By MPP Bobbi Ann Brady
I felt like a schoolgirl last Monday as I sat on the steps to the Ontario Legislature waiting for the fall session to resume. No, I didn’t have a new lunchbox or backpack but I did arrive with my to-do list on your behalf.
The first day was lively and I got into the weeds as the week wore on. The Ontario Health Coalition took the opportunity to greet the government, not warmly, with a large protest on the front lawn on the first day back. The concern that dominated the protest was privatization – I’ve written my thoughts on this subject before so I won’t rehash those at this time, but I will choose to focus on two other sentiments – healthcare funding and cuts.
First and foremost, every government is accused of healthcare cuts whether they have occurred or not and secondly, healthcare funding is on the rise. In 2018, the population of Ontario was 14.2 million and healthcare funding per capita was $4,300. Today, with a population of 15.5 million that per capita funding sits at $5,400. This leads me to believe that this is a systemic issue of mismanagement and government failing to ensure patients/taxpayers are getting the best bang for their buck. Of course, this government would be wise to restore respect to our frontline workers who feel undervalued.
On the healthcare front inside the Legislature, on Wednesday I called on the government to ensure all men over the age of 50 receive a regular PSA blood test in the fight against prostate cancer. Eight other provinces cover the test and yet in Ontario only those suspected of having prostate cancer, by their practitioner, or those who have already been diagnosed can have a test paid by OHIP. That’s not the definition of early detection.
Love was not being felt inside Queen’s Park on the first day back either as the government was hammered on the issue of the Greenbelt. The Premier at one point said that he had apologized and added: “That’s what you call leadership: admitting if there was a mistake, moving forward and making sure we go on with our agenda.”
I sat there scratching my head wondering what the Premier had actually apologized for – opening up the Greenbelt to development in the first place or is he apologizing for the biased process that favoured insider developers? Despite your opinion on building within the Greenbelt, one cannot turn a blind eye to the process that does nothing but exacerbate the mistrust and cynicism felt by you and rightfully so. It’s not something I take lightly.
I also don’t take lightly the fact that over the summer I heard from so many of you that life has become unaffordable. On Thursday, I went after the Premier asking how he plans to make life more affordable for you and your family.
Further, I pointed out that continuing to build new homes is not the answer for affordable/attainable homes because government does not dictate the market – supply and demand does. More people means more demand and it’s clear to me that this province, on all fronts, is not equipped for more people.
I called upon the Premier to stand up for Ontario by telling Ottawa that this province must take stock and get critical services back on track before adding more people to the chaos.
Looking forward to hearing what you all think at both the Caledonia and Norfolk County Fairs. See you there!
Bobbi Ann Brady is the MPP for Haldimand-Norfolk