After years of prioritizing well being care, St. Catharines MPP Jennie Stevens stated her work isn’t finished but.
“I can’t assist however replicate on what I used to be doing a 12 months in the past after I needed to roll up my sleeves over Christmas and New Yr’s break organising greater than a dozen pop-up booster clinics,” she stated, recalling working along with her workplace workers and others in 2021, to assist defend folks from the unfold of COVID-19 on the time.
“We’ve come a great distance although, I feel, to get up to now,” she stated, itemizing a few of the accomplishments of the previous 12 months — similar to help for native organizations that struggled through the pandemic, funding to extend staffing at Niagara Well being’s sexual assault home violence unit, the outcomes of an environmental examine on the previous Basic Motors website, or gaining all get together help on a movement relating to the claw again of Ontario Incapacity Help Program funds to injured veterans.
“Once we raised our voices we bought outcomes,” she stated. “There have been so many excellent news tales.”
Nonetheless, the New Democrat stated well being care stays the highest precedence for her constituents in her driving, and “proper throughout Ontario for that matter.”
“It’s nonetheless the largest disaster. Now we have seen it buckle at its knees,” Stevens stated. “The No. 1 factor for me is retaining our public well being care wholesome.”
She stated understaffing and underfunding of well being care providers are resulting in the disaster in emergency departments, impacting different providers similar to paramedics who anticipate to spend 52,000 hours on off-load delays within the 12 months to return, ready to ship sufferers into the care of hospital workers.
“It’s completely legal after we know the (Premier Doug) Ford selected to underspend his personal well being care funds by $1.8-billion,” Stevens stated, citing information printed final summer season by the province’s Monetary Accountability Workplace. “We have to make this authorities spend the cash that must be spent, as a substitute of … spending an terrible lot of cash on legal professionals preventing nurses on insurance policies that make it tougher to retain hospital workers, like Invoice 124.”
Thursday, the provincial authorities launched an attraction of a Superior Courtroom determination that overturned Invoice 124 — laws that restricted public sector wage will increase to 1 per cent per 12 months for 3 years.
“It’s terrible,” she stated. “Everyone knows somebody, and we’ve all heard too many tales about folks ready hours in emergency rooms. I can’t consider something extra scary than dashing a liked one to the hospital not feeling effectively, solely to go to a door and discover it locked or infinite line-ups — hours upon hours. Let’s get this fastened. Let’s make well being care a precedence on this driving.”
Stevens stated she is dedicated to working with all political events “to do no matter it takes in the very best curiosity of not solely my very own driving however of Ontario.”
Whereas well being care could also be a prime precedence, Stevens stated it’s considered one of a number of points that can preserve her busy within the 12 months to return.
She stated she plans to proceed efforts to defending tenants dealing with eviction by “dangerous apple landlords that I see pushing round our seniors.”
Stevens stated further helps are wanted to permit the Landlord and Tenant Board to conduct extra hearings quicker, “so we will defend the rights of tenants.”
She stated the safety of the Greenbelt will probably result in lengthy heated debates at Queen’s Park subsequent 12 months, after the provincial laws in November eliminated almost 3,000 hectares of land from its safety.
“Nobody requested for these adjustments, not after I was knocking on doorways,” she stated, referring to her re-election marketing campaign in June. “I didn’t hear one individual say, ‘Unload our greenbelt so we will carve it as much as construct homes on.”
She stated she has observed an rising variety of indicators on the lawns of St. Catharines properties, saying: “Go away our Greenbelt alone.”
“Individuals are talking.”