June 11th, 2021
June 11th, 2021
QUEEN’S PARK — Doug Ford’s plan to overrule the courts to silence his critics hurts workers and families who deserve to have their voices heard, said Andrea Horwath, leader of the Official Opposition, who met with some of the people hurt by Ford’s law on Friday.
“Ford is desperately trying to cling to power, so he’s muzzling people he has hurt,” said Horwath. “But the very people he’s trying to silence are the ones we should be listening to — families of long-term care residents, parents of children with autism, advocates for schools and kids and frontline health care workers, among others.”
On Friday, Horwath was joined by Angela Brandt, parent of a child with autism and president of the Ontario Autism Coalition; Felipe Pareja, elementary teacher in Mississauga and co-applicant in the Charter challenge alongside the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario; Pam Parks, an RPN who works in a Durham Region hospital; and Dr. Amit Arya, palliative care physician who works in long-term care homes in the GTA with faculty appointments at the University of Toronto and McMaster University.
Doug Ford and his government have recalled the legislature to overrule the courts in an unprecedented power grab. Ford’s bill muzzles criticism in the lead up to the election — which the Superior Court concluded violates people’s right to free speech.
Angela Brandt, parent of a child with autism and president of the Ontario Autism Coalition
“There has been no urgency to address the crisis within the autism community. However, when a court ruling struck down sections of the Election Finances Act, Ford brought the legislature back for an emergency session. That’s a level of urgency the autism community has never seen from this government.”
Felipe Pareja, elementary teacher in Mississauga and co-applicant in the Charter challenge alongside the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario
“I am shocked that this government would take the completely unprecedented step of invoking a clause of the Constitution that is so rarely used, in order to force through legislation that our courts have deemed to be in violation of Ontarians’ rights to freedom of expression and association. It’s abundantly clear that this government is simply trying to avoid valid and justified criticism and scrutiny in the lead up to the next election. Their use of the Notwithstanding Clause serves to demonstrate the contempt in which they hold all Ontarians.”
Pam Parks, full-time RPN who works in a Durham Region hospital
“Instead of imposing the notwithstanding clause, the Premier should be listening to frontline workers who can contribute to conservations about improving public services in Ontario, and making health care, education, child care, and seniors care a priority.”
Dr. Amit Arya, palliative care physician who works in long-term care homes in the GTA with faculty appointments at the University of Toronto and McMaster University
“People who live in long-term care have a median life expectancy of 18 months. Yet, the Ontario government has only committed to hiring enough staff in 4 or 5 years when most current residents will have already passed away.
Our elders have suffered tremendously during COVID. I’m absolutely shocked to see that solving the staffing crisis is not a matter of immediate urgency, but calling back the legislature to implement the notwithstanding clause was.”