Community News Update - February 17, 2021

Dear Community,
 
Before going through anything else, there was a moment today at Queen’s Park that I must address.
 
In a response to a question during Question Period from Andrea Horwath, Doug Ford responded by saying, “it’s like listening to nails on a chalkboard, listening to you.”
 
Let me very clear.
 
This was a sexist attack on Andrea Horwath from the Premier of Ontario.
 
This type of misogyny has no place in our discourse – and tonight I am adding my voice to the chorus of voices calling on Doug Ford to apologize for these remarks. This language and this behaviour too often keeps women out of politics. To any woman who was offended today by this remark: I have a message for you.

You belong at Queen’s Park. You belong in all the spaces that you’ve been told you don’t belong in.
 
Sadly, this wasn’t the only disappointing moment today at Queen’s Park, as this morning the Ford government blocked the speedy passage of another three bills that we put forward.
 
The three bills were:
 
Evictions Ban
This bill would amend the Residential Tenancies Act to prohibit evictions until one year after the pandemic is declared over.
 
Equity Strategy
This bill would guarantee the implementation of culturally-appropriate strategies that support marginalized communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, including measures to curb the spread of the virus, and prioritization in the vaccine rollout.
 
Safe Schools
This motion would make Ontario’s schools safer by capping class sizes at 15, bringing in comprehensive in-school COVID-19 testing and improving air quality in schools.
 
To pass these motions immediately would have required unanimous consent from all parties in the Legislature. They would have brought immediate action that the people of Ontario need, and addressed the damage being caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While we weren’t able to get all party support today, we’re not going to stop pushing forward with our strong set of proposals to get Ontarians the support that they need right now.
 
In today’s COVID-19 news, Ontario has reported an additional 847 new cases of COVID-19, with 257 new cases in Toronto.
 
I want to again encourage everyone in our community to continue following the public health directives being issued by the experts. That means maintaining our physical distancing, washing our hands, and only going out for essential reasons.
Following the most recent update in case numbers, Toronto’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Eileen de Villa, has requested that the province delay their reopening plans for Toronto until at least March 9. This request comes as the province is set to re-evaluate Toronto’s current status in the Grey-Lockdown set of restrictions on February 22.
 
I will be continuing to monitor this situation, and will have a further update on this in my Friday newsletter.
 
Finally, today I want to share with you an exciting event happening on February 25 at 7PM, to celebrate Black History Month, called Voices Beyond Borders. It will be an evening to commemorate Paul Robeson and his border-straddling concert in 1952.
 
If you’re interested in finding out more about how you can attend (virtually), click here.

In Solidarity,
 
Jill Andrew
Toronto—St. Paul's

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