By MPP Bobbi Ann Brady
On the heels of choosing a Speaker in the Ontario Legislature, the second order of business was delivering the Speech from the Throne – Together, Let’s Build Ontario.
Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor, The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, read the Speech according to tradition. She reminded members of the Legislature that we are entrusted by the people of Ontario to “ably and thoughtfully represent their interests” – this is a statement and responsibility I take seriously.
The beginning of the Throne Speech then laid out a bleak warning: “Here in Ontario, across Canada and around the world, we are witnessing a growing sense of uncertainty with no historical precedent for the unique circumstances facing the global economy,” the Lieutenant Governor read. Her Honour said inflation is at levels not seen in 40 years, with no consensus on when it may return to normal. Worse yet, global supply chains disrupted by the pandemic remain stressed. And on the unemployment scene, Ontario has hit the lowest rate since 1989 and is facing a generational labour shortage.
It sounds like the making of a science fiction book, but it is Ontario’s reality. Whether we farm, operate a business, or go to work daily, we are all significantly impacted. We are all paying more for the necessities of life, including gas and groceries.
We are blessed to live in an area where we can grow our food and have farm families who take pride in producing the best we can put on our tables. I was shocked the Throne Speech failed to mention food and agriculture.
“From minerals to manufacturing, the province is building up home-grown supply chains that will ensure every region and every worker benefit in this once-in-a-generation opportunity,” the speech reads. This would have been an apt opportunity to mention our food supply chain and the importance of protecting our farmland so that we never have to rely on another country to feed us.
We’ve all heard there is a shortage of both houses that are affordable and affordable housing. Ontario’s population has grown, but housing construction has not kept pace. Ontario must build 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years.
“As the province continues to grow and as Ontario welcomes more newcomers in search of economic opportunity, the crisis will only get worse,” the speech continued. Welcoming newcomers to a province experiencing crisis in critical sectors such as healthcare and education seems unfair. Wouldn’t it make sense to take stock, fix the issues, and then proceed?
Developers are eyeing our productive farmland, and as urban sprawl continues, we will see more developers showing up at the doorstep. If we learned one thing during Covid, it’s the importance of having a strong supply chain for the necessities here in Ontario. If there’s one thing that must be made in Ontario, it is our food.
As I mentioned above, healthcare is in crisis as well. Healthcare was in trouble before the pandemic. It’s time to put every qualified healthcare worker back on the job. It’s time to kill legislation that pits healthcare workers against one another and restore respect. The government suggests they will add more money to the system — that hasn’t worked in the past and will not work now.
We are in tough times, and tough decisions are vital. I hope partisanship ideology is put aside to get us all back on track.
Bobbi Ann Brady is the MPP for Haldimand-Norfolk