Today we’ve reported another 1373 new cases of COVID-19, and 35 more deaths.
We’re now also on our third day of lockdown here in Toronto, and I’m going to flag once again that if you are struggling right now, there are mental health resources that can be found at the bottom of this email.
As we move through our 28-day lockdown – I want to once again remind everyone of just how important it is that we all follow the guidance of public health experts. That means that we need to wear our masks diligently, wash our hands frequently, and maintain physical distancing from anyone we do not live with.
One aspect of the lockdown that has been particularly controversial has been the disparity in the rules for big box stores and our local small businesses. Larger chains are being given the green light to continue selling non-essential items, while many small businesses are being forced to shut down their indoor operations.
It’s very concerning that this double standard has been established – and when we looked into it a little further we discovered that some of those big-box stores have been lobbying the Ontario government aggressively in the last little while.
Perhaps most tellingly, some of the lobbyists who have been hired were top-level Ford government staffers not so long ago. While it’s always difficult to ascribe exact motivations to decisions, this looks a lot like what we saw earlier in the pandemic, when private long-term-care homes hired former government staff to do their lobbying as well.
It’s incredibly frustrating to see that our local businesses aren’t getting the support they need, and you have my word that I will continue to advocate for better supports to protect our small businesses.
November 25th is the International Day to End Violence Against Women – and this year it comes while we’re seeing increased rates of domestic violence in Canada due to COVID-19.
Today we must acknowledge the ongoing global need to prevent and eradicate violence against women and girls. Here in Canada half of women will experience at least one incident of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime – with these statistics being even higher for BIPOC women and disabled women.
We all owe each other, and ourselves, relief from injustice. With that in mind, it is critical that we all commit to eradicating gender-based violence.
As a legislator – I will continue fighting to have gender-based violence declared a public health issue, and demand that the Legislature implement a gender equity strategy to address the many cracks that women and other marginalized groups in Ontario fall through.
I released a full statement in commemoration of this day – that you can read here.