Public Feedback needed re. MNRF changes to Baitfish Management

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If you like to fish in the Long Lake /Charlton area, please take the time to review how the MNRF’s proposed changes to baitfish management will impact fishing with live bait in Waterway Provincial Parks.

MNRF is proposing that the possession of bait in wilderness, nature reserve, natural environment, waterway and cultural heritage class provincial parks be prohibited, in order to reduce the risk of invasive species and disease.

As such, the proposed changes will see the usage of live bait minnows and leeches banned in all Waterway Provincial Parks, such as Long Lake.

If you’d like to learn more about this issue, and provide your comments and feedback to the MNRF, please follow the link below:

EBR: 012-9791
Strategic Policy for Bait Management in Ontario

(https://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/searchComment.do?actionType=add&noticeId=MTMxNzQ3&statusId=MTk5ODc5&noticeHeaderIdString=MTMxNzc2)

ALL COMMENTS MUST BE RECEIVED BEFORE JUNE 27, 2017

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters provide a brief overview here:

https://www.ofah.org/issues/baitfish-review/

Read the proposed policy below (click on picture):

Wynne hurts northern businesses facing skyrocketing hydro bills: NDP

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Queen’s Park – During question period on Monday, NDP MPP John Vanthof told Premier Kathleen Wynne to stop hurting small businesses in northern Ontario that are buckling under soaring hydro bills.

Thanks to leaked documents from the Liberal cabinet, people in Ontario now know the Wynne hydro plan will actually cause hydro bills to soar.

 “Camping is a big part of the culture in the North, and one of the beautiful places to take your trailer is the River Valley Park,” said Vanthof, MPP for Timiskaming-Cochrane.  “Tony DeBoer and his family have operated the park for many years, but they are being squeezed by the costs of hydro.

“Their hydro bill went up by $2,400 in 2016, for the same amount of power.

“Why has your government ignored the plight of struggling small business owners like Tony?”

The May 24 weekend, sometimes referred to as the May Run weekend, is one of the most anticipated rites of passages in Northern Ontario. River Valley Park is a place where northern families have come for years to relax and enjoy nature in a quiet country way.

“They are also struggling to pay their own bills, and camping at the park is getting harder and harder for them,” Vanthof said.

“So how much is their hydro, and Tony’s power bills, going to go up as a result of your government’s hydro borrowing scheme?”

NDP calls for legislative session to be extended

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QUEEN’S PARK – Kathleen Wynne is about to enact a plan that will cause hydro bills to soar for decades, and the public isn’t even being given time to weigh in. That’s why the NDP is calling for the legislative session to be extended by at least one week.

Today, Wynne’s Liberals will force through a motion that will limit debate, and cut the window for public hearings down to a meagre six-hour window.

“The Liberals want to allow the public a mere six hours of feedback on a deal that they expect us all to spend 30 years paying back,” said Horwath. “Obviously, Kathleen Wynne still isn’t getting it. People can’t take any more of her hydro bill hikes. By extending the sitting, we can give people an opportunity to contact the Liberals and have their say. Families and businesses deserve a chance to tell Kathleen Wynne about the affordability crisis they’re already facing before she hikes their hydro bills again.”

Horwath will call for the additional week through a unanimous consent motion in the house Wednesday morning.

“We can’t let Kathleen Wynne do any more damage to people’s cost of living,” said Horwath. “The NDP team and I are willing to stay for as long as it takes to let everyone have their say, and properly debate the Liberal hydro borrowing scheme. We’ll do whatever it takes to convince Kathleen Wynne that we need to get this one right – because Ontarians just can’t take any more hikes on their hydro bills.”

NDP: Liberal ‘Hydro Plan’ will cause bills to soar

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QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario NDP Energy Critic Peter Tabuns issued the following statement in response documents leaked by a whistleblower that suggest hydro rates will soar as a result of the Liberal government’s hydro scheme.

“By ignoring Ontarians and selling off the majority stake of Hydro One earlier this week, and plowing ahead with a bizarre borrowing scheme, Kathleen Wynne is causing already-high hydro rates to soar.

Once again, Wynne is putting votes she wants ahead of people’s needs. Confidential cabinet documents that leaked Thursday prove that the so-called Fair Hydro Plan will ultimately cause hydro bills to soar by an average of $72 per month, to an average of $195 per month for households – because we’ll all be paying a Wynne Liberal ‘adjustment.’

With this revelation, Wynne has proven just how out of touch she is with Ontarians who are struggling to pay their hydro bills. Her decision to continue privatizing Hydro One – now selling off Ontario’s majority stake, will drive up hydro bills and further damage an electricity system broken by years of Liberal and Conservative private power deals. 

Wynne’s hydro plan, and the legislation announced today, will not fix the problems in our electricity system – it will make them worse. 

Electricity isn’t a luxury. It shouldn’t be priced like one. New Democrats brought forward a plan that will bring bills down for Ontarians by as much as 30 per cent, end private power deals, and put Hydro One back into public hands.”

NDP: Liberal ‘Hydro Plan’ will cause bills to soar

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QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario NDP Energy Critic Peter Tabuns issued the following statement in response documents leaked by a whistleblower that suggest hydro rates will soar as a result of the Liberal government’s hydro scheme.

“By ignoring Ontarians and selling off the majority stake of Hydro One earlier this week, and plowing ahead with a bizarre borrowing scheme, Kathleen Wynne is causing already-high hydro rates to soar.

Once again, Wynne is putting votes she wants ahead of people’s needs. Confidential cabinet documents that leaked Thursday prove that the so-called Fair Hydro Plan will ultimately cause hydro bills to soar by an average of $72 per month, to an average of $195 per month for households – because we’ll all be paying a Wynne Liberal ‘adjustment.’

With this revelation, Wynne has proven just how out of touch she is with Ontarians who are struggling to pay their hydro bills. Her decision to continue privatizing Hydro One – now selling off Ontario’s majority stake, will drive up hydro bills and further damage an electricity system broken by years of Liberal and Conservative private power deals. 

Wynne’s hydro plan, and the legislation announced today, will not fix the problems in our electricity system – it will make them worse. 

Electricity isn’t a luxury. It shouldn’t be priced like one. New Democrats brought forward a plan that will bring bills down for Ontarians by as much as 30 per cent, end private power deals, and put Hydro One back into public hands.”

Horwath addresses FONOM, says investment in the North key to success

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NORTH BAY – Ontario NDP Leader addressed delegates at the Federation Of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) conference Thursday, telling delegates she believes that investment in the north is critical to the success and prosperity of the province.

“Northern Ontario deserves real investment, a real future, and a government that’s actually working with you to make life better for everyone who lives here,” said Horwath. “I know that when we invest in the north, the whole province benefits.

“That’s why Premier Wynne’s budget was so frustrating. It does absolutely nothing to fix the damage that the Liberal government has done to northern communities.”

Horwath and the NDP has made a number of concrete commitments that would strengthen the northern economy, and make life better for northern families and businesses. The NDP’s proposal on hydro would cut all hydro bills by up to 30 per cent, and remove punitive rural and northern delivery charges. Horwath has also declared she’d stop the cuts to northern hospitals, protect local schools and get the trains to northern Ontario running again, reconnecting towns and people isolated by Wynne’s decision to shut down the Northlander and cut the ONTC.

In contrast to Horwath’s commitments, Wynne’s budget includes no recognition of how important transportation services are to northerners, and fails to mention of the Northlander or the ONTC. Wynne’s 2017-18 budget and plan also fails to make any mention whatsoever of the Ring of Fire.

 

That massive chromite deposit, if unlocked, could create thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity for northern communities and First Nations.

“Not one dime in Wynne’s budget is committed to the Ring of Fire,” said Horwath. “Failing to even mention a project with such massive potential – to create jobs, to grow the economy and to deliver prosperity for workers and their families – I think that’s wrong. To overlook the vast potential of the north is wrong.”

Horwath was also critical of Wynne’s continuing cuts to northern hospitals, like the hospital in North Bay that’s seen over 350 nurses and health care workers cut in the past few years. There’s also no plan in the budget to stop school closures. Wynne has 300 more schools on the chopping block – and her policies mean northern schools are disproportionately at risk of closure.

“We can’t afford to let Premier Wynne do any more damage,” said Horwath. “It’s time for the north to have a partner at Queen’s Park – a partner that recognizes that the province has to meet its obligations, and one that recognizes the value of investing in northern Ontario.”

 

Wynne disregards Ontarians by selling off majority of Hydro One

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QUEEN’S PARK – During question period on Tuesday, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath blasted Premier Kathleen Wynne for ignoring the vast majority of Ontarians and businesses who want her to stop hiking already sky-high hydro bills by further privatizing Hydro One.

“Families, business owners, municipalities, NGOs – they have all told the premier, loud and clear to stop this wrong-headed sell-off,” Horwath said.

“People need relief from soaring energy bills, not to hear that the premier is doing more damage to our already broken system.

“Why does the premier insist on moving ahead with this ridiculous sell-off?”
Yesterday the Wynne government announced it is selling off yet another batch of shares in Hydro One that will give away majority control of Ontario’s most valuable public asset, Horwath said.  

“Ontarians didn’t vote for this. The premier has no mandate to sell-off our public hydro utility, and Ontarians have been clear that they don’t want this sell-off to continue,” Horwath said.

“Electricity isn’t a luxury, and it shouldn’t be priced like one. By giving up the province’s majority stake in Hydro One, the premier is guaranteeing that Ontario families will continue to see their bills go up.

“Why does the premier want to drive up hydro bills for families, businesses, and municipalities?”

Horwath said that the premier put her opinion ahead of 80 per cent of Ontarians who oppose the privatization of Hydro One.

“She puts the interests of her party and her powerful Liberal friends and insiders ahead of the people of Ontario. Every. Single. Time.

“How arrogant and out of touch do you have to be to completely ignore 80 per cent of your constituents?

“Why won’t the premier stop looking out for the people at the top, and stop her wrong-headed Hydro One sell-off and finally show Ontarians the respect they deserve?”

Northern Committee Private Members Motion Passes in Ontario Legislature

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Queen’s Park – On Thursday, John Vanthof (MPP, Timiskaming-Cochrane) moved a motion in the Ontario Legislature to create a Northern Committee of the Legislature. In his Private Member’s motion, MPP Vanthof proposed that the membership of this special interest committee would be comprised of MPPs from each Northern riding, including Parry Sound-Muskoka, and Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke. The purpose of this all-party Northern Ontario committee would be to ensure that any proposed government legislation or policies would be scrutinized in regards to its’ potential impacts on Northern Ontario. 

Vanthof went on to explain that Northerners have long felt isolated from the major population centres in Ontario; increasingly so as the population base of Southern Ontario cities expands rapidly, while the population of the North continues to decline. “Folks from rural and Northern Ontario are often reliant on having to go to bigger centres  in order to access health care or enjoyment or entertainment … I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone in northern Ontario that northerners feel very disenfranchised from the more populated areas of the province,” stated Vanthof.

As a result of this disconnection, legislation developed in Toronto often has unintended consequences in the North.  Vanthof raised the example of the much-anticipated return of the spring bear hunt pilot project, remarking that while the project is greatly appreciated, “No one asked northerners how to implement this, and quite frankly, it’s a mess. The vast majority of Ontarians don’t understand rural and Northern Ontario, because they don’t live there. That’s no fault of their own. If we had people from rural Ontario running a huge metropolis like Toronto, I think we’d make a mess of things as well.”

“To try and get over these kinds of unforeseen issues, the goal of this committee would be to take all the northern members and allow them to make recommendations on legislation passed at Queen’s Park so that it would actually work in Northern Ontario,” remarked Vanthof.

Recently, the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) released a discussion document entitled “The Rural Northern Lens”. In this paper, ROMA established a list of twelve (12) questions that could be used to determine the likely effectiveness of a given piece of legislation, in relation to Northern Ontario’s unique socio-economic and geographic nature.  The purpose of using this kind of inquiry-based thinking would ensure that proposed legislation works correctly for rural and Northern Ontario. “I would really like to thank ROMA for allowing us to use their document’s 12 questions as our proposed terms of reference for the Northern Committee”, said Vanthof.

Vanthof also noted that he “…would also like to thank the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities and many individual northern Municipalities for their support. It is our hope that this committee could form a template to help ensure that all Ontarians are better represented.”

“Ideally, the current government will proceed with the Committee’s implementation as quickly as possible,” concluded Vanthof. The initial motion to form the Northern Committee was passed with all party support.

-30-

Weblink to view John’s Statement in the Legislative Assembly:

https://youtu.be/wRkv9rc9-OA

For more information, contact 1-888-701-1105.


 

Statement from NDP Leader Andrea Horwath on Nursing Week 2017

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QUEEN’S PARK – To mark the beginning of Nursing Week 2017, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath issued the following statement calling for a moratorium on nursing cuts and any further layoffs of health care workers:

“Ontario’s nurses are healthcare champions. New Democrats, and all Ontarians, owe a debt of gratitude to nurses for their concern and care, advocacy, and professionalism.

Liberal cuts have pushed health care in Ontario to the breaking point, but Premier Wynne still doesn’t get it. Everyone who has watched a loved one wait months for surgery, or suffer in a hallway without a proper hospital bed, has felt the impact of Premier Wynne’s cuts. More than 1,600 nurses have been laid-off in the past two years, along with hundreds of additional health care workers, hurting patient care and making wait times worse.

Enough is enough. Our hospitals are dangerously overcrowded but the Wynne Liberal budget does nothing to undo the damage. In fact, it will make the hospital crisis even worse. Funding for hospitals falls more than $300 million short of what’s needed just to stop the crisis, never mind fixing the damage.

The need for a moratorium on all nursing cuts and the layoffs of frontline health care workers is long overdue. Premier Wynne’s cuts to caring, dedicated health care workers must stop. Patient care cannot be allowed to deteriorate any further. Fewer nurses and health care workers mean less care for patients, and less care for patients is something that New Democrats will never accept.” 

Why do the Liberals refuse universal Pharmacare to Ontarians older than 24?

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HANSARD – Question Period: PHARMACARE

Mr. John Vanthof: My question is to the Acting Premier. Can the Acting Premier tell the 2.2 million Ontarians with no drug coverage why the Liberals are refusing to introduce a universal pharmacare program and ensure their access to the medications they need?

Hon. Deborah Matthews: I don’t really understand why the third party wants to get into a squabble about whether their plan is better than our plan, or our plan is better than their plan. We agree the time has come for pharmacare in Ontario and in Canada.

One significant difference between their plan and our plan is that ours will start in January. In 2018, everyone under age 25 with an OHIP card will have access to free drugs with no co-pay, with no annual deductible.

We are very proud of the investment that we’re making in pharmacare, and we invite the NDP to join with us and support pharmacare in the province of Ontario and beyond.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. John Vanthof: The difference is what we’re proposing is actually pharmacare, and here’s an example.

Tracey from Newmarket saw the NDP pharmacare announcement on TV and called us to tell us her story and what pharmacare would mean to her. She spent two years without benefits, first taking care of an ill relative and then working part-time without benefits.

She has diabetes and high cholesterol. Her prescriptions cost $300 per month. Paying for these medications put her into credit card debt, and she’s still struggling to pay that off.

Tracey is older than 24. Our universal pharmacare plan would cover Tracey. Why are the Liberals refusing to bring in a universal pharmacare plan, leaving people like Tracey going into debt just to pay for the medication they need?

Hon. Deborah Matthews: To the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

Hon. Eric Hoskins: I know the leader of the third party will be in Peterborough later today. I hope while she’s there—and I know she’s planning to talk about access to medications. I hope that when she’s speaking to the crowd and the media, that she’ll be telling them of—in Peterborough alone, of the—

Hon. Jeff Leal: I’m going to invite her to an event on Friday.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is warned.

Finish, please.

Hon. Eric Hoskins: I hope the leader of the third party will be telling the citizens of the great city of Peterborough that 34,000 children and youth will, as of January 1, be receiving free full pharmacare, or how 11,500 households in Peterborough with children—those parents will no longer have to worry about paying for asthma inhalers or antibiotics or insulin.

This begins at the start of next January—

Interjection.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Windsor West is warned.

Final supplementary.

Mr. John Vanthof: New Democrats have a universal pharmacare plan that will give drug coverage to 14 million Ontarians. Under this plan, no diabetic or HIV patient will celebrate their 25th birthday knowing—

Hon. Bob Chiarelli: It’s not universal with so few drugs.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Stop the clock. The Minister of Infrastructure is warned.

Interjection.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I’m maybe about three questions away from naming. If you want that, you’re going to get it.

Finish your question, please.

Mr. John Vanthof: Under this plan, people with asthma or high blood pressure receiving social assistance can enter the workforce, knowing they won’t lose their drug coverage.

Why is this Liberal government leaving millions of Ontarians without drug coverage by refusing to bring in a universal pharmacare plan for people above age 24?

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please. Thank you.

Minister?

Hon. Eric Hoskins: I think the member opposite knows that we have a program involving Ontario disability support as well as Ontario Works and Trillium, programs that provide supports to the kinds of individuals who he is speaking to.

However, under their plan, no one in this province will be covered for cancer medications. Under their plan, no one in the province will be covered for drugs for rare diseases. I have to say that the leader of the third party, who was first elected 4,700 days ago, prior to last week only mentioned in this Legislature the word “pharmacare” three times. Once, she referenced it in the context of an op-ed that I had written about pharmacare. The other time she referenced it with regard to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, erroneously referring to the concern about pharmacare.

Mr. Speaker, she had 4,700 days to talk about pharmacare. I appreciate the fact—late to the game—but their advocacy is important as we try to secure pharmacare nationally.