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Opposition parties go on the healthcare offensive
In this edition: education workers say yes to strike mandate, Stiles is in, an exit in the Speaker's office, Pickering plant extension, ArriveCANned, a new Legault mandate
Happy Monday. This is POLICORNER. Quebecers have voted to give incumbent François Legault a second majority mandate. Have a tip or story idea? Drop us a line — we'll keep you anonymous.
In this 8 minute read: Opposition parties shift focus to healthcare with one party launching a campaign against “privatization.” Stiles launches her bid to lead the NDP. Education workers vote in favour of strike action. The life of the Pickering power plant extended and a longtime staffer bids adieu to the Speaker’s Office.
The union representing school support staff in Ontario is one step closer to a potential strike — but first, Opposition parties have shifted focus to healthcare with one party launching a campaign on “the fight of a generation.”
The NDP has launched a campaign against the Ford government's “privatization of health care.” We obtained multiple fundraising emails to supporters on this initiative — in what the party is calling a “generational fight” — from Provincial Director Lucy Watson and other party officials.
The campaign is dubbed “Health Care: Not For Sale” and launched following the last provincial council meeting.
It is underway with a petition being circulated and multiple town halls in the works, according to a spokesperson. The party has been raising cash for the campaign ahead of an end-of-September deadline.
Party captain Peter Tabuns and NDP MPP France Gélinas wrote a letter to Premier Doug Ford last week requesting that he “immediately end the pursuit of privatizing Ontario’s precious health care system and instead bolster it to meet the needs of every Ontarian.”
The NDP is the second party to launch such an initiative.
The Grits were first to launch an anti-privatization campaign — “Patients Not Profits.” The Liberal campaign includes a petition calling on Ford to “end his attack on our publicly funded healthcare” and shareable graphics.
“Simply put, we need to relieve the strain on our system and allocate more public funding for mental health, medications, primary care and homecare so that you can get the care you need when and where you need it,” Liberal MPP Adil Shamji said.
We reached out to Health Minister Sylvia Jones' office for comment on both initiatives but did not hear back.
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"To prove to Ontario a simple truth:” Stiles launches bid for NDP leadership
The race to lead the New Democrats is a go with the first contender launching her campaign to replace former captain Andrea Horwath.
Marit Stiles — the NDP MPP who has been widely viewed within party circles as a leadership frontrunner — launched her bid to lead the party at a Bar Neon in her Davenport riding alongside supporters and caucus mates.
The former federal party president is the first to enter the race for the leadership of the party ahead of the December signup deadline.
“I'm launching my campaign to lead the Ontario NDP so we can kick this Conservative government out and replace it with a government that will work with you,” Stiles told a raucous crowd of NDPers at her launch event.
Stiles’ candidacy is being propped up by several current and former NDP MPPs, including Chandra Pasma (Ottawa West—Nepean), Kristin Wong-Tam (Toronto Centre) and Bhutila Karpoche (Parkdale—High Park). Former MPPs Suze Morrison and Cheri DiNovo also declared their support for Stiles.
More names are expected to enter the arena. NDP MPPs Catherine Fife and Wayne Gates have not ruled out a possible bid for the party's top job.
Those wishing to enter the race must submit signatures from party members who support their candidacy and pay a $55,000 entry fee. The party will host two official leadership debates and meet-and-greets. NDPers will vote using a ranked voting system with a leader set to be named in March.
The union representing school support staff in Ontario says almost 96% of members voted in favour of strike action. CUPE's Ontario School Board Council of Unions says 45,433 out of 55,000 members cast a ballot in a strike vote that got underway late September and ended Sunday. “We don't want to strike,” union president Laura Walton told reporters. “If this government does not budge, we are willing to strike.” Here is the reaction:
Education Minister Stephen Lecce: “While these results are not surprising given that education unions have voted to hold strikes against families for nearly five decades, we are still extremely disappointed with the results.”100% of parents want their children in class. We will stand up to ensure all kids learn in-class without disruption, right to June. Because it's about the kids, right??BREAKING: CUPE, which represents education support workers, says 96.5% of its members voted in favour of a strike. #onpoli #ontedColin D'Mello | Global News @ColinDMello
Liberal MPP Mitzie Hunter: “It is up to Doug Ford and Stephen Lecce to reverse course and get to the negotiating table to hammer out a fair deal for education support workers. There is still time to avoid disruption in schools and ensure students have the supports they need.”
NDP MPP Chandra Pasma: “This Conservative government has dragged our children to the brink of more school disruption. Premier Doug Ford and Minister Stephen Lecce have been using our children’s school year as a bargaining chip, to bully the lowest-paid education workers.”
Fred Hahn of CUPE Ontario: “A super majority of front line education workers vote to support reasonable, affordable and necessary way to strengthen public education. Be clear — workers don't want to strike — they want investments in work they do — they are building power.”
The Ford government is extending operation of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station until 2026. Energy Minister Todd Smith says Ontario Power Generation (OPG) will conduct an assessment on the possibility of refurbishing the plant for use beyond the four years. The plan to extend the life of the plant will still have to be approved by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. More from the Canadian Press.
ArriveCAN canned. Ottawa has ended the mandatory use of the app — alongside all pandemic measures at the border. Travellers coming into the country will no longer need to show proof of vaccination or mask while on a plane or train. Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said the decision “was driven by the evidence that we have seen over the last few weeks and months.”
ON THE MOVE
Heather Bradley — the longtime Director of Communications to the Speaker of the House of Commons — will bid adieu to Parliament Hill on Friday. “Time now for a new adventure,” she tweeted after news of her exit broke.
Speaker Anthony Rota called Bradley's knowledge of the Hill “unparalleled.” “I am grateful for Heather’s wise counsel over the tumultuous past three years,” he added.
Amélie Crosson will join the Speaker's Office after a stint as a speechwriter with Global Affairs Canada.
Patrick Sackville is the new Principal Secretary to Premier Doug Ford. Sackville will replace Amin Massoudi — the Tories' former campaign chair — as he moves to the private sector.
Longtime Ford spokesperson Ivana Yelich will now serve as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Media, Stakeholder Relations and Forward Planning.
NDP MPP Chandra Pasma has been named as the party’s new education critic — replacing leadership contestant Marit Stiles.
Shirven Rezvany has joined NDP MPP Marit Stiles' leadership campaign as Press Secretary. Rezvany most recently served as a Media Relations Officer for the party — handling communications for over a dozen MPPs.
Evan Solomon — the host of CTV News’ Power Play and Question Period — is joining GZERO Media in New York City as publisher.
The longtime political anchor will continue to report regularly for CTV News as a Special Correspondent and the network will name his successor on both political programs in the coming weeks.
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WHAT WE’RE READING
CTV NEWS: “Justin Trudeau will take the stand at inquiry into Freedom Convoy response” by Glen McGregor
TORONTO STAR: “How intense pressure from for-profit daycares has transformed Ontario’s rollout of $10-a-day child care — and sparked a political standoff” by Rachel Mendleson and Brendan Kennedy
CBC NEWS: “Green party downsizes its leadership race after resignations” by David Thurton
“Former MPs find new paths and purpose after politics” by Yasmine Hassan
THE CANADIAN PRESS: “Ottawa mayor wouldn't speak to Parliament security service during convoy: official” by Marie-Danielle Smith
“Alberta UCP leadership candidate Danielle Smith says if elected, she won’t call early election” by Dean Bennett and Colette Derworiz
GLOBAL NEWS: “Tens of thousands in P.E.I. still without power 10 days after Fiona: ‘Doesn’t seem right’” by Teresa Wright
Last edition’s answer: The Royal Canadian Mint is responsible for the production of Canadian coins. The corporation was first established in 1908.
THIS WEEK’S QUESTION: What percentage of CUPE education workers voted in favour of job action during the last round of negotiations with the province? Know the answer? Drop us a line.