November 8, is National Indigenous Veterans Day, a day that recognizes Indigenous people who have served Canada in the military, whether in war or peace. Indigenous soldiers, sailors, and aviators have often faced discrimination at home, even as they fought and died for Canada.
Here’s a piece of history that you should know, if you don’t already, that illustrates why National Indigenous Veterans Day is so important.
Over 12,000 Indigenous people served in the Canadian military during the First and Second World Wars, and the Korean War. When Indigenous veterans came back from those wars, they were denied benefits that were routinely given to non-Indigenous soldiers. It wasn’t until 2002 when the federal government finally delivered some benefits, but it still fell short. They only paid out $20,000 each – much less than the estimated $400,000 each they had been denied.
This is a part of this country’s history. We must remember not just the bravery and sacrifices that were made by Indigenous soldiers, but the way our governments systematically failed them after they returned.
This morning, Ontario reported 480 new cases of COVD-19, once again increasing our rolling seven-day average of cases, which now stands at 476. For the last week, we’ve seen consistently increasing case counts across the province – we need to keep a careful eye on this number in the coming days.
Of course, we know that the best defense against COVID-19 is vaccination. If you still haven’t gotten vaccinated, I would encourage you to do so as soon as possible.
As a reminder, as of this past Saturday (Nov 6), booster shot eligibility was expanded in Ontario to include anyone aged 70 and older, healthcare workers, essential caregivers in congregate settings, anyone who received two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, First Nations, Inuit and Metis adults and any non-Indigenous members of their households.
Anyone listed above can now book their booster vaccine once six months have passed after their second dose.
For many weeks, along with my Ontario NDP colleagues, I have been pushing for the Ford government to get back to the table with optometrists, to negotiate a deal that will ensure the return of OHIP services to our community. Frustratingly, despite knowing that the current state of affairs has been completely untenable for optometrists, the Ford government continues to refuse to negotiate in good faith on this issue.
Last week, I helped bring the voices of our local optometrists into the Legislature and took the government to task for their failure to find a solution to this vital issue in Question Period.
I’ve heard the voice of our local optometrists, and I’ve heard the voice of our community members who need their OHIP-covered services again desperately. They both need this government to act immediately and get back to the table to get a deal done. I’m also going to need your help to keep pushing this issue forward – and here’s something tangible you can do right now.