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FORUM: Ford’s antics fill Pink Palace (Winter 2022)

March 14th, 2022 · No Comments

MPPs return to Queen’s Park in final controversial legislative session

By Jessica Bell

Canadian-content rules lowered for Ontario Line

Premier Ford is allowing companies who would like to build vehicles for the Ontario Line to cut their Canadian-manufactured content from 25 per cent to 10 per cent.  

Fewer government dollars will now go to creating good green jobs at Ontario’s public transit manufacturing plants in Kingston and Thunder Bay.  

Despite the rhetoric and the colourful maps, Premier Ford’s track record on improving transit is poor. 

The government canceled the shovel-ready Relief Line in 2019, has allocated minimal funding to building its four priority transit projects, and has done nothing to reform the provincial transit agency, Metrolinx, by making it more accountable, transparent and cost-effective. 

To build a prosperous green economy and a green transportation sector, Ontario must fairly fund public transit, build new transit lines and ensure that Ontario dollars are directed to creating good green jobs in Ontario. 

The Ontario Line also needs to be built right, which means choosing a route that serves our city, and not just big developers, delivering the project using the public delivery model, and fully integrating the new transit line with the TTC so it costs a TTC fare to ride.

Housing affordability task force doesn’t address affordability 

Ontarians are being crushed by the skyrocketing price of housing. With just four months left of their mandate, in January the government-backed Housing Affordability Task Force released a report on how to address housing affordability in Ontario.  

The report includes 55 recommendations to speed up the construction of new homes, Lands Tribunal reform, giving the province greater power over construction and planning approvals, increasing density, and opening up farmland to urban sprawl.

We support building new homes to meet the needs of Ontarians. We have long called for zoning reform to increase density and spur the construction of thousands of missing middle homes within existing neighborhoods and municipal boundaries. 

The government-backed report fails to address affordability. The report makes no recommendations to build new affordable housing, stabilize rent, help renters get repairs done, or protect renters from eviction. 

Nor does the report make any recommendations to address foreign and domestic speculation, even though investors are the biggest purchaser of homes in Ontario today. 

We expect the government to introduce legislation this session to enact some of the recommendations in the government-backed report, and I look forward to working with University-Rosedale residents to ensure housing affordability is a priority. 

Licence plate fees ending

The Ontario government has introduced legislation – Bill 84 – to end the license plate sticker renewal fee of $120 a year, resulting in a loss of almost $1 billion in government revenue. 

This is revenue that should continue to be used for health care, education, and public transit so Ontario can transition to a green transportation sector.  The cancellation of license plate fees is a decision that I do not support. 

Health care surgery backlog described as catastrophic

We are lucky to have some of Canada’s best hospitals near us, including Princess Margaret, Toronto General, Toronto Western, Mount Sinai, Sick Kids, and Women’s College. University-Rosedale is also home to many of the health care workers who are responsible for healing us when we are sick.  Thank you. 

I’m very concerned about the state of health care today. 

Up to 400,000 Ontarians are waiting too long for necessary surgery – a surgery backlog that doctors are describing as catastrophic.  

This means people are experiencing anxiety, pain and a reduced quality of life as they wait too long for cataract surgery, MRIs, hip replacements, heart bypass surgery, and even cancer surgery.  

We support the Financial Accountability Office’s recommendation to invest $1.3 billion to address the surgery backlog. 

Instead of investing, the Conservatives continue to underfund health care and suppress health care workers’ wages well below the rate of inflation.  

The exodus of exhausted and demoralized health care workers and nurses will continue until Bill 124 is repealed and health care staff are properly paid for their heroic work.  

We are a healthier and more prosperous province when we all have access to universal public health care when we need it.  

As your MPP, it’s my job to fight for this vision. 

Please reach out to our office if you need help, or have questions or concerns.

Jessica Bell is MPP for University–Rosedale.


Tags: Annex · Opinion