“This budget can give people hope. … It has the chance to tell people in Niagara that there is a light at the end of this tunnel and that we’re going to invest in your healthcare, in your jobs and in keeping our seniors safe.” – Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates
Niagara Falls, Ontario NDP MPP Wayne Gates
NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario — MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) laid out what he called ‘urgent priorities’ for the Niagara Region that must be included in Ford’s upcoming budget.
“Now, more than ever before, we need a budget that prioritizes healthcare in Niagara, getting people back to work safely and fixing the nightmare that we know our long-term system has become for our seniors,” said Gates.
“Our hospitals were overcrowded before this pandemic began, now we see why that cannot be standard operation. We’re ready for the New Niagara Falls Hospital, so this budget needs to get shovels in the ground. The budget needs to get that hospital built and move to ensure that we’re quickly clearing out the backlog of surgeries, cancer screenings and MRI screenings – that can be done easily if it’s prioritized.”
Gates also discussed the urgent need to get people back to work.
“People have been out of work for almost a year now, we need the supports to get them back to work safely, especially at our casinos. I’ve talked to the workers, they want to work, I’ve talked to the management and they have a safety plan – now we need the Province to prioritize those discussions,” said Gates.
A poster produced by the citizens group Ontario Families for Public Education in response to one of the Ford government’s earlier budget, almost always cutting funding for frontline public services, and giving our money to their well-healed private sector supporters.
Gates said he’s also raised the issue of small businesses directly with the Premier, “I’ve tried to show him where these supports are falling short and where more investment is needed so our small businesses not only don’t go bankrupt, but don’t have to go into debt either.”
“This budget can give people hope, and tell them we will be there for them until this pandemic ends. It has the chance to tell people in Niagara that there is a light at the end of this tunnel and that we’re going to invest in your healthcare, in your jobs and in keeping our seniors safe. If this budget does not get our hospital built, save local businesses, get people back to work and pass the legislation we’ve tabled to protect seniors then it is a missed opportunity,” said Gates.
Gates has also put forward a number of bills he is hoping will become reality. Two of the bills legislate safety protocols for injured workers and would give frontline workers WSIB coverage if they contracted COVID on the job.
Gates has also tabled a tourism tax credit that he believes will supercharge the domestic tourism industry once the pandemic ends, an industry that provides tens of thousands of jobs across Niagara. The Official Opposition has also legislation before the House that would mandate four hours of hands on care for seniors in long-term care and give LTC staff permanent raises.
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