toronto’s housing programs is expected to be less than half what the city received in 2011. That’s a loss of nearly $180 million a year for Toronto’s social housing, emergency shelters, and homelessness prevention programs.

That has pushed TCHC and social housing programs throughout the province to a tipping point – unable to keep up with the repair backlogs. Even with a growing wait list, Toronto is forced to shutter affordable housing units as a result of the shortfall.

“It’s become clear that if Ontarians want a provincial government that will take social housing seriously they’ll have to wait for a change in government,” said Horwath. “New Democrats will take our responsibility to support safe, affordable homes seriously. We will stop the downloading and cuts. We will be partners in housing. ”

Horwath has also made commitments to Tory and all Ontario municipalities regarding transit and child care programs – important parts of making life more affordable for families.

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.

“I think everyone who pays a hydro bill will be frustrated and upset to learn that they’re now paying for misleading Liberal advertising to be delivered right to their doorstep – by law,” said Horwath. 

“The message Kathleen Wynne is forcing onto our bills isn’t even telling people the whole story – not even close. She’s leaving out the part where her hydro borrowing plan will wipe out any short-term savings and cost Ontarians much more. In short order, people will see the effect of this scheme in black and white in the form of higher hydro bills that will keep skyrocketing for 30 years.”

Wynne’s scheme to subsidize hydro bills will borrow $24 billion now, and cost between $45 billion and $93 billion, according to independent Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO). An FAO investigation published last week found that, as a result, the hydro bills of Ontario families will skyrocket yet again after the next election. 

“Kathleen Wynne is so desperate to save her political skin, she doesn’t care about what her high hydro bills are doing to families,” said Horwath. 

“People simply can’t take any more price hikes. That’s why the NDP released a hydro plan that lowers hydro bills by 30 per cent, and puts Hydro One back in public hands. It’s a long-term solution that lowers bills now, and keeps them down.”

Wynne’s proposed new regulation – which would become a part of the law if passed by Wynne’s cabinet – is a 115-word statement that must be included on or in hydro bills until July 1, 2018. The next provincial election date is set for June, 2018. 

13,800 full-time jobs shed over one month

Wages are down and Ontario had 13,800 fewer full-time jobs in April compared to just one month earlier, according to the newest labour force survey data from Statistics Canada.

With about 12,000 less secure, part-time jobs created, the numbers paint a picture of Ontario being driven into a lower-wage economy at the same time as the cost of living is skyrocketing.

Open letter from Kitchener-Waterloo NDP MPP Catherine Fife on a private personal health information breach

Kitchener-Waterloo NDP MPP Catherine Fife issued the following open letter to the Minister of Government and Consumer Services Tracy MacCharles, calling for answers on massive privacy breach.

Horwath calls on Wynne to make ending hallway medicine a priority

On Thursday, Jamie-Lee Ball – a patient turned patient-advocate after a horrific experience in an Ontario hospital – joined NDP Leader Andrea Horwath at Queen’s Park to fight for an end to hallway medicine. Together, they called on Premier Kathleen Wynne to make it a priority to undo the damage she’s done in hospitals.

On March 25, Ball was rushed to Brampton Civic Hospital with internal bleeding, where she was left on a stretcher in a hallway for five days.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath gave the following statement in response to the restoration of program funding to Toronto Public Library

“I’m pleased to hear that after two days of strong advocacy and immense pressure by the City of Toronto and Toronto residents, the Liberals have decided to reverse their planned funding cut to Toronto Public Library.

As we’ve made clear in the legislature over the last two days, the NDP is strongly in support of reversing this Wynne Liberal funding cut. Libraries are community hubs that deliver important programs and services for people – like children’s reading programs, English classes for new Canadians, and the collection, digitization and preservation of historic materials.

Sadly, reversing this funding cut doesn’t fix the damage the Wynne Liberals have done in Toronto. This cut to Toronto Public Library was only the latest evidence of Wynne’s abandonment of GTHA families and their priorities.

While the waiting list for affordable housing grows, social housing units are being boarded up and sold off because the Wynne Liberals won’t bring any funding to the table to repair those homes. And while transit systems throughout Ontario are starving for investment, Wynne continues to refuse to be an equal funding partner.

The NDP is pleased to see one cut being walked back, but I call on Premier Kathleen Wynne to realize that the City of Toronto – and municipalities throughout Ontario – need the downloading to stop and the damage repaired.”

NDP: Wynne Liberals ignore millions of Ontarians needing pharmacare

NDP Finance Critic John Vanthof says the Liberal budget is failing millions of Ontarians who desperately need access to medication. 

“Tracey from Newmarket saw the NDP pharmacare announcement on TV and called us to tell us her story and what pharmacare would mean to her. She spent two years without benefits, first taking care of an ill relative and then working part-time without benefits. She has diabetes and high-cholesterol,” said Vanthof this morning during question period. “Her prescriptions cost $300 per month. Paying for these medications put her into credit card debt that she’s still struggling to pay off.”

Kathleen Wynne allowing speculators to keep driving up home prices

During question period Wednesday, Toronto-Danforth NDP MPP Peter Tabuns, demanded to know why Premier Kathleen Wynne did nothing to control corporate housing speculators in her 2017 budget, and nothing to help families get into their first home.

“The cost of a house is still skyrocketing. The budget doesn't have a single mechanism to help people buy a home,” Tabuns said. 

“Instead, people saw a budget that is trying to score political points by talking about only foreign speculators.  But as long as you have a Canadian passport or a Canadian business number, there is nothing to rein in speculating.

“Nothing to stop consortiums from buying up swaths of homes and driving up prices.

“Why are the Liberals helping speculators, and letting housing prices get even further out of reach for people?” 

Over the last year, the cost of a home in Toronto rose by 31.7 per cent, with the average home priced at $920,791.

“A home half that cost would be out of reach for a lot of people. This budget protects corporations flipping properties, and lets housing get even more out of reach for ordinary people,” Tabuns said.

“Why isn't the government dealing with speculation?”

Horwath shares details of her universal Pharmacare plan in Peterborough

On Wednesday, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath visited Peterborough to discuss her plan for Ontario’s first universal Pharmacare program, stopping at the YMCA to talk with participants of T­­­­­­­­he Lung Association's Fitness for Breath program for people with chronic lung diseases.

“Many people in Peterborough go without the medications they need because they have been driven to the breaking point by costs that just keep going up, for everything from turning on the lights to paying for their mortgage and rent,” Horwath said.


NDP says Sault Ste. Marie byelection will be about jobs

SAULT STE. MARIE -- NDP candidate Joe Krmpotich welcomed Wednesday's news that the Sault Ste. Marie byelection has been called for June 1 – and said the campaign will be all about good jobs for the Sault – especially for young people.  

"Joe has spent his career fighting for working families in the Sault," said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. "It's time Sault Ste. Marie people had a real voice at Queen's Park; and his tireless focus on bringing jobs to his community is truly inspiring." 

Krmpotich said his focus is on creating good jobs that you can raise a family on, right in the Sault region.

"Our kids shouldn't have to leave home to find opportunity and a good career," said Krmpotich. "Young families want to raise their own children here, where they grew up. And they need and deserve stable, well-paying jobs in order to do that.

"Kathleen Wynne and her Liberals have done a lot of damage. Jobs have left, opportunities and programs for youth entrepreneurs have been cut. She doesn't understand what she's doing to people and families, and we can't let her do any more damage."

Krmpotich said the Conservatives aren't the answer.

"The Conservatives have a cut-and-privatize plan," he said. "And more cutting and more privatization is not what Sault families need – we're already struggling with skyrocketing hydro bills as a result of privatization." 

While good jobs you can raise a family on is Krmpotich's top priority, he said he is also running to deliver several other NDP commitments that are critical to the Sault, including:

  • The NDP plan to cut hydro bills by 30 per cent – which includes reversing the privatization of Hydro One and putting it back into public hands.
  • The NDP's commitment to create the first universal Pharmacare program – so everyone can get the medicine they need, and no one has to empty their wallet or rack up credit card bills at the pharmacy.
  • The NDP's push for more work-integrated learning opportunities. A proposed NDP bill on work-integrated learning will create more on-the-job experience through colleges and universities, which will help graduates get a job and launch their career right out of school.

"The NDP is going to create jobs and opportunities, and put a stop to the practice of forcing people to drain their bank accounts for necessities like the hydro bill and prescription medicine.

"I'm going to work hard in this byelection so that I have the opportunity to deliver those things for our community," said Krmpotich. 

Krmpotich is a Ward 6 City Councillor for Sault Ste. Marie. He's also a third-generation Steelworker, a husband, a dad and a lifelong Sault resident. He was nominated to be the NDP candidate in the Sault Ste. Marie by-election in January.

NDP MPP DiNovo asks Wynne Liberals to reverse their Toronto Public Library cuts

Today in the legislature, NDP GTA Issues critic and MPP for Parkdale-High Park, Cheri DiNovo, asked the Wynne Liberals to reverse their drastic funding cut to the Toronto Public Library.  

“Yesterday, the Liberals defended cutting 20% from Toronto public libraries. The government says that the library’s digital archives project isn’t being used,” said DiNovo. “Actually, the fact is, usage is up.”

According to usage statistics obtained by Ontario’s New Democrats, the number of items examined using TPL’s Virtual Reference Library has actually increased. (see image below)

“One of the great things about public libraries is everyone uses them. Young people, seniors, and new Canadians,” said DiNovo. “Public libraries are at the heart of local communities. And the Liberals are making cuts to the Toronto Public Library.” 

The cut to the Toronto Public Library comes as many services people count on are being cut or underfunded by the Wynne Liberal government. Hospitals, affordable housing, and public transit struggle without proper support from this provincial government. 

“Only in the Liberal world is a cut of $1.4 million not a cut,” said DiNovo, before asking the Wynne Liberals to reverse their cuts to libraries in Toronto.



NDP: Wynne turns her back on Ring of Fire

During question period Tuesday, Michael Mantha, the NDP’s critic for Northern Development and Mines, denounced the Wynne government for abandoning northern families and communities counting on the Ring of Fire.

Premier Kathleen Wynne did not allocate a single dollar in the budget to the job-creating and economy-building development.