KENORA – Bob Nault, Member of Parliament (Kenora riding), released the following statement regarding the Ford government’s decision to cut critical funding to local libraries:
“Ontario’s provincial Conservatives under Premier Ford have now chopped 50 percent of the funding for our local libraries, which will significantly impact rural communities. The ridiculous cuts will result in the loss of services, such as the intra-library loan service that Northern libraries use to provide large print books for seniors and those who are visually impaired.
“When Premier Ford says he is fighting ‘For the People’, I would like to know just who he is fighting for: is it our senior citizens who will have one less place to gather, or is it our children who will be left without the valuable resources of our libraries? Who wins when the provincial Conservatives close our libraries?
“Libraries are not just about books. Today’s libraries, especially in the North, also provide a place for those without the Internet to apply for jobs, perform research, and connect with friends and family. In communities without bookstores, it is a place to pick up a new book or revisit an old classic. Most importantly, they encourage reading, which is fundamental for our children to expand their imagination and learn about the world abroad.
“When we think about libraries, the mind immediately thinks of stacks and stacks of books, but our local libraries are so much more; they play a vital role in the everyday lives of Northerners. They serve, not only as a gathering place but also as a community hub for seniors, children, writers and readers alike.
“It is difficult to believe that Premier Ford and Minister Rickford have the best interests of Northerners in mind – give me a break. From larger class sizes to underfunding public healthcare, and refusing to protect the environment, the provincial Conservatives are laying out a very bleak future for the North that future governments will be left to repair, as was the case under former Ontario Premier, Mike Harris.
“The honeymoon is over for Premier Ford and his “For the People” slogan. Now the residents of Ontario, no matter which party they voted for, will take a much better look at Premier Ford’s cuts when it impacts their health, their ageing parents, their children, and their grandchildren.”