NDP demands Wynne keep promise to Grassy Narrows and clean up mercury contamination

During question period Tuesday, the NDP’s environment critic, Peter Tabuns, demanded that Premier Kathleen Wynne respect the people of Grassy Narrows and clean up the mercury contamination of the English-Wabigoon River, after Wynne’s 2017 budget left out any mention of it, or of Grassy Narrows.

“The people of Grassy Narrows have been suffering from mercury poisoning for over 40 years,” said Tabuns.  “After the premier met with Chief Fobister of Grassy Narrows, in February, Chief Fobister and the media reported that she committed to cleaning up the mercury contamination at Grassy Narrows.

Horwath fights for Toronto Public Library as Wynne funding cut revealed

The City of Toronto has learned that Premier Kathleen Wynne is cutting funding to Toronto Public Library by 20 per cent – a move that drew strong criticism from NDP Leader Andrea Horwath in Tuesday’s question period.

“Libraries are great equalizers,” said Horwath during question period. “The government is cutting funding to the Toronto Public Library – funding that’s being used to provide internet hot spots for low income people, funding that gives kids access to books, and funding that allows new Canadians to take language classes.

“Libraries are key to poverty reduction strategies, and they make our communities great places to live. Why are the Liberals cutting funding from the Toronto Public Library?”

Wynne’s quiet, drastic cut to the Toronto Public Library comes after years of flat-lined funding.  It’s one of many services people count on that are being slashed or underfunded by the Wynne Liberal government. Affordable housing, hospitals and public transit are also struggling without proper provincial support after years of cuts and damage. 

“We can’t let Kathleen Wynne do any more damage,” said Horwath.

The 20 per cent cut equates to $1.4 million, with an in-year 2017 budget cut of $700,000 and another $700,000 to be cut from 2018. While Toronto Public Library provides critical service to Toronto and area residents, the library’s digitization program also develops online services for all Ontarians, including online access to the Toronto Reference Library’s vast and unique collection of historical materials.


Wynne’s budget ignores Torontonians, fails transit and affordable housing

During question period Monday, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath questioned Premier Kathleen Wynne on her decision to completely ignore the people of Toronto, and their housing and transit priorities, with her 2017-18 budget.

“Toronto set out some clear priorities for the budget,” Horwath said.  “People living in Toronto Community Housing need help, and the mayor asked that the province join with the city to provide that help. People relying on the TTC need an improved transit system and the mayor asked the province to join the city to provide that system. 

“I understand what the mayor is talking about. And when we met, I was clear: an NDP government will be there for Toronto.

“The premier ignored the people of Toronto in last week’s budget.” 

Horwath’s commitment to Toronto and cities throughout the province is that an NDP government will be a partner in affordable housing, funding one-third of the repair costs for social housing units, sharing the responsibility equally with the city and the federal government.

After seeing Thursday’s budget, Toronto Mayor John Tory told people living in Toronto Community Housing (TCHC): “The Ontario government is not helping to get your housing fixed.”

Last week, Horwath demanded Premier Wynne begin addressing the needs of families living in TCHC homes – many of which are in desperate need of repairs, with hundreds even being shuttered and sold off while tens of thousands of families are stuck on the wait list. Today, she continued pressing the premier at Queen’s Park. 

“Why isn’t the premier doing what’s needed to fix affordable housing in Toronto and across the province?” Horwath asked in question period. 

 While Mayor Tory told Torontonians the city got “a big goose egg when it came to social housing repairs,” both Tory and Horwath have also been critical of the complete absence of funding for transit improvement in the budget. 

“When I met with Mayor Tory, we talked about the importance of having the province support 50 per cent of the TTC’s operating costs,” Horwath said – a commitment she has made.

“Does the premier not understand how important transit is to all those who live and work in the GTHA, and in cities throughout Ontario?”


Statement by Andrea Horwath on Children and Youth Mental Health Care

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath issued the following statement on Mental Health Awareness Week, and the refusal of the Wynne government to commit funding to children and youth mental health care:

“Mental health care is health care.

Yet, in Ontario, children and youth are often forced to struggle alone, stuck on long waiting lists and unable to access the professional treatment and care they need.

Last week, Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals introduced a budget that ignored children and youth mental health. She hasn’t been listening to the 12,000 young people and their families who are waiting right now for therapy or intensive treatment. She has turned her back on the desperate situation so many children and families are in.

Today, the Canadian Institute for Health Information tells us that between 2006 and 2016, the number of times a young person was rushed to the emergency room in need of mental health treatment jumped 63 per cent.

That points to the thousands of children who don’t get the community treatment they need. In Ontario, too often, they’re forced to wait until their mental health challenge becomes a crisis before they can get help. A cycle that repeats itself with under-resourced community-based treatment options.

Doing better will save young lives. It will set young people on a healthier path, and give them a chance to fulfill their potential. It will repair families in crisis.

And Children’s Mental Health Ontario estimates that the cost of offering children the care and treatment they need – about $118 million – will translate into a $1 billion savings.

Today marks the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week. It’s a moment to reflect on the work we all have to do to combat stigma, encourage early recognition and intervention, and recommit to our belief that mental health care is health care. But one of the biggest changes has to come from Queen’s Park. Families need proper funding for children and youth mental health care – and they need a government that will stop ignoring this desperate need.”

Statement from NDP Leader Andrea Horwath on International Workers’ Day

On International Workers’ Day and everyday, Ontario’s New Democrats are in solidarity with Ontario’s workers. Together, we recognize and celebrate the historic achievements of Canada’s labour movement, and reaffirm our commitment to improving the lives of all workers.

Today, as Ontario families are working harder than ever to put food on the tables, heat their homes, and plan for their futures, we know that more must be done to secure a bright future for all Ontarians.

Despite the challenges working families in Ontario face, the Wynne Liberal government and Conservative opposition have privatized public assets and gradually rolled back workers’ rights and protections. Ontarians deserve better.

Today, we honour those who fought for workers’ rights in the past, and we join our voices with those who continue to call for better working conditions. At Queen’s Park, and across the province, Ontario’s New Democrats are fighting for improved safety in the workplace, a $15 minimum wage, better protections for casual and temporary workers, and making it easier for Ontarians to join a union – a ticket to stability and to the middle class.

By working together, we can build a more prosperous and caring Ontario, where families can plan for their future.

NDP: Out-of-touch Wynne budget silent on Grassy Narrows contamination

NDP Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell issued the following statement regarding the fact that the environmental  contamination crisis at Grassy Narrows was not mentioned in yesterday’s provincial budget.

“Once again, we’re seeing that the Wynne Liberals have no plan in place to clean up the English-Wabigoon River. Wynne has no intention of offering anything at all to Ontario’s First Nations to clean up the river, according to her budget.

“The Wynne Liberal government has ignored and downplayed the mercury contamination affecting the Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong First Nations for years, and the fact that it wasn’t even mentioned in the budget at all just shows how out of touch Kathleen Wynne is with the issues affecting Ontarians.

“Water is life. Ontario’s First Nations deserve clean drinking water, and a government that actually cares about helping them. This budget doesn’t even begin to address decades of damage that has already been done, let alone help these communities rebuild and plan for the future.”

NDP: Out-of-touch Wynne budget fails Toronto

Ontario New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath issued the following statement regarding the complete absence of funding for urgent community housing repairs in yesterday’s Wynne Liberal budget.

“Kathleen Wynne and the Liberal government have consistently ignored the funding needs of Canada’s biggest city. With her budget, she had an opportunity to start to undo some of the damage she’s done, and she refused to do that.

Statement from Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath on National Day of Mourning

Today, New Democrats across the province stand in solidarity with workers on the National Day of Mourning to say that even one worker killed at work is too many

Every year in Ontario, hundreds of workers are killed on the job or die from work-related illnesses or injuries. Thousands more are seriously injured. Every injury, illness and death in the workplace is unacceptable, and we as Ontarians have a responsibility to ensure that every worker makes it home safely, every day. 

Every Ontarian has the right to earn a living, and return home safely to their loved ones. And every worker is entitled to protection, including part-time or migrant workers, and those trapped in unstable employment.  

New Democrats are committed to improving occupational health and safety regulations, and their enforcement. We’re committed to working with unions, employers, OHS experts and with the WSIB to eliminate workplace incidents in Ontario, and provide care and support for victims of workplace illness and injury, including those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

We mourn the dead, and we fight for the living – and we will not stop until workplace injuries and deaths are a thing of the past.

Wynne’s budget doesn’t undo the damage she’s done

Showing how out of touch she is with Ontario families, Kathleen Wynne’s budget fails to undo the damage she has done to affordability for people, or the services they count on.

“What’s clear from this budget is that Ontarians waiting for a $15 minimum wage will have to wait for a change in government,” said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. “The 85 per cent of Ontarians that want a public hydro system and reform that will get their bills down, and keep them down – they’ll have to wait for a change in government. And the vast majority of the 2.2 million Ontarians without a drug plan won’t get the help they need until after the election.”

The Wynne government’s 2017-18 budget, released Thursday, ignores Ontarians who have been feeling the squeeze caused by high prices for hydro, housing, medication and so much more.

“This budget doesn’t even come close to undoing the damage Kathleen Wynne and her Liberals have done over the last 14 years,” said Horwath.

  • While providing drug coverage for children is necessary, the OHIP+ program leaves millions of people without coverage. One-third of all working Ontarians have no prescription drug coverage. Horwath has presented a universal Pharmacare program, which will provide prescription drug coverage to all Ontarians.
  • The budget commits to even further privatization of Hydro One, even though the budget shows Ontario is already losing $1.2 billion in annual revenue as a result of the privatization so far – money that used to pay for schools, hospitals and more. Horwath has presented a plan to bring bills down by 30 per cent and bring Hydro One back into public ownership.
  • Hospital funding falls more than $300 million short of what hospitals say they need. Pinning hospital funding down to annual inflation – two per cent – the budget won’t begin to reverse the damage of Wynne’s fired nurses, cancelled surgeries and overcrowded ERs.
  • The budget ignores badly needed reforms to employment laws, overlooking the long-overdue Changing Workplaces Review and failing to implement a $15 minimum wage.
  • With 300 schools on the chopping block today, there is no commitment in the budget to stop closing schools. A $4.6 million slash to special education across 15 school boards will go ahead, according to the budget.
  • The budget continues to ignore the province’s responsibility for operating costs for transit, and does nothing to make transit better, or more affordable for students and working families. The NDP has committed to a 50-per-cent funding agreement along with its municipal partners.
  • The budget does only the bare minimum to meet previous, already inadequate promises on early learning and child care.

“Kathleen Wynne watched the price of housing skyrocket while subsidized housing stock was allowed to crumble and be shut down. She sold off Hydro One without the consent of its owners – the people of Ontario – while denying that skyrocketing hydro bills were a problem for people. And she sat by while family after family, young person after young person, struggled under the weight of growing personal debt,” said Horwath.

“Hospitals have suffered through nine years of cuts and four years of frozen budgets. As a result, there are at least 250 patients in hallways and closets instead of proper hospital rooms.

“Kathleen Wynne just doesn’t get that people are being squeezed, and the services they count on are at a tipping point. Now is the time for big ideas, and a big priority shift to put people back at the centre of government.

“With this budget, it’s clear Ontario won’t even get to undo any of the damage done by Kathleen Wynne – let alone move ahead to a brighter future for Ontario people.”

Horwath and Krmpotich vow to roll back Wynne cuts and prioritize youth job creation in the Sault

Sault Ste. Marie  – NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and Sault Ste. Marie candidate Joe Krmpotich were in the Sault Wednesday to announce their key commitment to the community: good jobs, right in the Sault -- especially for young people. 

Horwath and Krmpotich delivered that message after a visit to YouLaunch, a youth entrepreneur program within the Sault Ste Marie Innovation Centre, which has seen great accomplishments in creating local youth jobs and new businesses in the Sault.  

 "YouLaunch, by every right, is an Ontario success story.  They have created real jobs for youth, in youth led-businesses. This is exactly the kind of leadership and results young Sault families need in today's challenging work environment,"  Horwath said.

"Unfortunately, two-thirds of the program's core funding will not been renewed by Wynne government despite their accomplishments, and despite the need for more good Sault jobs."

In less than two years, YouLaunch reached over 6,000 local youth, helped them access $110,000 in grants and promoted Indigenous youth opportunities and excellence. 

"Young people in the Sault need good, stable jobs that allow them to plan for their future, and invest in themselves and our community," said Krmpotich. "Sault families want to know that their own kids can stay here, and can raise their own family here." 

Horwath and Krmpotich said good jobs and careers -- jobs you can raise a family on -- would mean generations of Sault families could stay and thrive.  

 "When a student finishes their education at Sault College, Algoma U, or comes home from school elsewhere, they should be able to find a good job – a career – here in the Sault," Horwath said. 

"Building opportunities for young people, and creating good jobs for all workers, is my top priority for Sault Ste. Marie. Electing Joe Krmpotich to fight for the Sault is a step forward -- and ensuring YouLaunch and programs like it are properly funded is absolutely critical."

Krmpotich vowed to take that priority to Toronto.  

"As a Steelworker and a Councillor, I've spent years working to defend and create good jobs here.  And when I join Andrea at Queen's Park, I'll fight every day to make sure every young person who wants to live, work, and build a future here in the Sault has a job that allows them do so."

Horwath to Wynne: support Hamilton rapid transit now

Ontario NDP Leader and Hamilton Centre MPP Andrea Horwath sent the following letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne, urging her to support the development of rapid transit in Hamilton along a route terminating at Eastgate Square: 

Hon Kathleen O. Wynne
Room 281, Main Legislative Building, Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A1

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Premier Wynne;

The debate around rapid transit in Hamilton is reaching a tipping point. Hamilton residents need to know you will not cause this to be a missed opportunity. Before council votes on the transit plan tomorrow, you must provide clarity and confirmation about the province’s support for the project. I strongly urge your government to honour its commitment to the City of Hamilton, and offer secure funding for rapid transit to reach the originally planned end point of Eastgate Square. 

Your government must take a hands-on approach and offer constructive solutions as we approach this critical vote. 

The shape of rapid transit in Hamilton will, in no small way, shape the future of the city, its economy, and the quality of life available to its residents. Hamiltonians deserve a complete rapid transit solution, not a half measure. And they deserve a government that honours its commitments.

Council is voting on this issue tomorrow, but they can only make an informed decision if your position is known. I hope by then you will have made your support and financial commitment clear for the original Eastgate Square route. 


[original signed]

Andrea Horwath
Leader, Ontario’s New Democrats
MPP, Hamilton Centre

Wynne approves millions in salary increases for OPG executives as families struggle with sky-high hydro bills: NDP

During question period Tuesday, NDP Energy Critic Peter Tabuns demanded that Premier Kathleen Wynne explain why she thinks families who can’t afford their skyrocketing hydro bills should pay for a 100 per cent raise for the Ontario Power Generation (OPG) CEO, who is now set to receive a whopping $3.8 million salary.

“How does the premier explain to families who may lose their hydro why she thinks they should pay for a 100 per cent salary increase for the OPG CEO?” said Tabuns.

NDP Leader: Brampton deserves better than ‘hallway medicine’

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says cuts to hospital funding by the Wynne Liberals have left Brampton-area hospitals in crisis, and patients needing urgent care are paying the price.

“Jamie-Lee Ball is a young woman who found herself in excruciating pain. She was suffering from internal bleeding and complications from surgery, so she went to the emergency room at Brampton Civic Hospital to get some help,” said Horwath during question period this morning. “But instead of getting a hospital bed, Jamie-Lee was put on a stretcher in a hallway. She was labelled ‘Hallway patient number 1’ and she spent five long days and nights waiting for a real hospital bed.”

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath’s statement on Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day)

New Democrats and all Ontarians stand in remembrance with the Canadian and international Jewish community, remembering the six million Jews systematically killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust, including Jewish refugees turned away at the Canadian border.

We also remember the victims killed for their political beliefs, ethnicities, disabilities, and sexual orientation. The horrors of the Holocaust remind us daily that anti-Semitism, faith-based discrimination, and prejudice of any kind have no place in Ontario or Canada.

As we commemorate the loss of the Jews killed in the Holocaust, we also honour the survivors, and their strength and perseverance. In Canada, 40,000 Holocaust survivors have gone on to build a new life, sowing the seeds of today’s vibrant, thriving Jewish community.

New Democrats call on all Ontarians to be vigilant in the fight against anti-Semitism and hate. Let us honour the victims of the Holocaust by sharing their stories, to ensure that no such crime occurs ever again.

Horwath reveals details of her universal Pharmacare plan

On Monday, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath laid out her plan for Ontario’s first Pharmacare program – a program to deliver lower cost, less stress and better health for all Ontarians.

“No one should have to rack up credit card bills to get the medicine they need,” said Horwath. “No one should end up in an already-overcrowded hospital because they couldn’t afford to take the medicine they were prescribed. That’s why I’m committed to creating Ontario’s first universal Pharmacare program.”

Horwath announces Ontario’s first universal Pharmacare plan

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath announced Saturday that she’ll create the province’s first universal Pharmacare plan – a commitment to ensure all Ontarians can afford the medicine they’re prescribed.
“You shouldn’t have to empty your wallet to get the medicine you need,” said Horwath. “No family should have to rack up credit card debt to treat an illness. And no one should ever go without the treatment they need because of cost.”
One in four Ontarians doesn’t take their medication as prescribed because of cost, and 2.2 million Ontarians have no prescription drug coverage at all. With a growing number of people working non-traditional or unstable jobs, or finding it more difficult to land a job that comes with some benefits, the cost of medications is a growing struggle.
  “There are many in Ontario who split their pills in half to make the bottle last longer,” said Horwath. “Or they leave the doctor’s office with a prescription they need, knowing they’ll never fill it because of the price.
“Imagine if everyone could take their medication without the barrier of cost. We can help people live healthier, less stressful lives. We can make their month a little more affordable. And by preventing emergency room trips, we can improve people’s lives, and also relieve the strain on our overcrowded hospitals.”
Horwath, who made the announcement at an NDP convention on Saturday, will reveal details of her plan Monday morning. 
“My plan is affordable, and when we think of the risk to people’s health from skipping their medication – even the risk to their lives – it’s clear that we can’t afford not to implement universal prescription Pharmacare,” said Horwath. “This plan will mean lower cost, less worry and better health for everyone.”

Fired-up NDP convention focused on 2018

A roaring New Democratic Party convention made clear Saturday that they’re ready to run with Andrea Horwath, and they’re aiming for government in 2018.
Horwath received a 90-per-cent endorsement from the 1,200-delegate convention.
Weeks after announcing that she will reverse the selloff of Hydro One and bring down hydro bills by as much as 30 per cent, she unveiled another major policy piece Saturday: the creation of a universal Pharmacare program if elected.
Delegates also spent the first two days of the three-day convention discussing the NDP’s vision for Ontario; one with a government that shares people's priorities, and takes action to make it easier for everyday families to build their lives. Discussion and resolutions included topics like the price of hydro, the cost of housing, overcrowding in hospitals and lagging wages in Ontario.
The convention, being held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, continues Sunday.

Statement by Peter Tabuns, NDP MPP Toronto-Danforth: Ontarians need rent control protections

“New Democrats believe a coordinated approach to housing affordability by provincial, federal and municipal governments is necessary.

Sadly, renters across our city and province are facing unreasonable rent hikes because Premier Kathleen Wynne refuses to close a loophole that denies rent control protection to tenants living in buildings built after 1991. For years, she has watched the housing affordability crisis grow, and refused to take action. We remain concerned that the Premier is out of touch, and that she fails to understand how this crisis is impacting young families and everyday Ontarians.

Ontario desperately needs rent control protections for every Ontarian, regardless of where they live, as well as affordability measures and more affordable housing stock.”