The next session of the Ontario Legislature begins promptly at 9 am on Monday morning with the Speech from the Throne. The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, will read a missive outlining the Government of Ontario’s priorities for the rest of their mandate, but the opposition leaders have some priorities of the their own, and they recently shared them with the media.
“As we begin a legislative session that never should have been delayed, we need urgency and collaboration to tackle the multiple crises facing Ontario,” said Green Party of Ontario leader and Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner.
“Almost 1 in every 5 schools across the province has COVID cases, and the recent Science Table modelling clearly shows that cases in children are increasing. Where are the rapid tests? Where are the lower class sizes? Where is the commitment to keeping our kids safe and schools open?” Schreiner asked. “These are the types of questions that need to be urgently addressed when we return to Queen’s Park, along with providing clarity, legal and funding support for small businesses who are concerned and confused with the vaccine certificate rollout.”
Schreiner also lists affordable housing, mental health, nursing shortages, food security, and, of course, the climate crisis as other priorities he’d like to see become part of the agenda this fall.
“Let’s get back to Queen’s Park and collaborate to make things happen. That’s what Ontarians want and it’s what they deserve. And it’s what we need now more than ever,” Schreiner added.
In the office of the Official Opposition leader, Andrea Horwath has some similar ideas as Schreiner. Her top five priorities include hiring more nurses and PSWs, business grants, proper enforcement of vaccine certificates, mandatory vaccines for health and education workers, and safer schools through more teachers and smaller class sizes.
“We can help people make it to the other side, make the months ahead easier and safer, and start rebuilding our critical services. But we need Doug Ford to stop listening to his buddies, and start listening to regular families and working folks,” said Horwath. “Let’s invest in health care and our kids instead of cutting deeper. Let’s stand up for local business – not big box stores. And let’s protect workers instead of Ford’s buddies.”
Liberal leader Steven Del Duca meanwhile said that he would like to see Queen’s Park sign on to the Federal government’s $10 per day childcare plan, and institute 10 paid sick days for every worker in the province.
“This pandemic has shown us just how much government decisions matter. At each critical moment, Doug Ford’s delayed and misguided actions have impacted millions of people’s lives,” Del Duca said. “Ontario Liberals intend to keep up that hard work as the Legislature returns next week to help deliver the strong leadership that’s been so desperately lacking in Ontario.”
The Speech from the Throne will open the new session of the legislature at 9 am on Monday. You can watch it live on the Government of Ontario’s YouTube channel.