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Comforting the afflicted, afflicting the comfortable: my focus as your MPP

Submitted by Joel Harden, MPP Ottawa Centre –

Joel Harden, MPP Ottawa Centre

Friends in Ottawa Centre,

The Ford Government has been busy, and we’ve seen an array of cuts this Summer.

Modern sex-ed in schoolsworkers’ rights on campusand nearly-completed renewable energy projects were the early casualties. Halving the number of Toronto’s city councillors was next, along with cuts to Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program benefits.

At issue is how our community responds, and playing it safe isn’t an option. As a mentor of mine once said, we must comfort the afflicted (those hurt by Ford), and afflict the comfortable (exposing the few who benefit most from Ford).

You can expect that strategy from me and the talented folks in our MPP office. We will be there when you need help, and we will keep organizing in our community for justice.

As promised, we’ve been knocking on doors, and gathered hundreds of signatures on petitions to save the 2015 Physical and Health Education Curriculum. We’ve supported teachers who want youth to learn about healthy relationships, cyber-bullying, insights from Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the rights of queer and trans people.

Some might say this is pointless, but they would be wise to remember the words of Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Premier Ford believes his government is “for the people”, and it’s up to us to demonstrate otherwise. This is what community organizing can accomplish.

We  see it in teachers who will teach the 2015 Health and Physical Education Curriculum this fall to keep our kids safe. We see it in OW and ODSP recipients who are fighting back, and telling heart-rending stories about poverty.

We see it in the Deadman family, who just saved two of Ottawa’s oldest trees. We see it in the residents of Herongate who are fighting a mass eviction by a developer intent on making profits at the expense of people.

It’s time to organize. With that in mind, come to our MPP town hall on Ontario’s Cannabis Policy, 1pm-3pm on September 22, at the Hintonburg Community Centre.

We’ll be hosting town halls like this every month, and canvassing every weekend. We need to hear from you.

My very best,
Joel Harden, MPP (Ottawa Centre)

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