Members Statements in the Ontario Legislature
April 28, 1999
Excerpt from response to the Throne Speech by
Howard Hampton, Leader of the NDP,
April 28, 1999 afternoon session
Howard Hampton, Leader of the NDP: Working families in Ontario deserve more than what they got from this government's game of "let's pretend." They deserve more than one round after another of "let's pretend." As cynical as it sounds, the Harris government even wants 1.5 million Ontarians with disabilities to play along with their game of "let's pretend."
When their three-page act was introduced, the outcry from the disabled community was long and loud, and for good reason. David Lepofsky is chairman of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee. That group represents some 85 organizations across the province. Mr Lepofsky described the outrage of people with disabilities. He said to reporters: "Premier Mike Harris has slapped us in the face. He has punched us in the stomach." We're talking here about some of the most vulnerable citizens in Ontario. We're talking about people who have to overcome in some cases a number of handicaps, who have to overcome not only their own physical handicaps, their own challenges in their life, but they have to overcome the challenges that society puts in front of them. What did the Premier do? He "has slapped us in the face. He has punched us in the stomach."
Last Thursday this government had an opportunity to change that direction, to show real leadership, but it didn't. The Harris government is once again asking Ontarians to accept their record on disability issues, to be content with a vague promise of additional input. One and a half million Ontarians with disabilities do not deserve another slap in the face, followed by vague promises.
These Ontarians deserve action on the 11 principles to which this House agreed unanimously last fall. They deserve action by a Harris government that told them four years ago that there would be action. New Democrats will stand by those principles and we will keep speaking out and keep fighting until they are entrenched in law. We will answer the slap in the face by continuing to raise these issues until they become the law of Ontario.
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