The past two weeks had some big changes of plans, so here’s an update on what I have been up to!
Emergency Debate at Queen’s Park
Last weekend, the government called back the Legislature to hold an emergency debate that would allow them to use the notwithstanding clause for the first time in Ontario’s history despite widespread criticism. I know this subject might be complex, so I thought I would break it down. Here’s what you need to know:
- The government passed a law limiting the ability to advertise on government policies up to one year before an election.
- This law was declared unconstitutional by the Superior Court of Ontario because it violates the freedom of expression protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
- The government decided to use the extraordinary power of the notwithstanding clause to override this court ruling, clearly indicating that they do not respect the Charter.
This behaviour is another demonstration that the government is ready to do everything to impose its decisions, without consideration for public opinion or the rights of citizens. This was an extremely concerning move and I was sure to voice my opposition and vote against the decision.
Improving Access to Vaccines in Ottawa
I know that it has been difficult to book appointments for many residents looking to receive their second doses. Yesterday, my colleagues MPP John Fraser, MPP Stephen Blais, MPP Amanda Simard, and I sent a joint letter to Ottawa MPPs that are part of the current government. We affirmed our support for Mayor Watson’s request for 40,000 more vaccines for Ottawa and urged these colleagues to raise the issue with their government. Thankfully, the city received confirmation today that we will be receiving more doses and more appointments are available through the provincial booking system. You can read the full letter here.
Ensuring a Safe Return to Schools
Children, parents, and education workers have had to navigate too much uncertainty and change throughout the pandemic. Despite widespread calls for improvements to make schools safer, the government failed to recognize their shortfalls and children have had to end the school year from home. It didn’t have to be like this. Parents in Ottawa have recently held numerous protests to call on the government to act now to prepare for a safe return to schools. I’ve attended these protests twice now to hear from residents and reassure the community that this issue is top-of-mind. It is crucial that the government urgently develop a clear and concrete plan for a safe return to schools in the fall.
Earlier this week, the Kids Come First Health Team launched 1Call1Click.ca to help children, youth and families connect with the right mental health and addiction services and care when they need it. The pandemic has been tough on kids, and the Kids Come First Health Team is stepping up to respond to the demand for mental health services. Visit this link for more information.
Community Roundtable on Family Physicians
I previously mentioned that I would be organizing a discussion on family physicians, and I am thrilled to say we have an official date! Join me and local family physicians on Thursday, July 8th at 7 p.m. for a community roundtable on the importance of family physicians and of ensuring more Ontarians have access to one.
Finally, as the end of the school year is near, many students are graduating, and every school is trying to make this important step as memorable as possible while respecting health guidelines. I was happy to deliver congratulatory certificates to add my personal touch and let each graduate know that I am thinking of them.