NDP wants to make life a little easier for post-secondary grads in Ontario

Today Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath announced that an NDP government would immediately eliminate interest from Ontario student loans as a first step in solving the student debt crisis in the Province.

“The government should not be making a profit off of the fact that students in Ontario need to take out loans to afford postsecondary education, it’s just not right” said Horwath. 

The NDP leader was in St. Catharines today meeting with students at Brock University to discuss the high debt load that many of them will face upon graduation.

“This is a first step and an important one,” noted Horwath.  “Insurmountable student debt delays important life milestones for young people such as buying a car, owning a home, starting a family or starting a business.  This makes student debt not only a burden for the people who carry it, but on the provincial economy as a whole.”

Ontario is one of the most expensive provinces to access a college or university education. Since 2009, Ontario has had the highest average undergraduate and graduate tuition fees in the country.  The average debt load for a young person with a four year undergraduate degree is $28,000, for a post-graduate degree, its $35,000.

“Ontario can be a great place to live, but it’s getting harder to build a good life here, especially for young people,” said Horwath.  “We need a government that is focused on solutions, on taking action for the people of Ontario.  An NDP government will immediately eliminate interest from Ontario student loans as a first step in making sure that young people in this province have the opportunity to succeed.”

New Democrats celebrate Ontario’s francophone future on Franco Ontarian Day

Les néo-démocrates célèbrent l’avenir francophone de l’Ontario à l’occasion de la Journée franco-ontarienne:

déclaration de la chef du NPD, Andrea Horwath

<<Lors de la  Journée franco-ontarienne les Néo-démocrates célèbrent fièrement plus de 400 ans d’histoire francophone de notre province.  Nous honorons la contribution économique et culturel continue des francophones de l’Ontario  au tissue de notre société.

Les Néo-démocrates croient que les droits constitutionnels des francophones de l’Ontario doivent être respectées.  Nous allons continuer à demander l’égalité d’accès dans toute la province aux services publics essentiels comme la santé et l’éducation pour les francophones de l’Ontario, y compris l’accès aux études postsecondaires dans une université francophone autonome.

Ensemble, nous commémorons notre heritage francophone, et nous embrassons notre avenir francophone.>>

Fighting Islamophobia through Education, Engagement

Today Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath announced her party’s intention to introduce a Bill in the Legislature that will establish October as Islamic Heritage Month in the Province of Ontario.

“We have to do more to tackle discrimination, prejudice and Islamophobia,” said Horwath.  “This is an opportunity to recognize that increasing Islamophobia is a reality in Ontario, and to take action to combat it.”

NDP Citizenship and Immigration Critic MPP Teresa Armstrong will be introducing the bill, bringing the Province in line with the Federal government and local school boards-including the TDSB-which have already taken this step.

Statement from Ontario NDP Transportation Critic Wayne Gates

Engineering reports on Nipigon Bridge failure show lack of government oversight.

Ontario NDP Transportation Critic Wayne Gates issued the following statement:

“The upshot of these independent engineering studies is that the Nipigon Bridge failed because the Liberal government didn’t take their project oversight responsibilities seriously. Any engineering and design installation failures should have been caught before the Ministry of Transportation opened the Nipigon Bridge to passenger traffic in the first place.

 The buck stops with the Minister of Transportation. Unfortunately, by keeping Ontarians in the dark for more than 8 months, he has seriously eroded public confidence in the safety of Ontario’s road and bridge network. Without any further delay, Minister Del Duca must tell Ontarians exactly how much his government’s failures will cost Ontarians, whether the repairs could end up costing us more than $12 million, and what concrete steps he will take to make sure that such a dangerous lack of government oversight never happens again.”‎

Toward the Université de l’Ontario français

The MPP for Nickel Belt, and NDP critic for Francophone affairs, France Gélinas, re-introduced a bill today to create the Université de l’Ontario français - a Franco-Ontarian University.  Her previous bill passed second reading on November 19, 2015, but was lost when the Wynne Liberal government prorogued the legislature on September 9, 2016. 

NDP demands Premier answer questions about Grassy Narrows mercury clean-up

During Question Period today, France Gélinas, Ontario NDP Indigenous relations critic, demanded the Premier answer questions about what her government has done to fulfill its promise to address mercury contamination in Grassy Narrows.

“It took Japanese researchers, not this government, to provide the only public data on the health effects of mercury poisoning on the people of Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong,” Gélinas said.  “You committed $300,000 in May to immediately begin field work.  Will you show the local people there what’s been done, how much has been spent, what samples have been taken so far, because we have found nothing.”   

Joint statement on report showing effects of mercury poisoning on people of Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong First Nations

“The study conducted by Japanese researchers clearly shows that people from Grassy Narrows and White Dog (Wabaseemoong) First Nations are suffering the effects of long-term exposure to mercury.

It took researchers from half way across the world to undertake this serious study, while the Wynne government continues to stall on taking action, putting families and the future of these communities at risk. People expected better from this premier, and they’re disappointed. Every day the government fails to act, things get worse for people in the Grassy Narrows and White Dog First Nations, and for their children. 

New Democrats believe now is the time for the government to act in cooperation with the Grassy Narrows and White Dog First Nations, and clean up the English-Wabigoon River so the water is safe to drink, and the fish is safe to eat.”

Peter Tabuns - Ontario NDP Environment Critic
France Gélinas - Ontario NDP Indigenous Affairs Critic

Rural Ontarians deserve better: NDP

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, and the NDP Caucus, celebrated rural life and the contributions of Ontario's agricultural producers at the annual International Plowing Match and Rural Expo. Horwath said that rural Ontario families deserve access to better healthcare and education, relief from rising hydro bills and meaningful investment in rural jobs and the agricultural sector. 

Wynne Liberals ignoring environmental disaster in Gogama

Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas called on the Wynne government to stop ignoring the ongoing environmental disaster in Gogama and order CN to remove all of the oil from the water.

 “The people of Mattagami First Nation and Gogama were promised that their natural environment would be brought back to what it was like before the derailment. We were promised clean water. The water is not clean. We can see the oil. We can smell the oil. We can see dead fish everywhere. The environment was not like that before. It was beautiful,” Gélinas said.

Ontarians can’t count on the Liberal government

During Question Period this morning, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath pushed Premier Kathleen Wynne to explain why her government is not focusing on the priorities that matter to the people of Ontario.

“People deserve better opportunities for good jobs, a life they can afford and the services they can count on,” said Horwath during Question Period. 

The NDP Leader highlighted the unaffordable cost of hydro and childcare in particular as priorities Ontarians want to see action on but that the Wynne Liberals have no plan to address. 

Throne speech does not go far enough to lower hydro costs, improve healthcare and support good jobs: NDP

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said that the throne speech must commit to actions that will make a real difference in people’s lives when it comes to hydro costs, healthcare, and jobs.  It’s now clear that the Liberal plan does not go far enough to in any of these key areas. 

“We’re at a tipping point in this province. In today’s throne speech New Democrats hoped to see big changes so that the next generation will have more opportunity and a better future.” said Horwath. “Today’s throne speech could have done so much more to give immediate relief to families, to improve the quality of work in this province, to stop the sell-off of Hydro One, and to make sure everyone has health care they can count on. After listening to the Throne Speech, I can tell you New Democrats will keep working for the real action that people need to see.”

HST was added to Ontario residential electricity bills by the Liberals in 2010. Prior to that there was no provincial sales tax on electricity. Today’s speech from the throne indicated the government will introduce a rebate for Hydro instead of removing HST. There was no mention of how long this rebate would remain in place.

“For six years, New Democrats have been calling on the Liberals to take the HST off hydro as just the first step to lower hydro bills. Instead we see a bit of welcome relief, but nobody in Ontario knows how long it will last. Let’s make it easy. My message to the Premier is this: just take the HST off hydro, once and for all. Just get rid of it,” continued Horwath. “By refusing to stop the sell-off of Hydro One, the Liberals have shown that they still aren’t listening. Premier Wynne is still not interested in taking action to control the long-term rise in electricity costs.” 

The NDP Leader said that the first step to improving healthcare in Ontario is for the Liberals to stop the cuts in our hospitals and to get wait times and overcrowding under control. 

“Today’s throne speech does nothing to reverse the damaging cuts that this Liberal government has made to Ontario’s healthcare system. Sadly, under this plan hospitals will continue to crumble, nurses and healthcare workers will continue to be fired, and patients will continue to wait unacceptably long for treatment.”

Horwath said that she hoped the throne speech would contain concrete measures to support good jobs in this province, including a $15 dollar minimum wage, making it easier for workers to join a union, and improved employment standards.

“Nobody who works full time should have to live below the poverty line. Every Ontarian should be able to find a good paying job, obtain employment security and achieve a quality of life,” said Horwath. “Today’s throne speech is a let-down for Ontarians who called on the Liberal government to put their priorities first.”

NDP Calls for Action on Healthcare, Rising Hydro Bills, and Good Jobs, in New Legislative Session

After travelling across the province, and listening to the concerns of Ontarians this summer, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath outlined her priorities for the fall legislative session. She said it’s clear that people expect immediate action in three key areas: healthcare, hydro costs, and jobs. 

“For the Premier’s ‘reset’ to actually mean something, we need to see action that makes a real difference in people’s lives. We’re at a tipping point in this province. We need to make big changes, now, so that the next generation will have a better future, right here in Ontario,” said Horwath. “We need action now, on the most important priorities for people. We need to improve health care, lower hydro bills, support good jobs, and improve the quality of work across the province.” 

The NDP Leader said that the first step to improving healthcare in Ontario is for the Liberals to stop the cuts in our hospitals and to get wait times and overcrowding under control. She said that real action, like removing the HST on hydro bills and stopping the sale of Hydro One, will help to control rising electricity costs. She also said that to support good jobs in this province, the government must put in place a $15 dollar minimum wage because people working full time shouldn’t have to live below the poverty line. Additional measures like making it easier for workers to join a union, and improving employment standards, will give Ontarians a better quality of life and allow people to spend more time with their families.  

“We need a legislative session that focuses on the priorities of Ontario families not on what’s best for the Liberals or what’s best for the most powerful Ontarians. If that’s not what happens, it will be a clear indication that this throne speech is more about the Liberals trying to change the channel than it is about Ontario’s future.  We need to see action that makes a real difference in people’s lives,” said Horwath. “Too many people are being left behind, and too many young people are losing their sense of hope and optimism for the future.  That has to change.  There is just too much at stake for so many Ontario families.”

Statement from Ontario NDP House Leader Gilles Bisson on the Liberal decision to prorogue the Legislature

Ontario NDP House Leader Gilles Bisson issued the following statement in response to the Liberal decision to prorogue the Legislature.

“It’s clear that Ontarians are not happy with the direction in which the Liberal government has been taking our province. Under Premier Wynne’s leadership, families are struggling and people are worried about the future.

We hope Premier Wynne has finally decided to stop ignoring the voices of Ontarians instead of just using prorogation to change the channel on her failed record. If the Premier is really determined to turn the page, then she can prove it in Monday’s throne speech by halting the sale of Hydro One, reversing her deep cuts to healthcare, and committing to good jobs for the future.   

Ontarians will not be fooled by another Liberal public relations exercise. They want to see real action on their priorities.”

Statement from Peggy Sattler, Ontario NDP Women’s Issues Critic

Peggy Sattler, Ontario NDP Women’s Issues Critic, issued the following statement in response to today’s government announcement about sexual violence and harassment intervention training for hospitality sector workers.

“People should be able to go to a restaurant or bar, or work in one, and be safe from violence and harassment. New Democrats support strong and effective measures that will help change the social, political and economic structures that perpetuate sexual violence and harassment. To be effective, ‎the measures announced today will depend on the quality of the training that is developed, and who receives the training. 

Government must commit to keeping auto jobs in Ontario: NDP

Following the announcement that Unifor will target General Motors in its "Big Three" pattern bargaining, New Democrats are calling on the Liberal government to commit publicly to the future of Ontario’s auto sector.

“Jobs in the Auto Sector are critical to our economy. More than that, they’re critical to families. People want the next generation to have a future with good jobs and opportunities. That means committing to a strong auto sector.  New Democrats are calling on the government to get squarely behind the future of good jobs in auto manufacturing,” said NDP leader Andrea Horwath. “The negotiations between General Motors and Unifor will set the tone for the future of good auto jobs in Ontario. The Premier needs to stand up publically and say the government will fight to make sure it’s Ontario workers who are building the next generation of vehicles.”

Better Jobs, Better Pay, Better Benefits — NDP will make it easier for Ontarians to join a union

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath announced new plans to help improve the quality of jobs, raise wages, and provide benefits for Ontario working families.

“Ontarians know that this province is a great place, but they’re watching as it gets harder to build a good life, especially for young people,” said Horwath. “People want to make a better life for themselves and their kids. New Democrats will help them do that. That’s why we will make it easier for people to join a union, and when they do, ensure they can get a fair contract.”

New Democrats are calling for Card Check Certification, and First Contract Arbitration legislation. Together these measures make it easier for Ontarians to join a union. They reduce the possibility of intimidation of workers, and ensure access to binding arbitration so that if the parties come to an impasse a first contract can be achieved.

“I believe the next generation deserves a real future in Ontario. It’s why New Democrats believe Ontarians deserve a $15 minimum wage; that temporary workers deserve the same wages and benefits as permanent workers doing the same jobs; and that we must protect the rights of people to work together, join a union, and enjoy fair pay and good benefits,” said Horwath. “Ontarians can count on the NDP to focus on a future with good, middle class jobs for them and their children.”

Horwath was joined by young workers who face low wages, unpredictable scheduling, no benefits and little security. Horwath spoke with young people about what joining a union could mean, such as better jobs with higher wages, real benefits, job stability and better scheduling.

Statement by Ontario NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo (Parkdale-High Park) on Ombudsman’s “Nowhere to Turn” Report

“I want to thank the Ombudsman and his whole team for their work on behalf of adults with developmental disabilities and their families.

Adults with developmental disabilities and their families have heard the Liberals make promise after promise that things would get better, even as they face the same old problems. They heard more promises today. This is not the leadership that people were promised, and they are being let down. As the Ombudsman said, “[w]ithout significant additional reform, many uniquely vulnerable people will continue to be lost in the system and experience harm because of inadequate supports and services.”

New Democrats believe in opportunity and security for everyone which is why the Ministry must immediately act on all of the Ombudsman's recommendations, and in particular get rid of waitlists for services.