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Dear Neighbour,

The summer session at Queen’s Park has come to an abrupt end after Premier Ford rammed through two pieces of legislation on Wednesday and cancelled Thursday sitting. The House will resume on September 14.

Bill 197, the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, passed after no consideration at committee, and only 50 minutes of debate at Third Reading. It is a giant piece of omnibus legislation with far-reaching changes, including gutting environmental oversight rules,  overriding Collective Agreements, and opening up the judicial appointment process to partisan interests. It has no funding for education or childcare, no support for small businesses or tenants and doesn’t include a single change to safeguard long term care. Suffice to say, the bill’s contents had nothing to do with recovery from COVID-19. According to the Auditor General, Bill 197 broke the law because the Ford government did not consult with the public on its environmental changes, violating the Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights.

Bill 195, the Reopening Ontario Act, also passed on Wednesday with no time at committee and little time at Third Reading debate. With this legislation, Premier Ford hands himself unprecedented undemocratic powers to run a provincial emergency from behind closed doors for the next two years. It’s a bill that even Conservatives don’t support with one of his own MPPs, Belinda Karahalios, voting against it and calling it “an unnecessary overreach on our parliamentary democracy.”

The legislative session ended with no answers on getting students safely back in the classroom, supporting the City of Toronto through this economic crisis, addressing the ongoing crisis in long-term care, and funding the child care sector. It is disappointing to see the government do nothing as so many Ontarians continue to struggle through the pandemic.


Finally, as the House has risen, I will pause sending regular newsletters until it resumes. I hope you are are able to find some time to spend with loved ones and recharge yourself before what I expect will be a busy fall for us.

You can find other provincial updates below.

As always, wash your hands, practise physical distancing, wear a mask when needed, be kind. 

Warmly, 

Bhutila Karpoche,
MPP for Parkdale—High Park

More Regions Move to Stage 3

Today, the following regions will enter Stage 3: Durham Region, Haldimand-Norfolk, Halton Region, Hamilton, Lambton, Niagara Region, and York Region. Toronto will remain in Stage 2 for now.

Toronto Requests Stage 3 Modifications

Mayor John Tory sent a letter to the Premier requesting modifications to the Stage 3 guidelines for the City of Toronto in regards to indoor dining. These included provisions that dictate movement within indoor restaurant spaces, the maintenance of client logs at restaurants, physical distancing in restaurants, early closure times, staff screening, and the use of masks and face coverings. 

Premier Ford said the letter raised “valid points” but said that the local medical officer of health should use her powers to issue a section 22 order to introduce additional public health measures instead.

Independent Preparedness Review

Premier Ford has dismissed the need for an independent preparedness review ahead of a potential second wave. He said “As long as we continue communicating with the people and the stakeholders and the medical professionals, I think everyone's moving forward in the right direction.” Medical experts have repeatedly flagged issues with the decision-making processes, and an independent preparedness review would enable the province to not lose valuable time as we did at the beginning of the first wave.
Back to School Plans
Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce said that the government is “finalizing the health protocols” for the resumption of school in September and that news should be coming as soon as next week. This timeline is somewhat confusing as school boards were told they have until August 4 to submit their back-to-school plans. It seems like the government is once again charging forward on education without seeking the appropriate feedback from those in the education system. I will keep you updated on how this situation evolves.

You can watch the statement I made in the House on a safe and properly-funded return to school here.
Other provincial updates
In the Community
I was pleased to join Mask Ontario last week to donate 1000 masks to Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre. PARC’s frontline staff have continued to serve our community through the pandemic with adaptations to the programs.
Sangyal Kyap, a young Tibetan activist, recently completed a 770km peace walk from Toronto to Ottawa, and back to Toronto. He is raising awareness of the Tibetan Freedom Movement and calling on the Canadian government to renew their focus on the Tibetan cause. I joined the Tibetan community in welcoming Sangyal back home.

I joined tenants in calling for the repeal of Bill 184, Ford’s Mass Eviction Bill. They sent a clear message to the Minister of Housing that there should be no COVID evictions, and that it puts tenants in a dangerous situation while we continue to face a global pandemic.

Reminder: For the most up-to-date information please visit Toronto Public Health, Ontario Ministry of Health, and the Public Health Agency of Canada. Contact information is available on my website here.
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Community Office
While our office is closed to the public as part of our efforts to manage the COVID-19 virus, we will continue to provide services for constituents via phone and email. Thank you for your patience and flexibility during this time. 

Phone: 416-763-5630
Email: BKarpoche-CO@ndp.on.ca 
BhutilaKarpoche.ca
Copyright © 2020 MPP for Parkdale—High Park, All rights reserved.


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