Andrea Horwath’s bill will result in $25,000 fine for anti-public-health protestors at schools, hospitals, businesses
A News Release from Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Party
Posted October 5th, 2021 on Niagara At Large
QUEEN’S PARK — Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath will introduce her Safety Zones bill Tuesday, and move a motion for unanimous consent to pass it immediately. Horwath’s bill creates Safety Zones around places like hospitals, schools and small businesses to protect Ontarians from anti-public health harassment.
“No one should have to walk a gauntlet of hate to get to school or a hospital. No small business owner should see their livelihood slip away because of constant harassment on the sidewalk in front of their business. No health care worker should face intimation — especially not when they’re been working tirelessly for the past 18 months to save people from COVID-19,” said Horwath.
Horwath’s bill would make targeted harassment of people and businesses upholding public health rules in Safety Zones a provincial offence, punishable by a fine of up to $25,000. The bill is broad and could cover hospitals, clinics, vaccine clinics, schools, child care centres, long-term care homes, small businesses and anywhere else anti-public-health protestors target vulnerable people instead of decision makers.
“I’m saying to these anti-public-health, anti-vax protestors: come to Queen’s Park. Leave children, patients, entrepreneurs and our health care heroes alone,” said Horwath. “I am urging Mr. Ford to pass my bill today to protect those folks right now, and stop these demonstrations before they escalate any more.”
British Columbia now is considering similar legislation and the Quebec government unanimously adopted a similar bill last month.
A Brief Footnote from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper –
Just as an addendum to the above news release from the Ontario NDP, I am including immediately below a statement circulated this past September 14th by Lynn Guerriero, the President and CEO of Niagara Heath, our region’s amalgamated system of hospitals.
Although there has, at least not yet, been the kind of ugly encounters in front of Niagara hospitals or schools that has unfolded at other sites in the province, Guerriero emphasized in his statement how demoralizing those scenes are to front-line heath care workers here.
He also made reference to the despicable acts of verbal abuse and vandalism targeted at some of Niagara’s political leaders, including St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik and St. Catharines Liberal MP Chris Bittle.
It is a sad comment on where we are that the head of a regional hospital system even has to issue a statement like this.
Nevertheless, here it is –
A Statement from Lynn Guerriero, President and CEO, Niagara Health
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
“The harassment and vandalism our local elected officials are experiencing at their homes are reprehensible.
“There is no basis whatsoever for St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik to find his property attacked overnight by vandals. Being an elected official does not make you a target for this type of disgraceful behaviour, or exclude you from the right to be safe in your own home.
“This senseless, cowardly act, and the similar attack at St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle’s home last weekend, are an affront to our democracy and a threat to our community’s well-being. Those who committed these acts should be held criminally responsible. We should also not tolerate the treatment of federal candidates who are being sworn at and threatened while on the campaign trail. Niagara is better than that.
“I condemn these attacks in the strongest terms and offer my support to all of our elected officials, those aspiring to hold public office, and their teams who devote their time and energy to making our region a better place.
“These protests are demoralizing for our teams and healthcare workers everywhere who have so dutifully and compassionately put patients and their families first since the pandemic began.”
For a related story on attacks against Niagara representatives, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2021/09/14/niagara-regional-chair-condemns-rash-of-vandalism-and-harassment-aimed-at-public-figures-in-our-region/
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