Joel Harden MPP / Député, Ottawa Centre

Government of Ontario

July/Aug Newsletter

While the Ontario legislature has been in recess for the summer, we have taken this opportunity to celebrate empathy in Ottawa. That’s something we need more at the Ontario Legislature, and something we have in abundance in our city. 

In fact, we’ve nicknamed August “empathy month” with events and meetings under this theme to bring our community closer together. 

On August 16th, we hosted a Senior’s Town Hall and Tea at the Good Companions Centre to discuss what an age-friendly society looks like. 

As the Official Opposition Critic for Seniors and Accessibility, I often hear that we need safer streets and affordable, accessible housing for seniors. Having this conversation in Ottawa was incredibly important for us to identify the local issues around creating an age-friendly city and province. 

I was honoured to be joined by my good friend Evelyn Gigantes, past Ottawa Centre MPP and Ontario Minister of Health, who told the crowd that we need a revolution to kick out the private corporations in our long-term care and home care systems, and I couldn’t agree more. 

That weekend we also hosted a picnic on Sunday, August 18th on the topic of prisoners’ rights. We wanted to commemorate Prisoners’ Justice Day (August 10) and, at the same time, bring our community together for those that have interacted with the prison system. 

We spoke to neighbours about the conditions at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre which reinforce existing barriers for many of Ottawa’s most vulnerable residents. We want a city where everyone can be their fullest selves, even after they make mistakes and we hope this conversation allowed us to discuss that. 

Finally, to end off empathy month with a big and fun bang, we invite you to join us at the 2019 Capital Pride festival this Sunday, where we will be acknowledging the achievements and challenges still being faced by queer and trans folks in our community. 

This year’s festival theme is “in the spotlight”, and we’re proud to be participating in several events. Let’s remind everyone that love is love, and that queer and trans rights matter. 

Join our outrageous presence at the Capital Pride Parade on March 25 with Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, my colleague MPP Terence Kernaghan and many other special guests. 

Meet us at 12:30 PM on Sunday, August 25th on Bank St. between Catherine and Gladstone to join us for the parade. Just look for the orange glam. 

Thanks for reading this, and for all you to make our city a more inclusive and welcoming place. We hope to see you soon. 

My very best,