The social safety net previous generations fought to build has been left in tatters by governments that know the price of everything and the value of nothing. Hospitals’ budgets have been reduced in real terms for nine straight years. 121 schools are set to close across the province this year, including six in Ottawa. Parents in Ottawa pay $1,000 per month in average childcare fees, compared to $179 across the river in Gatineau.
Joel understands that there are many kinds of deficits, and that a social deficit can be more damaging than a fiscal one. An NDP government will do what Liberals and Tories alike have abjectly failed to do: invest in healthcare, education, child care, elder care, and tackling poverty. As your MPP for Ottawa Centre, Joel will be a persistent advocate for a caring approach to government that leaves no one and no community behind.
Expanding Universal Health Care
It’s time to end Liberal cuts to our hospitals, treat nurses and doctors with the respect they deserve, and expand universal provision beyond primary care.
The ONDP’s pharmacare plan will be a lifeline for two million Ontarians without prescription drug coverage, ending the indignity of people having to choose between food and medicine. For those with drug plans already, pharmacare should result in lower premiums, better coverage, or both.
In addition, our party has pledged important measures to expand mental health services and dental care. We must remove cost as a barrier preventing people from getting the mental health or dental care they require, and fully integrate these services into the healthcare system.
Investing in Childcare & K-12 Education
As the past president of the Colonel By Childcare Centre’s Board of Directors and a father of two young children, Joel is keenly aware of the importance of accessible public childcare. Last year, there were 8,830 children on waitlists for licensed childcare spaces in Ottawa, which highlights how vital it is to build new and expand existing facilities. Beyond making more spaces available, bringing in universal childcare will ease the financial pressure being placed on thousands of families. We know that over time, this investment will more than pay for itself.
For every child to reach their full potential, supports must be available in the classroom to ensure that all students are able to thrive. The ONDP has pledged to fund special education based on individual student needs, not overall student numbers. The Liberal government’s school closures are a short sighted and unnecessary measure that will short change students, teachers and parents alike. Joel will fight for an immediate moratorium on school closures, in Ottawa and province-wide.
A Compassionate Drug Policy
The opioid crisis is a profound human tragedy that has caused unspeakable pain and suffering for so many. We can’t be idle while overdoses take the lives of our friends and neighbours.
Joel joins the ONDP’s health critic in supporting the call of 700 doctors, nurses and harm reduction workers from across Ontario for the Wynne government to declare an emergency in response to the opioid crisis. Public health officials must have every tool at their disposal to effectively treat people in need. This includes initiatives like the forthcoming Sandy Hill supervised injection site, an addition to our city that will save many lives. Ultimately, we need to reject the criminalization of addiction, as Portugal has done with incredible results.
A long-term plan for long-term care
Patients and support workers are sounding the alarm over the Wynne government’s abject failure to invest in improving elderly care. No one should have to wait years on a waiting list to enter a long-term care facility, and families should have peace of mind that the care their loved ones receive is of the highest quality.
Joel fought for seniors at the Canadian Labour Congress where he designed a winning campaign to expand the Canada Pension Plan, and he’ll fight for seniors at Queen’s Park to expand long-term care. This means not only securing new funding, but also enshrining new standards of care in law as CUPE Ontario has called for.
When 355,000 Ontarians must resort to using food banks every month, something is profoundly wrong. Mhairi Black, the UK’s youngest MP, put it best: “food banks are not part of the welfare state, they are a symbol that the welfare state is failing.” In a province where all five big banks are based, there is no reason why anyone should live in poverty.
It starts with dramatically improving social assistance so that everyone’s basic needs are provided for. The ONDP has committed to setting social assistance at rates which reflect the cost of essentials like food and shelter. Joel will advocate for the setting of these rates at a level where everyone can afford to buy food at a grocery store or market, without resorting to foodbanks.