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Ontario Hansard - 15-April2021

COVID-19 RESPONSE


Ms. Andrea Horwath: My next question is also to the Premier. I can tell you for sure that I would have been listening to the scientists. I would have been following the instructions of the folks who were the experts who were giving this Premier advice, but instead he didn’t. He actually ignored the advice of experts and walked us right into this third wave—which is now completely out of control—with his eyes wide open.

There are a number of things that he could have and should have been doing, and I assure him I would have been doing them—I would have been doing them.

Now apparently cabinet is meeting today. So I’m asking the Premier, yet again, as the experts have, as his own Chief Medical Officer of Health has, to start providing paid sick days to essential front-line workers, to all workers in Ontario. Start providing paid time off for vaccinations for all Ontario workers, so that they can have the tools to do the right thing.

I don’t want to hear the malarkey about the federal program; it is not a paid sick day, it’s a benefit that you might or might not get.

1040

Interjections.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Members will please take their seats.

Premier.


Hon. Doug Ford: Again, the Leader of the Opposition is doing a disservice every time she stands up and speaks, every single time. She’s telling the people that there are no paid sick days. Imagine the people at home listening to this who won’t even apply to the federal government’s sick day program that we fought hard for, that we fought for $1.1 billion. There’s $700 million, but guess what? We’re fortunate that 300,000 people in this province are smarter than the Leader of the Opposition, because they did apply and they did get funding for sick pay.

I encourage every single Ontarian not to be double-dipping—it doesn’t matter if it says the government of Canada or the government of Ontario. There’s one taxpayer. There’s $700 million sitting there for the people of Ontario to apply.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: The disservice comes from a Premier who doesn’t want to do his job and acknowledge that people need paid sick days, not a program that you have to qualify for, that you have to jump through hoops for, that you may or may not get access to. Paid sick days occur in the moment. You don’t have to wait for them. You don’t have to worry that your pay is going to be docked and then wait for even a week and a half. You get them right away. That’s why every single expert—not just me, not just the Leader of the Opposition—every single expert has been telling this Premier that those front-line heroes, those essential workers, the people he pretends to care about—the “little guy”—the little guy needs paid sick days.

When will this Premier do his job and protect those essential front-line workers with paid sick days and paid time off for vaccinations?


Hon. Doug Ford: Through you, Mr. Speaker, talk about doing a job. Our team, the front-line health care workers, the docs, the nurses, paramedics—everyone has been working around the clock for well over a year, literally 24/7 every single day trying to support the people of Ontario.

The negative talk that comes out of the Leader of the Opposition again does a disservice to all of the front-line health care heroes, all the people of Ontario. And it’s ironic: It’s coming from a person that has done diddly-squat, nothing, zero, sat in their seat—and sits there and criticizes the hard work of the health care workers and the doctors that give me advice, no matter if it’s Dr. Williams or Dr. Brown and the hundred doctors underneath them, or if it’s Dr. de Villa or Dr. Loh who all are giving advice, all working their back off.

Why doesn’t the Leader of the Opposition do something? Do something positive once in a year and a half, because it’s not even in her mindset to—


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you. This will be the final supplementary.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: The people of Ontario deserve so much better than this. Folks are losing their lives. People are getting sick at unprecedented numbers: 659 people in the ICU today, struggling to breathe. The virus continues to grow. Over 4,700 people in Ontario now have the virus.

We’ve given this Premier all kinds of advice. We’ve asked him, we’ve begged him to listen to the experts, to follow their lead, to do what they’re telling him to do. Instead, he walked us right into this third wave, into this rampant spread of variants of concern. Now, he seems to think that it’s not his responsibility, that it had nothing to do with what he did or didn’t do, the actions that he refused to take.

Take the actions necessary. Take the actions that the experts are telling you to take: Bring in paid sick days, bring in paid vax time and stop the spread of this virus. Will the Premier do that?


Hon. Doug Ford: Mr. Speaker, it is so frustrating sitting here, listening to the Leader of the Opposition disrespect Dr. Williams, disrespect Dr. Brown, Dr. Huyer—I could keep rattling all the doctors, all the CEOs that I talk to, at least a half a dozen every single day, giving advice, and the Leader of the Opposition wants to disrespect them.

We have followed medical advice from day one. We have followed science from day one. That is the reason we’re doing more vaccinations than anyone—

Interjection.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’m going to ask the Leader of the Opposition to withdraw.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Withdraw.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Withdrawn.

Premier.


Hon. Doug Ford: That is the reason we’re leading the country in vaccinations, bar none. No one even comes close to the amount of vaccinations. We’re getting in excess of 100,000 vaccines out a day. And guess what, Mr. Speaker? We have 3,200 pharmacies; we’re only at 1,400 pharmacies. We need more supply. We can ramp up to well in excess of 300,000.

I want to ask the opposition leader a question: What would happen if we would have—


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you.

Interjection.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you. The Premier will take his seat.

Interjections.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Order. The next question.
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