Election Day is tomorrow, here’s where the parties stand
Election Day is tomorrow across Ontario, and we’ve got (some) answers to your questions from the provincial parties about big issues facing the province.
I put some new tires and tubes on my bike last week, and was finally free to take it out for a short jaunt on Monday. Where there’s bike infrastructure in this town, it’s a really great way to get around, even when it’s warm. I was pretty impressed! Except, of course, when the bike lane disappears and you’ve got to just hope the vehicles doing over the speed limit are not going to run you down.
But, progress is progress, and I was able to make most of my journey in peace. As an added bonus, my legs did not decide to fall off, despite a few years out of the saddle.
Can you believe Election Day is tomorrow? What a strange campaign. Despite taking place at a consequential time with a lot at stake, it’s almost like it never happened. It seems like for some leaders, that may have been the plan all along.
Today we’ve got the final responses from the provincial parties on where they stand on big issues facing the province, so let’s get right to that.
— Robert Hiltz, managing editor
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Wednesday: 17 🌡️ 12 | ⛈
Thursday: 23 🌡️ 14 | ☁️
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Provincial parties answer your questions about Ottawa issues
After feedback from Lookout readers about the issues you care about, we put a series of questions to the parties. This second part of their responses, this time on broader issues in the provnicial election. We asked them five questions about issues affecting the whole province. Questions were about the cost of living, climate change, health care, housing, and taxes.
For space reasons, these are only answers to two of those questions: on the cost of living and climate change. You can see all of their answers here.
Unfortunately, as with the local questions, only two parties responded. The Progressive Conservatives never acknowledged the questions, and the Green Party never followed through after telling us they were working on answers. So, you’ll only see responses from the NDP and Liberal Party below.
On health care: The health care system has been stretched to the limit by the pandemic, and repeatedly overwhelmed. How does your party intend to rebuild the system? And how will you clear the backlog of surgeries?
NDP: For years it’s been getting harder for Ontarians to get the health care they need. Things have got to change now. Our healthcare system is on its knees. People wait hours at the ER, weeks for a doctor’s appointment and months or even years for a surgery they need.
The NDP will finally fix our healthcare system so Ontario can once again have a world-class health system. We are going to focus on investing, not cutting, starting with repealing Bill 124 which caps health care workers’ wages.
We will invest to eliminate the surgical backlog. We’ll identify and publicize the number of delayed procedures and publish regular progress reports. We’ll expand operating room hours over the evenings and weekends to increase hospital capacity, engage in a health care worker hiring blitz, and create a centralized referral system. We’ll make sure this gets done without privatizing our health care system.
Liberal: Over 250,000 Ontarians are waiting for much-needed surgeries while millions of diagnostic procedures are delayed because of the pandemic. An Ontario Liberal government would clear the backlog with a $1-billion investment in additional capacity – empowering hospitals to operate significantly above prepandemic volumes and expand operating room, MRI and CT operations – including into evenings and weekends. We’ll also establish and publish maximum wait times for all surgeries and return to prepandemic wait times by the end of 2022.
To address the critical shortage of health care workers in Ontario, we will also train and hire 100,000 new health care professionals to meet demand over the next six years – prioritizing full-time roles across the health system, including a target of 70 percent jobs in long-term care homes being full-time.
On climate change: Ottawa has been hit by a devastating storm, one with infrastructure damage beyond the 2018 tornado. We have also already seen all-time heat records being broken in a May heatwave. How will your party protect the future of Ontarians by reducing the province’s carbon output?
NDP: In April 2021, we released the Green New Democratic Deal–we believe it is the boldest, most effective, and achievable climate plan Ontario’s ever had.
We will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and reach net-zero by no later than 2050, which are in line with the targets laid out in the Paris Climate Accords. We will also introduce a world-leading building retrofit program that will bring existing public sector buildings to net zero by 2030, and all privately-owned buildings to net zero by 2050 and a Home Retrofit Program for eligible investments like heat pumps, high-efficiency electric water heaters, deep energy retrofits.
We will protect greenspaces and forests and will enforce watershed management regulations. We will also partner with communities all across the province to foster climate change resilience and provide economic opportunities for all Ontarians. We’ll implement a Climate Stress Test on all existing and planned provincial infrastructure to make sure that our communities are prepared, and make repairs and upgrades where needed. We will also put in place a Provincial Action Plan on Flooding, invest in flood defences, make sure that Ontarians can access affordable flood insurance and require flood risk disclosure in real estate listings.
Liberal: The Ford Conservatives have taken Ontario backwards in the fight against climate change. Our Ontario Liberal plan gets Ontario back on track by cleaning our air, changing how we move and creating jobs through climate action. To start, we’ll cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. We’ll require high-emitting industries, which create up to 30% of Ontario’s pollution, to cut their emissions by strengthening the Emissions Performance Standards in line with our 2030 target. We’ll reinvest and match all proceeds into grants, tax credits and loan guarantees through a Green Jobs Fund to support made-in-Ontario clean tech and green jobs.
We will also expand the Greenbelt with 30 percent of our lands designated as protected areas up from 10 percent. We will create five new provincial parks, plant 800 million trees and provide up to $9,500 in rebates on electric vehicles and charging equipment.
Read their responses to both provincial and local Ottawa issues here.
Hear from your local candidate: The Ottawa Citizen asked candidates in every riding in the city to write a short piece on why they should be elected this time around. You can see the replies from the candidates in your riding on the Citizen website.
Vote! You can find information on where and how to vote tomorrow by entering your postal code at the Elections Ontario website here.
Ottawa by the numbers
1.7%: The availability rate of industrial space in the city, down from 3.1 percent a year ago. Commercial real estate is set for a red-hot year. [OBJ]
52%: Across the country, transit ridership is only slightly above half of what it was pre-pandemic despite high gas prices. In Ottawa, it’s at 58 percent. [CBC]
Thousands still without power more than a week after the storm
Allison/Ottawa Lookout Reader
The outage map is back: Now that Hydro Ottawa has things mostly under control,, its map of outages is back up and working on their website. They’ve reconnected about 98 percent of those who lost power, CTV reports. As of yesterday, 3,000 customers were still without power.
Still without power? Keep up to date on where Hydro Ottawa crews are working on their status website. You can find information on community support centres and other help from the city here.
Still fragile: Soon after being reconnected, a few thousand customers lost power for several more hours on Monday, according to CTV. In the parts of the city still without power, the main issue is the trees that have been knocked down, or have fallen onto wires. Forestry crews have to be brought in alongside hydro workers.
(Thanks to reader Alison for providing the photo for this story!)
Police called on elderly woman doing tai chi in the park
You can’t do that here: Someone called police on an elderly woman doing tai chi in Centretown’s Dundonald Park. The woman was using a collapsible ornamental (which is to say, not real) sword as part of her routine. A viral Reddit post from a witness said, “The officers were unreasonably aggressive—repeatedly threatening to arrest her if she didn't comply with their instructions.” The sword was eventually returned to the woman and she left the park.
One witness told CTV, “The police woman, she put her arm out and kept holding her at arm’s length, just saying, ‘Sit down, I’m at my limit, you’re going to be arrested.’
Language barrier: The woman did not speak English, and the Reddit user said they needed to tell the several officers they should call a translator who speaks either Cantonese or Mandarin.
Police respond: A memo from interim police chief Steve Bell confirmed the incident. “The officer attempted to speak with the woman but there was a language barrier and the discussion between the officer and the woman became animated,” according to a memo posted by Coun. Catherine McKenney to Twitter.
“I have asked for the [police response] to be reviewed from the initial 911 call to conclusion. It’s important that our community sees this information and considers the impacts of misunderstandings and barriers like language. It is something we can all learn from,” Bell wrote.
Stories you might've missed
Council to save homes on LRT route: The city transportation committee approved a change to the LRT route to Barrhaven which will save a group of homes on Woodroffe Avenue. The homes were once affordable homes for low-income residents, but a new owner has since bought them up and begun evicting tenants to renovate them and substantially raise rents. City staff said there is nothing the city can do to keep the homes affordable. [Ottawa Citizen]
Convoy lawyer facing complaint: The lawyer who represented several convoy leaders is facing a code of conduct complaint with the Law Society of Alberta. The complaint centres on lawyer Keith Wilson’s tweet imploring police not to arrest protesters. [CBC]
Principal leaves after dress code blitz: The principal at the Orleans high school where staff conducted dress code inspections has left the school, for a job higher up in the school board. Marie-Claude Veilleux will become the director of learning support services, responsible for improving student performance at Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est. [Ottawa Citizen]
Algonquin ends mask mandate: As of today, masks are no longer mandatory at Algonquin College. It will still be required for convocation ceremonies in June, and in programs like massage therapy that have a regulatory body that requires it. The University of Ottawa’s mandate ended yesterday. [CTV]
This year’s Canada Day line-up has been announced, and it includes performances from Chantal Kreviazuk, Ariane Moffatt, and Neon Dreams.
Is the clutter in your home making you feel stressed and overwhelmed? Declutter4Good can help. Reach out to them today to book a free consultation.*
Up for a last-minute job? Elections Ontario needs stand-by staff (who are almost certain to work) for Election Day.
Friday and Saturday the Ottawa Pops Orchestra is playing a video game symphony with plenty of favourites. [Apt613]
Take a tour down south Bank Street with our food editor Ralf for some great Middle Eastern food.
Six Ottawa restaurants made Canada’s Top 100 list this year, the winners include North and Navy at No. 40 and Riviera at No. 42 [CTV]
Go to the room where it happens, and visit local artist studios for the West-End Studio Tour this weekend.
Today's top photo
Thanks to Julia Mountford for sharing this sunset photo from the weekend. What a shot!
Have any great photos of Ottawa? Share it with us and it'll be featured in our newsletter and social media.
Daily COVID stats
All infection and vaccination data via Ottawa Public Health. You can find the status of the wastewater tracking here. And you can find vaccination stats here.
Active Cases: 373 (+20)
Deaths: 810 (+3)
Ottawans In Hospital: 11
Ottawans In ICU: 2
Acute Beds Occupied: 98%
ICU Beds Occupied: 72%
ICU Ventilator Beds Occupied: 33%
Our Lookout team is keen to meet with you, our readers. We’re considering hosting fun events, like food tours, but we want your input. Let us know by taking our short survey.
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