NDP Leader Says Premier Put Politics and Big Box CEOs Ahead of Public Health

HAMILTON — “People will need much greater financial supports to make it through this lockdown, while more public health supports will be needed to make it effective”, says NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. The New Democrat says that “The Premier has been putting politics and big-box CEOs ahead of public health”.

“It should never have come to this. We are facing a longer, deeper, wider lockdown because Doug Ford caved to politics in his caucus. He caved to the demands of the CEOs of big-box giants. And he sat on billions in COVID-19 funding because he didn’t want to spend it,” said Horwath. “Once again, Ford is scrambling to catch up, and it’s Ontarians that now have to pay the price for that.”

Despite the Ontario Hospital Association and other experts pleading for a lockdown days ago, Ford is delaying the lockdown until Boxing Day — which Horwath said looks like caving to political pressures and big-box-store demands again.

Horwath said now that it has come to this, people will need urgent, substantial direct support to make it through the lockdown, and to make sure the lockdown is effective. That echoes statements made Monday morning by Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, Dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto and Co-Chair of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table.

“A lot of folks are already on the brink. This lockdown means more people are facing the collapse of their business, the loss of their job, or financial hardship. They won’t make it through the lockdown if Doug Ford doesn’t provide much more direct, meaningful financial compensation for small businesses, income support for workers, and eviction bans,” said Horwath.

“And the lockdown itself is not going to stop the spread without supporting measures, including more staff and infection control specialists in long-term care homes, paid sick days for essential workers, isolation centres so people don’t unintentionally allow the virus to spread to their family members and roommates, and much more testing and contact tracing.”

The NDP leader says that Doug Ford doesn’t seem to have put the right planning into this announcement today. Horwath says that it is time for the Premier to start investing the $12 billion that is sitting in the provincial bank account.

Horwath and the NDP called for a circuit-breaker style lockdown on Nov. 12. They also called for a post-holiday plan to prevent spread. When people return to work and school, Horwath proposes in-workplace testing, in-school testing, paid sick days, family care days for isolation and more.