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- by Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

Now that NDP leader Andrea Horwath has picked up some positive numbers, Ontario Proud (OP) is turning its attention on her. Doug Ford voted in favour of Toronto becoming a sanctuary city, but when Horwath supports those same principles, it becomes the source of another of OP's scare-mongering memes.

In case you're not familiar with Ontario Proud, the Globe and Mail's Adam Radwanski or TVO's Steve Paikin can fill you in. Do not doubt the power of this social media machine – especially as it is now asking its 365,000 followers for money.

But let's get back to the sanctuary idea. In the United States, the concept of sanctuary cities is generally supported by police organizations and police chiefs who find it increases public safety. Yet commenters on the Ontario Proud Facebook page seem to have swallowed the Trump crime narrative on the subject whole.

In Toronto, the city council vote was 37 to 3 in favour, including Doug Ford, that
"1. City Council re-affirm its commitment to ensuring access to services without fear to immigrants without full status or without full status documents."
and that
"6. City Council request the Provincial government to review its policies for Provincially-funded services for undocumented residents with a view to ensuring access to health care, emergency services, community housing and supports for such residents..."

Ontario is home to literally millions of hard-working, tax-paying voters – doctors, plumbers, farmers, professors, artists, entertainers, journalists – whose parents and grandparents came here as refugees and "displaced persons" from wars in Europe and conflicts in Asia and Africa. We have been a sanctuary for generations.

Some came before the days of medicare, first championed by Tommy Douglas, who vowed that noone else was going to risk a limb or life in a surgery on the family's kitchen table because they could not pay for a hospital bed. His proposal for universal health care was fought every step of the way by those who claimed Canada could never afford it. Doctors went on strike against it. Now most Canadians consider it a source of our pride.

These are some of the services to which Toronto allows "access without fear" regardless of immigration status, as supported by Doug Ford:

School for children so that they are safe and learning while their parents are studying English or attending mandatory immigration meetings.
Healthcare, so mothers get pre-natal care and deliver healthy babies, people do not die on our streets of undiagnosed illnesses, and workers whose employers have not enrolled them in WSIB because they have hired them under the table are treated if they are injured on the job.

Just to mention a few.

Andrea Horwath and the NDP are – ironically – following Doug Ford's lead.
I won't hold my breath waiting to hear that from Ontario Proud.


 

 

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