Provincial Update: A lot can happen when we demand more from politics 

Submitted by Joel Harden, MPP for Ottawa Centre

As we approach another election in Ontario, many will feel that politics can be cynical. But I wanted to take a second to reflect on the past four years as your MPP and highlight that much can be accomplished when we organize and demand more from politics. 

The last four years have been tough on our city and province, but I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished because you demanded more from us. 

We’ve won gains for seniors, family caregivers and people with disabilities by telling their stories in the legislature and demanding the Doug Ford government accommodate our neighbours in and out of a pandemic. When Melanie Coughlin, an instructor at Carleton University, came to us for help getting public swimming pools opened during the lockdown so she and others living with disabilities could access them for medically necessary aquatherapy, we worked with the government to get this done. 

We assisted those impacted by the greed of for-profit companies in long-term care and home care by passing Voula’s Law unanimously in the Ontario Legislature, so that private long-term care and retirement home operators can no longer prevent families from visiting their loved ones. 

We’ve supported education staff, health care staff and community groups targeted by Bill 124’s caps on their wages. We supported Cooking for a Cause, a local initiative from the Parkdale Food Centre that brings together 20 food businesses and 23 social service agencies to help neighbours in need. 

Nous nous sommes battus pour des services en français, et pour une nouvelle école publique française dans la circonscription alors que le gouvernement Ford continue de retarder ce projet dont le centre d’Ottawa a désespérément besoin. 

We stood up for workers and small businesses left behind during COVID-19. We’ve helped tenants hurt by evictions, massive rent increases and the impacts of constant construction noise from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. at night. 

We’ve also demanded accountability. When our LRT derailed for the fifth time, we fought for—and won—a provincial inquiry. When Algonquin friends demanded justice, we were there. When an environmental assessment was demanded for the new Civic Hospital, we led the charge. 

We’ve shown up, spoken out and earned victories in challenging times. We know that our city and our province deserve so much better.  

Let’s keep demanding more from politics, and let’s keep organizing for justice. If you need help getting support or services from the provincial government, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Our office will continue to serve you during the election period. If you are already organizing for a more just Ottawa, then know that you have an ally in us. 

Our city and province runs on your passion, your ideas and your support.   

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