News From The Park
Michael Mantha MPP/député Algoma-Manitoulin
Before you read any further in this column, I ask you to consider the question, “What is the purpose of government?” Take a moment to consider why we have government and what is it that it is there to do?
In broad terms, a government is put in place to organize and maintain basic public security, order, justice, freedom and the general welfare of its citizens. Government is there to keep us safe and help us prosper in every way.
Recently during our NDP caucus retreat during the quieter moments of the evenings, my friends and I reflected on our individual reason or purpose in running for Provincial office; what was our overall objective. Without exception, all of us agreed it was our personal desire to make a difference to the lives of Ontarians. We want to make this a better place to live and raise our children and grandchildren.
That being said, we then contemplated how successful the current Wynne Liberals have been in achieving this goal. Are Ontarians better off because of policies and decisions made by successive Liberal and Conservative governments?
Consider the state of Ontario’s health care system. The Ontario Hospital Association has recently started ringing alarm bells about a worsening capacity crisis in Ontario’s hospitals. The Wynne Liberals have shortchanged hospitals by over $300 million this year alone. As a result, over-capacity ERs and hallway medicine have become the norm in too many of our hospitals and communities. The OHA is worried about what is going to happen this winter. Does this sound like a government that is committed to keeping us healthy?
The Liberals have finally agreed that our labour laws, which haven’t seen any improvement in over 14 years, need to be updated. Let’s face it, the entire makeup of our workplace and economy has totally changed. Today most people don’t have the same job for years like their parents used to. Thousands of Ontarians have two or even three part time jobs or are hired as contract workers. Temporary employment is extremely common today. Unfortunately there are many shady companies who purposely contract out risky work to temp agencies - because our laws are written so that if a temporary employee gets hurt on the job, the company isn't held fully responsible. Why is Kathleen Wynne willing to let families who are already struggling just to get by risk their lives in dangerous workplaces? Does this sound like caring leadership?
The NDP has been calling for improvements to protect temp workers - including equal pay for equal work, and reduced barriers to permanent employment for workers employed through temporary job agencies. The NDP put forward amendments to the Wynne Liberals' labour bill which included changes that would have helped temp workers immediately, but those amendments were denied by both the Liberals and the Conservatives. They both refused to support our proposed improvements.
We have just begun a new fall session in Queen’s Park. New Democrats have always been, and always will be, committed to improving the lives of Ontarians. The NDP is looking ahead to the new session determined to focus our efforts on what matters to families: prescription drug coverage for everyone regardless of age, better health care, addressing the seniors’ care crisis, making the workplace safe and equitable for everyone, and lowering costs on essentials like hydro.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath recently she stated, “New Democrats believe that government can be about delivering for families. It can deliver the services that make life better for people. But Kathleen Wynne has let people down. She's been showing people that she's in it for herself and her party.
NDP MPPs have returned to Queen's Park committed to do all we can to make life better everyone. Kathleen Wynne has disappointed Ontarians with her cuts to schools and hospitals and her sell-off of Hydro One. And with Patrick Brown and his Conservatives offering only more cuts, only New Democrats have a plan to improve public services and put people at the heart of government.
As always, please feel free to contact my office about these issues, or any other provincial matters. You can reach my constituency office by email at email@example.com or by phone at 705-461-9710 or Toll free 1-800-831-1899.