Community News Update - October 27, 2023

Dear community,

As the crisis in Israel-Palestine continues, people watching in horror are caught in a devastating military conflict. This unfolding humanitarian tragedy demands action and we echo the call of our federal party for a ceasefire, an end to all bombardments of Gaza, and for humanitarian aid to reach Palestinians in Gaza without delay. All hostages must be released. All civilian lives must be protected.  

We are also seeing the ripple effects of this violence across Ontario, where Jewish, Arab and Muslim communities have seen a rise of hatred. Just today we’ve heard of a Jewish doctor experiencing antisemitism. This cannot be tolerated. We must stand together against antisemitism, anti-Palestinian racism, and Islamophobia.  

This is a time to come together to advocate for peace and an end to this bloodshed that has already taken too many innocent lives.  

Last week, the Conservative government brought forth Motion 18 on Israel-Gaza. During the debate, the Ontario NDP made it clear that we condemn the terrorist attacks by Hamas on Israeli citizens and that we share the shock and grief felt by so many in the wake of these heinous acts. There can be no justification.  

Given the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the impact on people here in Ontario, we attempted in good faith to add language to this motion through an amendment that would reflect this reality and call for peace. The government blocked this language from being added to the motion. We fought to ensure the deaths of Jewish and Palestinian innocent civilians were being acknowledged in this motion but sadly the Conservative government denied this. Considering this, we abstained on principle.   

Following this, the government moved to censure the member for Hamilton Centre MPP Jama. The Ontario NDP voted against this extreme motion, which effectively disenfranchised the voters of Hamilton Centre. This was nothing short of a tool to distract from the fact the government themselves are under criminal investigation.  

Shortly before, a decision was made to remove the member for Hamilton-Centre from the Ontario NDP caucus. This was a decision I did not support for a variety of reasons including my desire for additional clarifying information on some of the “unilateral actions” that influenced the decision of leadership to remove her from caucus.  

This has been an incredibly hard time for many of us here in the west but that pales in comparison for those in our communities who have lost loved ones killed in this crisis. As I’ve said before, we cannot allow those who want to take advantage of opportunities for division to capitalize on this tragic moment. We must band together and remember that having empathy for the plight of innocent Palestinians facing genocide is not anti-Semitic any more than having empathy towards the plight of innocent Israelis attacked by Hamas is anti-Palestinian racism. Hamas does not represent the views of Palestinians for peace and the Israeli government occupation does not represent the views of Israelis for peace. We must hold space for all who are hurting right now and commit to actions that promote peace, reconciliation, and allow for each civilian’s right to a home that is safe and secure. 

MPP Mamakwa:

“The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement” - MPP Sol Mamakwa

Yesterday, I rose in support of MPP Mamakwa’s motion to list colonialism and indigeneity as OVERARCHING and INTERSECTIONAL determinants of health across government ministries. Because they are. These facts need to be recognized. 

This motion is an opportunity to advance the health and well-being of Indigenous communities across Ontario. I am honoured to support this call. Thank you, MPP Mamakwa for this VITAL and IMPORTANT work!

You can watch my full statement HERE.

Read the full ONDP press release here.

Once again, the most vulnerable in Ontario are being left behind. Earlier this week, I stood in Question Period to demand the Premier learn from his mistakes to ensure vaccines are accessible and affordable for ALL. I’ve heard from community members in St. Paul’s and across the province who are struggling to access the life saving vaccines they NEED and DESERVE. ALL Ontarians have a right to life and vaccines make sure they do! Enough is enough!

You can watch my full question HERE

Yesterday’s tragic and horrific loss of five people in Sault Ste. Marie as a result of intimate partner violence is unacceptable. Today, the Opposition called on Premier Ford to take ACTION and declare intimate partner violence an epidemic in Ontario. 

I shared my statement in today’s press release and I must reiterate here:

“Intimate partner violence is an epidemic. It is absolutely shameful that the Premier failed to see the urgency of the situation, especially following the tragedy that unfolded in Sault Ste. Marie. Violence against women is a persistent issue deeply rooted in social inequities. The Premier’s commitment to acknowledging the urgency and accepting the Renfrew Inquest recommendations would mean resources that is beyond necessary.”

Yesterday was Dress Purple Day at Queen’s Park. Dress Purple Day is an awareness campaign aimed at raising public understanding about child abuse and neglect. On this day, and always, I offer my LOVE and SOLIDARITY with survivors of child abuse and neglect. Children must be protected and provided with safe and nurturing environments. Full stop. 

Join local author Catherine Little at Wychwood Barns Farmers Market Saturday, November 4th at 11 AM.

She’ll be reading her book, ENDGAME: The Secret Force 136. All proceeds from her book sales will benefit the Stop Community Food Centre.

Happening TOMORROW, Saturday, October 27 featuring yours truly!

Join me at Bloom Bar Studio from 7:30-9:00 PM for a night of comedy and spooky stories. Featuring Elaine Gold, Paul Hutcheson, Desiree Walsh, and me!

There will be special themed cocktails and spooky treats for you to enjoy. 

Tickets are $30 (includes 1 drink). Email [email protected] to reserve. 

In solidarity,

Jill Andrew

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