Andrea Horwath gathered the NDP caucus in Scarborough Friday, delivering a leader’s report in which she said the role of the Official Opposition in Ontario is as critical as it ever has been.
“Doug Ford has attacked the courts. He’s attacked democracy. Now, he’s attacking any person in Ontario who dares to disagree with him,” said Horwath. “This week has been a stark reminder that the work we do together, with and for the people of Ontario, is more important than ever.”
The NDP caucus meeting in Scarborough comes following a controversial week of sitting of the legislature, called so Doug Ford could reintroduce a bill to meddle in Toronto’s municipal election. Ford’s original bill — written to exact revenge on political foes — was struck down by the court for violating the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In response, Ford reintroduced the bill, but added a suspension of those Charter rights using a notwithstanding clause.
Horwath said it’s up to New Democrats not only to stand up to Ford’s attack on people’s rights; but to push for the legislature to focus on the problems that have been going from bad to worse under Ford — like long waits for health care, neglected schools in need of repair, and job losses.
“Too many families are still facing painfully long wait times for the health care that they need, only to be moved onto a gurney in a hallway rather than a hospital bed,” said Horwath. “So many of our children’s schools need critical repairs, so kids are in sweltering classrooms with no air conditioning on hot days, and will be wearing their winter coats in freezing and drafty classrooms on cold days. Many even have water fountains that kids can’t drink from because of lead in the water. Meanwhile, an astronomical 80,000 jobs were lost in Ontario in August alone.
“But rather than improving health care, fixing crumbling schools or creating jobs, Doug Ford has dragged things backwards — from bad to worse. We know it doesn’t have to be this way, and so do the people of Ontario.”
On Friday afternoon, Horwath and the NDP caucus will hold a community event in Scarborough, hearing about the concerns, ideas and priorities from Scarborough residents and community leaders.