WINDSOR-ESSEX – NDP MPPs Lisa Gretzky, Taras Natyshak and Percy Hatfield have released a statement in response to Windsor-Essex being moved into lockdown by the province:
“The people of Windsor-Essex have made extraordinary efforts to do their part to contain the second wave of COVID-19 in our region, without the support and resources we needed from the Ford government. The team at our local public health unit, and health care workers across the region, have been working day and night for months to keep us safe and to help those who are suffering from this deadly virus.
We’ve done our part as a region, but throughout this pandemic Doug Ford has refused to send the emergency funding that we told him was urgently needed. Since the first wave of this virus we’ve been left behind to fight this battle on our own. He ignored the outbreaks on our farms, and now in the second wave he’s stood by while our children and education workers have become infected in schools and our hospitals have become overwhelmed.
We are now facing the toughest restrictions of any region in the province. Our schools were shut down this week leaving parents scrambling to find child care and forcing many to take time off work without guaranteed sick days. More small businesses will have to shut their doors, and lay off workers during the holidays, at a time when many are already hanging on by a thread. Today, we learned that Windsor Regional Hospital, already over capacity, is now cancelling “non-urgent” surgeries indefinitely. This will put more lives at risk, and leave many people facing a painful and uncertain wait to get the care they need.
This lockdown was avoidable. Doug Ford is sitting on $12-billion of unspent and unallocated COVID-19 funds that could have saved our region from the worst of this pandemic. He didn’t put infection control help into long-term care. He rationed testing and contact tracing instead of investing in more. He didn’t give workers paid sick days. He didn’t shrink class sizes to protect students, education workers and their families. He should have started testing in schools months ago, but didn’t want to spend the money.
Waiting for a vaccine isn’t a plan, and it will do nothing to help the people of Windsor-Essex get through the next 28 days. Ford shut down the legislature early because he doesn’t want to be held accountable and confront the surging COVID-19 cases we are seeing across the province. Instead, he’s crossing his fingers and hoping things will get better.
Doug Ford needs to come out with a real plan this afternoon to get our region through this crisis. A plan that includes immediate emergency funding for our public health unit and our hospitals, support for our struggling families and direct financial relief for our businesses to save our local economy.
It’s too late to avoid a lockdown, but it’s not too late to save lives and finally give our region the support we need and deserve to crush the virus and get back on our feet.”