Keeping Haldimand-Norfolk front and centre in 2023: Part 2

By MPP Bobbi Ann Brady

Building on my previous column outlining the first six months of 2023, this column covers the second part of the year.  

As much as I want to always be in the riding listening to you, I must also take your concerns to Toronto to voice them at the Ontario Legislature. I put a great deal of thought into my questions and statements on your behalf. 

From voicing my concerns to the provincial government, I shifted my gaze to the World Health Organization (WHO) to voice my displeasure with their World No Tobacco Day. I urged WHO to alter their focus and efforts from persecuting legal growers to targeting the daily loss of 319 acres of agricultural land, and the criminals dealing contraband tobacco.  

Speaking of targeting, Ontario needs to better target prostate cancer. I stood in the House to advocate for OHIP-covered PSA testing for all men 50 and over on a regular basis. Ontario females have access to early detection tests, along with men in eight other provinces. I will continue to advocate on this front.

During September, I asked Premier Ford why he hasn’t made life more affordable, fixed critical services, and voiced his concerns to Ottawa as they welcome 800,000 newcomers to a broken Ontario. The premier rattled on about his cost savings such as eliminating license plate renewal fees, gas tax cuts and holding the feds accountable for the carbon tax. I sensed the premier’s frustration stems from the fact he knows the conditions to build 1.5 million homes does not currently exist.

While we’re on the subject of fixing things, in the second part of the year, I twice asked the Minister of Transportation, this time Prabmeet Sarkaria, what is holding up reconstruction of the Argyle Street Bridge in Caledonia. His answers just frustrated me. I was again given no timeline, just platitudes about how concerned they are about safety. That just isn’t cutting it. That’s four times I have asked since August 2022. I will not leave this one alone.

From infrastructure to long-term care beds, the fixing must continue. And my ask to Long-Term Care Minister Stan Cho was when construction will start for the long ago-promised 348 new long-term care beds and 324 upgrades at six facilities in Haldimand-Norfolk. Again, no assurances, but the Minister failed to understand that these were beds already approved.

I called on the government to include Haldimand-Norfolk in the Veterinary Incentive Program (VIP), which provides grants of up to $50,000 over five years to veterinarians who care for livestock and poultry in northern and underserviced communities. Since that ask, my office received news there could be a mechanism for vets to be included in the program.

One of the best programs for Ontario farmers is the Ontario Risk Management Program, which is currently underfunded. Therefore, I asked the government to commit to increase RMP funding by $100 million, taking the program to $250 million. This follows on consultation with representatives from the Beef Farmers of Ontario, who considered $100 million to be the bump up that would truly make a difference.

Of supreme importance is to make sure I honour all veterans who have served Canada. Before Remembrance Day, I stood at Queen’s Park to express my gratitude to the thousands of veterans who fought and/or sacrificed their lives for the freedoms we enjoy. I urged MPPs to support a year-long remembrance and suggested simple yet meaningful ways we can participate.

On that note, I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you in 2023. You can rest assured that I will not be taking my foot off the gas to keep your concerns front of mind at Queen’s Park in 2024.

Happy New Year.

Bobbi Ann Brady is the MPP for Haldimand-Norfolk