Opposition Gets Ready for New Session (and the Election)

Family Day is supposed to be a day of rest, and an occasion to spend time with the family, but that doesn’t mean that there can’t be a little time for politics. Some of Ontario’s political leaders were thinking the same thing. The Ontario’s Members of Provincial Parliament return to Queen’s Park on Tuesday for the last legislative session before the election, but before that, they want to talk about their agendas.

At a media availability in North York today, Ontario Liberal leader Steven Del Suca was joined by Liberal candidates from around the GTA to talk about a very timely Family Day topic, affordable child care. Del Duca said that one of the best post-pandemic actions the government could take is to take up the Federal government’s offer of $10 per day childcare. Ontario is the only province or territory to not secure a deal.

“What will $10 a day childcare mean for families across Ontario? It’s going to help make sure that our kids get the very best start in life, which is so so important,” Del Duca explained. “It’s also going to make sure that families today in this province who are struggling with making ends meet will literally save thousands of dollars per year, more than $300 per week per child, once we’re able to deliver this.”

Along with the $10 per day childcare, Del Duca said that that the Liberals have a plan to hire more early childhood educators, increased pay and benefits to attract more people to work in childcare, and the creation of 160,000 new childcare spaces. He also said that the Liberals in the legislature will also be looking to increase vaccine uptake among young people between 5 and 11, and to continue economic recovery efforts from both the pandemic, and the recent events in Ottawa.

“We’re going to make sure that we can get through the rest of COVID as a unified province by making sure that we have all of the measures in place around testing again, and around getting kids who are eligible for the vaccine their shots,” Del Duca said. “We’re going to get those numbers up and we’re going to be talking about health care, and how we can move forward to make sure we build a system that is truly exceptional, but also resilient.”

Before the start of the long weekend, Official Opposition leader Andrea Horwath said that she is also going to be dedicated to helping Ontarians build back post-pandemic, a goal, she says, that everyone in the legislature can start working on starting tomorrow.

“People can’t wait for an election — we need to use this session to get solutions in place now. The price of homes and cost of living is ludicrous,” Horwath said in a statement. “Our health care, education, home care and long-term care systems have been brought to their knees by cuts before, and even during, the pandemic. Workers’ wages have been held back, and our environment has been under attack.”

Horwath said that the NDP will table legislation to tackle Islamophobia and other forms of racism in Ontario that they developed with the National Council of Canadian Muslims. They will also look to support higher wages, paid sick days, recruiting more teachers and health workers, and getting more financial support for small businesses.

“We will recover by investing in health care and our kids, not cutting deeper. By helping workers get ahead, not the rich and powerful. And by championing local business, not big box stores,” Horwath said.

As for Green Party leader and Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner, though he already announced his primary agenda for the session, he will get an early jump on the first day back at the legislature Tuesday by announcing a new motion about mental health.

“I’m hearing from people saying that we need to address the mental health crisis that many people are facing, particularly after two years of the pandemic,” Schreiner said Thursday. “We are putting forward a number of solutions that will reduce wait times and improve access to mental health services and supports.”

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