Thursday, October 28, 2021

Ontario throne speech: Province entering ‘new phase’ in pandemic, will aim to avoid lockdown

Tackling COVID-19, avoiding lockdowns, and aiming for a recovery based on economic growth were among the priorities set out in the Ontario government’s throne speech on October 4.

Read by Lt-Gov. Elizabeth Dowswell’s speech opened the fall session of the 42nd Parliament of Ontario. It is the first throne speech in three years from the progressive Conservative government of Premier Doug Ford.

The speech touted the government’s stringent COVID-19 measures, including Canada “some of the highest vaccine thresholds for easing restrictions”, while assuring Ontario to remain calm as the province faces “new threats” of the pandemic in the coming winter months. step” enters. .

“As Ontario’s vaccine coverage continues to climb every day, it moves us into a new phase of the pandemic,” the speech said. “In this new phase, while the number of people going indoors may increase during the colder months, the chief medical officer of health has clarified that this is not a reason to panic.”

“If additional public health measures are needed, they will be localized and targeted.”

The speech came into effect as a new rule in Queens Park prohibited anyone, including the MPP, from entering the Ontario Legislative Building unless they had received two full doses of the COVID-19 vaccine or had recently contracted the virus. do not show evidence of testing negative for

The government also reassured Ontarians that the province’s vaccine certification system is a temporary measure.

“Your government simply did not decide to require proof of vaccination,” the speech said.

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“Your government also recognizes that we cannot remain under these extraordinary measures forever. The Vaccine Certificate is a temporary policy that will be withdrawn when it is safe, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

The speech said Ontario’s ultimate goal is to avoid future lockdowns.

Unprecedented levels of spending during the pandemic have left Ontario with serious financial challenges, with the province’s projected budget deficit for the 2021-2022 fiscal year reaching $32.4 billion.

In the speech, the Ford government said it was “steadfast in its commitment to an economic and fiscal reform,” which would be driven by economic growth rather than tax increases or spending cuts.

Monday’s speech came as an opportunity for the Ford government to present its new agenda ahead of the next provincial election. This is the first time the legislature has been convened since June.

In a press release, official opposition NDP leader Andrea Horvath called the Ford government’s throne speech “disappointing” and vowed to support the issues left out in the speech.

“Today’s speech from Throne is disappointing for everyday families and working people in Ontario,” Horvath said. “By declaring nothing new to help patients, students, workers, or the small business, Doug Ford made it clear again: He’s not here for you and he still doesn’t want to spend money on you. “

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Andrew is a reporter based in Toronto.

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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