Last Friday, Ontario enthusiastically welcomed Step 1 of our reopening plan. Many enjoyed the return to some additional amenities, such as outdoor patio dining, indoor shopping, and church services. Our Science Table is working on the details of Step 2, expected on July 2. Please visit https://www.ontario.ca/reopening-ontario for complete information.
New cases in Ontario continue to drop, with Thursday hitting a new low not seen since last October. The new variant is causing great concern, with 10 Delta hot spots in the province this Thursday. Vaccine deliveries have increased, allowing our local health unit to increase significantly the number of available appointments over the next few weeks. We know that two doses of any approved vaccines provide over 90 percent protection against contracting this virus and are the shortest path to normal. You can book your vaccine appointments at our local clinics and pharmacies at www.Ontario.ca/bookvaccine or by calling 1-888-999-6488 if you have a red and white OHIP card, need assistance.
Last week, MPPs were recalled to the Legislature to reinstate legislation to address third-party election spending. Ontario’s Chief Election Officer, Greg Essensa, highlighted that our province experiences more third-party spending than the federal government and all of the provinces combined and recommended the use of limits. The Wynne Liberal government introduced legislation to address this spending. A challenge resulted in a recent court decision to strike it down. This left no limits, disclosure, and no caps on billionaires, corporations, special interest groups, and foreign entities from spending millions to influence Ontario elections. In Ontario, political parties are highly regulated, with donations from individuals capped and unions and corporations donations banned. Leaving organizations such as American-style Super PACs with unlimited spending limits was threatening our democracy and impacting important political decisions. The new legislation limits third party spending to $600,000 in the 11 months before the drop of the election writ, and an additional $100,000 during the writ per organization. As provided for in the Canadian constitution, the legislation invoked the Notwithstanding Clause, which will require the legislation to be reaffirmed within five years. I want to point out that all political parties in Canada have supported the regulation of third-party influence.
With the provincial COVID-19 case numbers approaching new lows in Ontario and Quebec, I welcome the decision to allow unrestricted travel between the two provinces. I want to thank residents for compliance with the restriction, as we know the reduced mobility helped reduce transmission. The open border benefits both economies by allowing out-of-province visitors patronizing our local small businesses, which have traditionally depended considerably on this additional traffic, to operate successfully.
This week, we also announced seven municipal projects in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry are going ahead after receiving a total of $1,229,519 in COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada funding. The province is allocating $245,903, while the federal government is providing $983,615. This investment will help complete the following projects: improving recreational trails, sidewalks, and pedestrian amenities in Cornwall; rehabilitating the Morrisburg waterfront path; upgrading the SDG Warden’s House, North Dundas recreational facilities and South Glengarry’s Peanut Line; and building more multi-use pathways in South Stormont.
Remember to maintain personal spacing, wear a mask, and stay safe.
MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry