Toronto NDP MPPs urge Ford to create Safety Zones, protect access to hospitals

TORONTO — Toronto's NDP MPPs are urging the Ford government to answer Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath's call to implement Safety Zones prohibiting protests near hospitals, schools, and clinics, as a convoy of protestors heads towards Toronto. Jill Andrew (Toronto-St.Paul's), Jessica Bell (University—Rosedale), Suze Morrison (Toronto Centre), Chris Glover (Spadina—Fort York), Bhutila Karpoche (Parkdale—High Park), Rima Berns-McGown (Beaches East York), Peter Tabuns (Toronto—Danforth), Marit Stiles (Davenport) and Faisal Hassan (York South—Weston) released the following statement:

 
"We are hearing from people across the city terrified that their access to critical health care will be blocked amid reports that hospitals are already cancelling services, and downtown residents, health care workers, and business owners are afraid for their safety.
 
We are worried for people like Toronto-St. Paul's resident Lisa Bonney, a mother who reached out to MPP Jill Andrew to express her fear that her 14-year-old daughter, who has multiple health and developmental challenges and is on a waitlist for two surgeries, could require urgent care at Sick Kids, but be unable to access the hospital quickly.
 
Lisa is just one of many Toronto residents legitimately afraid that access to vital health care for a loved one in crisis could be impeded.
 
We support peaceful protest as a constitutional right. However, alongside the disruption to health procedures in Ottawa, we all saw troubling images of protestors marching with confederate flags and Nazi swastikas.
 
No health care worker or patient should have to walk through a gauntlet of hate to enter a hospital or clinic, no one should have to fear for their safety due to disgusting symbols of hatred from protests that are far from peaceful.
 
The families in our communities are upset that Doug Ford invited a convoy to Toronto. Now, we are urging him to immediately declare safety zones to prevent anyone from protesting near our hospitals, schools, or vaccine clinics.

People in Toronto deserve a government that has our backs. We condemn, in the strongest terms, violent, racist, and antisemitic actions and stand united in saying that that kind of hate is not welcome here."

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