A letter to constituents from MPP Stiles in the wake of Doug Ford's announcement of sweeping new police powers.
Dear Davenport friends & neighbours,
I know that Ford's announcement yesterday was devastating for so many people who have been doing their part, while waiting patiently for the government to do theirs.
Instead of paid sick days for essential workers, most of whom are racialized, women and lower-income, we're getting expanded policing that will disproportionately target them.
Instead of refocusing our vaccine rollout to support the hardest hit areas, we're closing playgrounds. This is a government that is more interested in blaming Ontarians than taking responsibility for its failure to protect them.
Everything going wrong seems to be someone else’s fault. Premier Ford has even gone as far as to blame people for having trouble booking a vaccine appointment via Ontario’s online portal or with a participating pharmacy. Doug Ford says that’s your fault, not his government’s.
Time and again we are seeing the same response from Ford, but the path forward is clear. Public Health experts have consistently noted the rise of COVID-19 in certain areas (eg. racialized communities with workers in precarious, low wage employment, essential workers who can’t afford to stay home sick or isolate), and why it is crucial to implement effective measures – paid sick days, industrial shut downs – to contain community spread. Instead, this government has shared mixed, confusing messages – whether it comes to schools closures or vaccination plans. They haven’t engaged in real consultation or collaboration with people on the front lines. And to this date, Ford is refusing to vaccinate all childcare workers and education workers.
This is a difficult time. It's easy to feel powerless right now - but we can't give up hope and we can’t stop pushing for action that will really make a difference - like repealing these expanded police powers. Ontario deserves better, and we can make it happen if we stay strong, protect one another, and keep pushing for it.
This government may not accept responsibility but we will ensure they don’t escape scrutiny and we will use all the tools at our disposal as Official Opposition to fight for our province and communities. This weekend our Opposition caucus is meeting to lay out legislative plans to stop the carding and check stops Doug Ford has planned, and instead get paid sick days, a shutdown of non-essential businesses, vaccines sent to hotspots, and financial help for workers and businesses in place urgently. And we’re calling on MPPs of all stripes to join us.
I will keep you posted on ways that you can get involved, too.
Thank you for all you’re doing, and please stay safe.
Marit Stiles, MPP