Government must act now on Grassy Narrows mercury contamination

NDP Environment and Climate Change Critic Peter Tabuns challenged the Liberal government to act on new information about ongoing mercury contamination affecting the English-Wabigoon River system. 

“Once again supporters, scientists, and the Grassy Narrows people have demonstrated that the mercury contamination of the English-Wabigoon River system is not just a shameful toxic legacy but an ongoing issue of mercury contamination of the Grassy Narrows and White Dog territories,” said Tabuns.

Soil samples taken last November in an area behind the Dryden paper mill - the historic site of the mercury release into the Wabigoon River more than forty years ago - show current mercury levels in the soil 80 times greater than what is considered safe. The contaminated soil was found by the conservation group Earthroots in an area suggested by a former mill worker as the likely site of a former mercury dumping ground, 100 kilometres upstream from Grassy Narrows. Previous studies have shown that fish in the Wabigoon have the highest levels of mercury in the province, while 90 percent of residents of Grassy Narrows and White Dog First Nations show the health effects of mercury exposure.         

“The Liberal government may not like the fact that the ongoing legacy of the mercury poisoning of Grassy Narrows has been their responsibility for over a dozen years now, but they can no longer afford to look away and must act now in the face of mounting and overwhelming evidence of an ongoing source of mercury contamination,” said Tabuns. “The fact that this isn’t happening in Toronto-Centre or Willowdale doesn’t make it any less urgent. No more excuses. The Premier and her government needs to clean up the Wabigoon River now so the fish are safe to eat again.”  

CONSTITUENCY ASSISTANT – CASEWORK/OUTREACH Full Time – Permanent Monique Taylor MPP – Hamilton Mountain

Internal applicants only until Jan 25, 2017




Full Time – Permanent     Monique Taylor MPP – Hamilton Mountain 

Objectives:  To assist the Member by completing assigned casework and outreach duties.


Internal Applicants only until Jan 25, 2017


Full Time – Permanent  JENNIFER FRENCH MPP – OSHAWA 

Objectives:  To assist the Member by completing assigned casework and outreach duties.

CONSTITUENCY ASSISTANT - OUTREACH/CASEWORK Full-Time Permanent Gilles Bisson, MPP – Timmins James Bay

Internal applicants only until Jan 25, 2017

Full-Time Permanent 

Gilles Bisson, MPP – Timmins James Bay

Objectives:  To assist the Member by completing assigned casework and outreach duties.

NDP: FAO report confirms more Liberal healthcare cuts are coming

Ontario NDP Finance Critic John Vanthof said the latest report by the independent Financial Accountability Office confirms that more Liberal cuts to healthcare are coming. 
“Healthcare in Ontario is at a tipping point. Hospitals and emergency rooms are overcrowded, people are waiting far too long for surgeries, and hospitals are being forced to treat people in hallways that were never designed for patient care,” said Vanthof, MPP for Timiskaming-Cochrane. “These are the results of deep cuts to healthcare, year after year, under this Liberal government.”
According to the FAO, for the Liberals to reach their health sector expense targets, they will have to cut $400 million from healthcare spending this year, $900 million next year, and $1.5 billion dollars in 2018-19.
“Ontarians deserve better. We have to stop the cuts to healthcare in Ontario,” said Vanthof. “We need to make sure hospital funding keeps up with inflation and population growth and the unique needs of communities, each and every year. We have to stop the layoffs of nurses and healthcare workers. And, most importantly, we need a government that actually works for the people of Ontario for a change – and protects the public healthcare that all of us count on.”
The FAO raises serious concerns about the long term sustainability of Ontario’s current standard of care. According to the report, beyond 2019, healthcare cost growth and spending pressure are expected to be more than double the funding growth allowed for in the Liberal plan.
“$2.8 billion in cuts to healthcare isn’t what Premier Wynne promised, and it isn’t what people voted for. Ontarians expected, and deserve something better,” said Vanthof. “New Democrats would make investments in the healthcare system that keep pace with inflation, and with Ontario’s growing population. Ontarians should be able to access the care they need, when they need it. We can make things better; we can give people hope for the future.”

Open Letter from Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath: Premier Wynne must support Toronto’s effort to establish supervised-injection sites

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath sent the following open letter calling on Premier Wynne to support the efforts of Mayor Tory and Toronto City Councillors to establish three life-saving supervised-injection sites. Horwath said that the Province must do its part to reduce the harm of a nationwide overdose crisis by providing immediate funding and letters of support for this vital program.

NDP: Ontarians struggling to find good jobs

NDP Economic Development and Employment Critic Catherine Fife says Ontario’s year-end job numbers confirm what too many Ontarians already know: it’s getting harder to find full-time, secure employment in Ontario.

“From December 2015 to December 2016, 74,000 of the 81,000 jobs created in Ontario were part time jobs,” said Fife. “Families in Ontario are struggling. Trying to piece together a decent income from precarious part-time work is only going to make things worse.”

Horwath visits family struggling to keep up with hydro bills

Today Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath sat down with Sault resident Charlene Lovelace to discuss how the skyrocketing cost of hydro is affecting her family.

“I have been travelling the province listening to people like Charlene for almost two years now.  Hydro bills are skyrocketing all over Ontario and the NDP  has been putting forward real solutions that will address the immediate needs of Ontarians who are finding it harder and harder to build a good life in our province,” said Horwath.  “As elected representatives, we have a responsibility to every single person in this province to work to make life easier, not harder.  Ontario can be a great place to live, but we need to make sure that the next generation has a future here.”

NDP’s Armstrong brings vision and leadership to London-Fanshawe

Current London-Fanshawe MPP Teresa Armstrong has been nominated by the London-Fanshawe NDP riding association to run in the upcoming provincial general election, continuing the hard work she has done in the riding since first being elected in 2011.

“London-Fanshawe is my home,” said Armstrong. “I’m proud to represent this riding, and I look forward to the coming election, and working alongside Andrea Horwath and my NDP colleagues to offer Londoners and Ontarians a better future.”

Armstrong is a well-known community leader in London, with a long history of volunteering with different community organizations and causes. As NDP Critic for Home and Long-Term Care, and Seniors’ Affairs, she has been a champion for vulnerable Ontarians, working to improve the lives of seniors, retirees, and people living with long-term health challenges. In September 2016, a private member’s bill from Armstrong was passed, establishing October as Islamic Heritage Month in Ontario.

“I couldn’t be more proud to have Teresa on our team today, and moving toward the general election,” said Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. “Teresa is a fantastic advocate for her constituents, and a highly respected MPP here at Queen’s Park. She works hard every single day to build a better, fairer Ontario for everyone.” 

“The Wynne Liberals are making it harder to live in Ontario and build a good life, especially for young people, and Patrick Brown’s PCs will only make things worse,” said Armstrong. “Ontario’s New Democrats believe in building a better province, where people have access to the education, healthcare, and good jobs they need and deserve. I’m proud to bring that message here to London-Fanshawe, and to help spread it across the province.”

Open Letter from Andrea Horwath: Review MPAC assessment that threatens cultural hub at 401 Richmond

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath issued the following open letter calling on the Premier to review an MPAC assessment that threatens the future of the cultural hub at 401 Richmond. See attached and below.

December 20, 2016

Office of the Premier 
Main Legislative Building, Queen's Park 
Room 281 Toronto, Ontario 
M7A 1A1
Dear Premier Wynne:
I wanted to make you aware of some issues that have been raised recently concerning the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation.
As you know, MPAC is the provincially-controlled, municipally-funded agency that assesses the values of properties in Ontario under the Assessment Act. MPAC and the system of Current Value Assessment for property taxes were introduced by the Ontario PC government in 1997, and have been maintained by your government in largely the same form.
You may have recently read that the future of 401 Richmond, an irreplaceable cultural hub in downtown Toronto, is now in doubt as a result of property tax increases of 85%, following MPAC’s most recent assessment.
The problem is, MPAC does not assess the value of commercial or industrial properties based on their current use, or even based on uses that are allowed under current zoning rules. Instead, 401 Richmond was assessed based on the value of the 30-storey condo tower that MPAC imagines might exist in its place. This is known as the principle of “highest and best use.”
MPAC uses the same principle when assessing the value of Toronto’s heritage properties. Even though these properties theoretically cannot be demolished under Toronto’s heritage rules, MPAC assesses their value as if they had already been knocked down to make room for condo towers.
The Ontario Municipal Board plays a supporting role here when it ignores heritage conservation rules, favouring developers and setting a precedent that is hard to push back against. Former NDP MPP Rosario Marchese, in whose former riding 401 Richmond sits, fought hard to rein in the OMB’s extraordinary ability to rewrite Toronto’s planning and heritage conservation rules while ignoring municipal and provincial statutes, plans and policies.
The destructive combined actions of MPAC and the OMB are block-busting Toronto’s heritage districts and threatening the future of vital cultural hubs like 401 Richmond, and this needs to stop.
It is regrettable that your new Modernizing Ontario's Municipal Legislation Act (Bill 68) does not include MPAC reform within its scope, nor does it include most other financial measures that municipalities have been demanding for years.
401 Richmond and Toronto’s heritage properties however, cannot wait for your next review of municipal finances. They need MPAC reform now. I urge you to immediately take a closer look at MPAC and review its principle of “highest and best use.”
[signed in original]
Andrea Horwath
Leader of the Ontario NDP

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