In a recent article, NOW Toronto examines how social justice organizations, labour, environmental groups and others are coming together in new ways to fight Premier Doug Ford’s regressive austerity agenda in Ontario.
With new cuts announced every week, including recent leaked documents that reveal Premier Ford’s plan for significant health care privatization, the Ford government’s threats to Ontario’s social programs are constant, as is the need for groups to collaborate.
As NOW reports, “Council of Canadians Ontario organizer Mark Calzavara says their organization is working with labour, anti-poverty advocates ACORN, the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA), unions and others on a Toronto-focused strategy. They came together over Ford’s cut to city council and are now taking action on wider provincial issues, such as the omnibus Bill 66.”
Bill 66 was introduced in December and immediately drew criticism from many social justice and environmental groups, including the Council of Canadians. It is a sweeping omnibus bill that proposed weakening – and even cutting – dozens of regulations that protect Ontario’s environment and drinking water.
The Ford government backed down on one of the most dangerous sections of the proposed bill which would have given municipalities the option of ignoring the most important laws in Ontario that protect water, farmland and critical habitat from short-sighted development.
Bill 66 also proposes weakening the Employment Standards Act, long-term care and more. According to NOW, “Calzavara says that members across the Council’s 14 provincial volunteer chapters have made personal phone calls to PC supporters in Ontario, urging them to stop donating to the party.”
Calzavara added that their calls indicate that 50 per cent plan to no longer donate. “But there are still a lot of silos,” he said, about provincial organizing. “It would be very interesting to see how we might bring more groups together.”
If you live in Ontario and want a province that works and cares for everyone, sign the Council’s Fight Ford pledge and join people across Ontario who are coming together to save our vital social programs, protect water and the environment, safeguard our communities and workers, and defend the most vulnerable in our society.