This past week, the NDP has been holding the Liberal government’s feet to the fire on a number of issues. After promising better costs for seniors, it become clear that the Liberal government’s budget would nearly double the deductible on prescriptions for seniors and cause higher co-payments each time they fill a prescription. My colleagues and I held numerous town halls and meetings across the province and spoke to seniors about the government’s plans to increase their drug costs. As you can imagine, this outraged many who we spoke with, many of whom are living on fixed incomes. After receiving serious backlash the government has decided to backtrack on those changes.
The government’s announcement to reverse these changes is a victory for seniors across Ontario. Seniors are relieved to hear that the cost of their drugs won’t be increasing this summer, as the Premier’s budget proposed. I want to thank the thousands of seniors who have spoken out on this issue and the more than eighty organizations who have written to the Premier to oppose her plan to increase drug costs. It’s unfortunate that it takes an outcry from worried seniors and their families for the Premier to admit that she’s made a mistake.
If the Liberals try to increase seniors’ drug costs in the future, they should know that New Democrats will always stand with Ontario’s seniors in our support for affordable prescription drugs and for the principle of universal access, which is at the heart of our health care system.
New Democrats have also been fighting the Liberal government to stop punishing children with autism and their families. Families and children who have been languishing on wait lists for years because of this government’s inaction, are now being told they will never have access to the services they have been waiting so long for.
In some cases, they are being denied just weeks after being told they had finally been approved for services. That’s disgraceful. Families came to Queen’s Park to talk about life suffering on wait lists and this government responds by kicking their children off the list.
This Liberal government is failing families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Why should children suffer while the government sits back and does nothing? The premier and her ministers have decided to take away critical therapy for children ages 5 and over. It’s appalling.
It is heartbreaking to have parents ask the Liberals why the government is trying to take way children’s voices and future’s. It is just not fair. Why should children diagnosed with autism be punished for something that is not in their control?
It is the government’s responsibility to look out for our society’s most vulnerable. It’s so clear to see that their decisions will have such a hugely negative impact on those that need their help the most.
New Democrats are beyond words at how this government can just abandon seniors and young children with autism and their families. We cannot allow this to happen and will not stop demanding that this government take responsibility and protect our most vulnerable.
In other news, we are pleased to announce some upcoming dates for Seniors Testing in Gore Bay. A number of seniors have already registered for the first session on April 14th at 8:45 am at 15 Water Street. There are a few other sessions scheduled on August 23rd, and December 8th 2016.
As always, please feel free to contact my office about this issue, or any other provincial matters. You can reach my constituency office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 705-461-9710/1-800-831-1899.
Michael Mantha MPP/député