QUEEN’S PARK – Lise Vaugeois, NDP MPP for Thunder Bay—Superior North, is calling on the Ford government to provide the funding needed to save local outreach services like Street Outreach Services (SOS) so they can continue to support vulnerable people in Thunder Bay this winter.
THUNDER BAY - Following the release of a coroner's inquest report into the death of Daniel Legarde by an OPP officer, Ontario NDP MPPs Lise Vaugeois (Thunder Bay—Superior North), Sol Mamakwa (Kiiwetinoong), Critic for Indigenous and Treaty Relations, Kristyn Wong-Tam (Toronto Centre), Critic for Attorney General and John Vanthof (Timiskaming—Cochrane), Critic for Solicitor General are pressing for urgent action from the Ford Conservatives to immediately implement the recommendations to prevent similar tragic incidents from occurring in the future.
"The verdict of death and the subsequent recommendations from the coroner's inquest highlights the pressing need for improved and specialized training within police forces," stated Vanthof. "The OPP must prioritize Indigenous-specific training for officers and focus on relationship building with local Indigenous peoples. This is a crucial step towards preventing similar tragedies from occurring again."
The coroner's inquest yielded 18 recommendations, 12 of which were explicitly directed to the Ontario Provincial Police. These recommendations include Indigenous-specific training, de-escalation techniques, communication improvement, and proper application of relevant laws. The Ontario NDP fully supports these recommendations and urges the provincial government to act immediately.
"Thunder Bay, with one of the highest rates of intimate partner violence in Canada, knows the urgency of this matter," said Vaugeois. "This inquest reinforces the need for comprehensive measures to combat domestic violence and ensure the safety of all Ontarians, particularly First Nations who face unique challenges. Updated anti-racism and cultural training need to be built over time with members of the police. As the report suggests, our officers need continual support to deepen their relationships with First Nations and combat intimate partner violence."
"The time for meaningful change is now," emphasized Mamakwa. "For far too long, First Nations have faced systemic challenges, and these incidents have historical roots that span centuries. It is unacceptable that such tragedies continue to unfold in today's day and age."
"We need to do better – the Legarde case underscores the urgency to quickly implement these recommendations to create a more just and accountable system that safeguards the rights of all Ontarians," said Wong-Tam. "It's unfortunate that the Legarde family had to endure such a prolonged wait for the inquest, but moving forward, we must ensure timely actions in the pursuit of justice."
Plan would see patient care quality decrease, invite extra billing to increase private facilities’ bottom line
THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay – Superior North MPP Lise Vaugeois joins her NDP colleagues in the Ontario legislature in decrying Doug Ford's move to privatize 50 per cent of the province's health care system by moving patients to private, for-profit clinics. This move will result in a decline in the quality of care as for-profit enterprises poach health care workers from the public system and implement patient fees for "extra services" not covered by OHIP. This will result in patients using credit cards, not health cards.
"Since the day the Conservatives first came to power, they have focused on defunding and privatizing Ontario's health care system," MPP Lise Vaugeois said, "this has always been the Conservative tactic: create a crisis in a public system by starving it of funding and resources and creating a 'solution' by shifting services to the private sector. This is precisely what Mike Harris did to the Long Term Care system in the 1990s, resulting in substandard care and preventable deaths during the pandemic. This is only the beginning of Ford's privatization scheme. Our public healthcare system is collapsing from understaffing, yet the government wants to expand private healthcare by pulling workers from our public system.
It should be noted that one of the top private eye care facilities in the province heavily lobbied the Ford government to expand private cataract surgeries and has close ties to Doug Ford's Ontario PCs.
"We've seen it with the Greenbelt fiasco, and now we are seeing it again with health care. Buckle in, folks, when it comes to attacking our public health care system, this government is going to 'get it done.'”
MPP Vaugeois and the Ontario NDP stress the need to invest in our public health care system by supporting it with the resources it needs instead of spending them on for-profit clinics. Instead of selling our health care to political donors, the premier must stop this attack on health care, rescind Bill 124, and work with groups such as ONA and the College of Physicians and Surgeons to address the crisis in our health care system.
May 19th, 2023
QUEEN’S PARK- Yesterday, the Ford Conservatives voted down Bill 101, An Act to Establish the Advocate for Older Adults. Bill 101 was co-sponsored by NDP MPPs Lise Vaugeois (Thunder Bay-Superior North) and Laura Mae Lindo (Kitchener Centre).
The bill sets out to create an Advocate to make recommendations to the government and service providers on areas such as healthcare, housing, income support, personal support, and accessibility support.
MPP Lise Vaugeois stated, “ I am extremely disappointed the government said no to seniors by saying no to Bill 101. Creating an Advocate for Older Adults would have helped countless seniors in our province. Unfortunately, there are several systemic failures in our province that don’t serve our elders well.
Only an Independent, non-partisan Advocate could offer constructive solutions and advice on how seniors could be better served. Other provinces have similar seniors' advocates. In BC, the Seniors Advocate acted immediately to get staff to work at only one LTC facility at a time, thus reducing the transmission of covid drastically.”
MPP Laura Mae Lindo stated, “It is bewildering that the Ford Conservatives supported this Bill last session, and now, in the face of overwhelming evidence of the need for an independent body to provide guidance and support to this government so we can finally ensure older adults have what they need to thrive, they said no.
The housing crisis disproportionately impacts older adults - elders who are facing evictions and homelessness at staggering rates. Their traumatic experiences with long-term care homes have been well documented. The Official Opposition handed them a golden opportunity to act proactively during such uncertain times, and they said no.
Ford’s Conservatives are ignoring various concerns brought forward by older adults and advocacy organizations across Ontario that have been shouting from the rooftops that older adults need our help. This sends a clear message to everyone across this province that they simply do not care about older adults. And that is utterly shameful.”
Several advocates for older adults endorsed Bill 101, including:
- The Alzheimer Society of Ontario
- Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario
- Care Watch Ontario
- Accessible Housing Network Access to Seniors and Disabled Advocacy Group
Maria Sardelis, founder of Access to Seniors and Disabled Group:
“Time and time again, the Ford Government can be counted on to demonstrate that the lives of seniors and persons with disabilities do not matter. The opposition shamefully accused MPP Lise Vaugeois of not knowing seniors are concerned about social isolation. And yet, Bill 7 isolates seniors by placing them in homes far away from their social and cultural connections. The irony is that right after the Bill was voted down; I was again contacted by another woman who was trespassed from seeing her parents in LTC. This is social isolation! This is what Bill 101, Advocate for Older Adults, would address. Calandra, you turned down enforcement of Motion 129-Voula’s law, saying that the Residents' Bill of Rights offered protection from trespass. Will you write the Elizabeth Centre and tell them the Residents Bill of Rights does not permit the barring of family and related senior isolation?”