The Ontario NDP, sandwiched between the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives, two parties mired in controversy, is offering voters a set of grass root policies that offer assistance to Ontario’s beleaguered middle class, youth, seniors- issues that touch a great portion of the province’s electorate.
But will the NDP, led by Andrea Horwath of Hamilton, Ontario in her ninth year as leader, be able to attract voters after a lacklustre 2014 election, and the 28-year old ghost of Bob Rae, Ontario’s first NDP Premier, and only the second left of centre government along with the United Farmer’s of Ontario under E.C. Drury in 1919.
If you ask Horwath, the NDP is fighting a full force campaign to show the people of Ontario that it has the programs they want, and the people to govern for a better tomorrow.
Horwath promises to lower your hydro bills by creating efficiency and passing all the savings back to consumers. She’ll save taxpayers money by putting an end to Liberal scandals and waste including the last minute cancellation of two natural gas fueled power plants on the eve of the 2011. The fact that contracts had been let and work started didn’t mean a thing to then Premier Dalton McGuinty. Price tab over a billion dollar to Ontario taxpayers and increased debt.
“It’s about respecting your money and creating jobs,” Horwath said.
They don’t have to convince the voters of Ontario North, were the NDP currently holds 5 of the 11 existing ridings, and is poised to run competitive campaigns in the two new Northern Ridings of Mushkegowuk and Kiiwetinoong.
Any hopes of the NDP capitalizing on the sex scandals affecting the Liberals and Conservatives vaporized last week, with the announcement of an immediate leave of absence for Chief of Staff, Michael Balagus for not taking staff’s concerns about sexual harassment seriously. Now all three parties have been tainted by the taint of sexual harassment with in each party.
Although, from recent developments the Ontario Progressive Conservatives are very much in the lead with their three ring circus of sexual misbehaviour and party bickering. Patrick Brown’s resignation as leader; Party president Rick Dykstra resigning for sexual indiscretions; and the amazing turn about by former leader Brown, who was kicked out of PC caucus, but yet chose to enter the race for his old job at the last hour after media reports that one of the accusers changed some parts of her story.
Emboldened Brown has also recently launched a liable action against CTV News which first reported the story.
Horwath promises to lower your hydro bills by creating efficiency and passing all the savings back to consumers. She’ll save taxpayers money by putting an end to these Liberal scandals and waste.
The Ontario NDP’s platform calls for:
• Taking action on Seniors Care
• Pharmacare for everyone
• Making mental health a priority
• Keeping Hydro One publicly owned / restoring public ownership and ending private public partnerships
Health, Seniors and Pharmacare
One of the key Northern Ontario NDP member is France Gélinas, (Nickel Belt) who is the health portfolio critique. Recently Gélinas took up this issue of elder care and called for the reunification of two seniors from Sudbury who have been sent to two different long-term care facilities.
In a recent news release, Gélinas asked Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins to reunite Hildegard and Gottfried Adler immediately. Gélinas said couple reunification should be a priority in long-term care facilities in Ontario
“Hildegard and Gottfried miss each other every day,” said Gélinas in the Ontario Legislature. “Last week was the only Valentine’s Day that the couple has ever spent apart; their daughters told me that both Hildegard and Gottfried have declining mental and physical health – they lay awake at night and cry for each other’s company. It’s absolutely heartbreaking – and it must be fixed.”
“More and more seniors in Ontario will need long-term care in the next decade, but we have a system right now that isn’t working the way it should,” said Gélinas. “We need a broad “find-and-fix” public inquiry. The Adler’s should be together – it should be a priority, but right now, it doesn’t even seem to be on the government’s radar.”
“We can stop choosing between a Liberal government that ignores the issues in our long-term care system, and a Conservative government that plans $6.1 billion in further cuts to our public services,” said Gélinas. “We can choose to make change for the better – when it comes to long-term care that means a proper, system-wide, find-and-fix public inquiry. An NDP government will do this, starting on day one.”
Horwath has called on Premiere Kathleen Wynne to expand the Public Inquiry into the Safety and Security of Residents in the Long-Term Care Homes System to examine spousal reunification.
The inquiry was launched in August 2017 after Ontario Nurse Elizabeth Wettelaufer’s conviction of eight counts of first degree murder and four countes of attempted murders at several seniors in long-term care facilities
Gélinas said that spousal reunification is a piece of the current system that needs to be fixed. The broad public inquiry would look at systemic issues in long-term care like chronic under staffing, inconsistency in the people delivering care to our parents and grandparents, the number of hours of individual care that people receive each day, couple reunification processes and many more.
Price of Electricity
Another sure winner for the NDP in northern Ontario is their promise to reduce the high cost of electricity. In the North, high energy costs are not only causing major financial woes for families, homeowners and small business; they are also playing havoc with investment in the North who prefer Quebec’s lower priced electricity from the James Bay Hydro-Electric project.
Kidd Creek Mines decided to shutdown its Timmins MET site smelter and relocate it to Rouyn-Noranda because of the cheaper electricity. The number of major investors who rebuffed Northern Ontario because of high energy costs is not known.
The Sale of Hydro One and ending Public Private Partnerships
Tied into the electricity pricing issue is the determination of the NDP to put an end to the Wynn government’s selling its remaining shares of Hydro One to the private sector.
The Liberals great Ontario hydro sell off has its birth in the highly unpopular Mike Harris bid to breakup Ontario Hydro in 1998 by creating three entities, Ontario Power Generation to produce the power. Hydro One to transmits and sells the electricity to municipalities or directly to homeowners and businesses. The Independent Electricity System Operator to calculate the spot electricity price on the electricity markets.
The move to sell break Ontario Hydro’s monopoly and sell them dvisions to the private sector back fired on Mike Harris who resigned amid scandal in 2001. Under the Premiership of Ernie Eaves the party announced it was holding off on selling OPG and Hydro One prior to the 2003 election which the Ontario Liberals won.
To the three-headed monster created by slash and cut policies of extreme right winger Mike Harris, Dalton McGuinty’s government added a fourth entity, the Ontario Power Authority to ensure that future system planning would be coordinated.
The Liberals announced they were committed to selling of some or all of the publicly owned crown corporations under a scheme known as Private Public Partnership’s – the 3Ps.
“The report by the Financial Accountability Office is a damning indictment of the privatization schemes rammed through by successive Conservative and Liberal governments,” said Andrea Horwath.
“The sale of Hydro One will cost the people of Ontario nearly $300 million every year, and it will result in the province paying $1.8 billion more to build infrastructure than it would have cost if Hydro One had remained in public hands.”
Horwath explained that the Liberals decision to force the sale of Hydro One means billions of dollars less for the services that matter most – money that should be going directly into patient care in overcrowded hospitals, into our children’s classrooms, or into lowering our hydro bills. But if the Liberals or Conservatives are elected to the premier’s office in June, the privatization stands, and that money is gone.
The NDP proposing to bring Hydro One back to be a publicly owned crown corporation.
“Let’s not settle for the way our hydro system is working today. After years of reckless sell-offs, Ontarians deserve change for the better,” added Horwath.
The five NDP MPP from Ontario North are:
- Gilles Bisson- Timmins-James Bay
- France Gélinas – Nickel Belt
- Michael Mantha- Algoma Manitoulin
- John Vanthof – Timmiskaming-Cochrane
- Sarah Campbell- Kenora-Rainy River