What in this world could you say is more consistent than the passage of time? Whenever I see a grandfather clock with its pendulum swinging, I can’t help but marvel at its ability to mark time as it passes with incredible consistency and accuracy. Despite the fact that clocks are an invention of man and the technology is centuries old, it works because the device’s drive is based on the science of physics, which I believe accounts for its accuracy. I have always loved to just sit to watch and listen to the regular rhythmic ticking.
That being said, why do we have such a hard time figuring where time goes?
I’m writing this column in the final days of the Legislature’s Spring Session, and you know, without any exaggeration, I can’t think of a time when I have had such a broad range of emotions about the success of our efforts. And when I say broad, I mean that in the extreme; from tears of pain and joy, devastating disappointments and proud successes, and abandonment of vulnerable Ontarians and feelings of caring and commitment.
I have to admit that in some ways I will be glad to get away from the Legislature and back to the riding where my team and I can go about helping the people of Algoma-Manitoulin. At the same time, however, I say at the same time I am so frustrated that Doug Ford is shutting down Queen’s Park for the summer while people still need help to make it safely through the pandemic.
I look around me and see that families and educators are truly burned out and frustrated with at-home learning. They need a solid safe-schools plan — not a premier that cuts and runs.
I see local businesses and the people who work there are desperate for financial help to make it to the end of the lockdown, and incentives to spark economic recovery — not a government that takes the summer off.
All around there are people who need a plan for faster second vaccine doses. It is outright cruel for Doug Ford to force them to play a seemingly endless scavenger hunt game.
When I have telephone conversations with people who are waiting for their delayed surgery, I can hear their pain and fear. Ontario urgently needs investment and a plan to get through those procedures, now. They need a caring government working tirelessly to fight for them, not a premier that’s in hiding to try to save his plummeting polling numbers.
We now know for certain that from the very beginning of this session, Doug Ford knowingly chose to ignore experts and willingly marched this province into a disastrous third wave. And now he is shutting the legislature down before the job is done. He’s ending it in hiding, avoiding Horwath and the legislature, the public, and media scrutiny.
Over the course of this session, Premier Ford ignored his own experts and relaxed public health measures too fast – causing the third wave. He fought tooth and nail against giving working people paid sick days. He tried to close public parks and bring in a police state. He claimed schools were safe right up until the day he shut them all down for months while cutting education by $800 million. And those readers who watched the news or daily proceedings in the legislature will note that his government adopted what you might call the ‘protect the king’ strategy — sending him into hiding so he doesn’t have to answer for his bad choices.
Now is not the time to close up shop. There is so much more that needs to be done now, that just can’t wait. The legislature should continue to sit until:
- There is a safe school reopening plan in place
- There is action and investment in place to urgently address the backlog of surgeries, procedures, and cancer screenings
- There is a local business and jobs support plan in place to help businesses and workers make it to their reopening day — and stay open
- Families get answers and action on long-term care deaths, especially those the Armed Forces reported were caused by starvation and dehydration
- Workers are given 14 paid sick days, which will help make sure the third wave is the final wave of COVID-19 in Ontario
And now, the government has recessed the legislature until Sept. 13th.
The NDP caucus had a tremendous retreat just prior to the opening of this last session. We recognized Ontario was facing some of the greatest challenges in modern times, but we were also confident that it was possible to make a real difference. We were determined to not just oppose, but even more importantly, endeavour to work collaboratively by offering responsible, practical proposals to help the people of Ontario. I am proud to say that we kept our promise on all accounts.
Right now, there is no time to just stand around and reflecting on what is. There is still much work to be done. My team and I remain committed to helping the people of Algoma-Manitoulin through these most challenging of days.
As always, please feel free to contact my office about these issues, or any other provincial matters.