Sun. Feb 25th, 2024

The files to follow in Ontario politics in 2024

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Ontario MPs will not be back in the chamber before the end of February , but there is no shortage of topics in Ontario politics. (Archive photo)

  • Camille Gris Roy (View profile)Camille Gris Roy

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Whether it is a survey of the RCMP on the greenbelt, the housing crisis, labor relations or health, several Ontario policy topics will come back into the news in 2024.

The biggest issue of the 2023 political year in Ontario – the Greenbelt – will still have echoes in 2024. The Ford government continues to be the subject of an investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in connection with this vast protected area of ​​Greater Toronto and the decision (since abandoned) to build housing there.

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RCMP investigation weighs on Ford government.

As of yet, no charges have been filed and this type of investigation takes time.

In the gas power plant affair, another recent Ontario political scandal, it took several years before charges were filed and a trial was held.

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ELSE ON INFO: Strikes have created inequalities between students students, according to remedial teachers

The longer the investigation drags on, the more opposition parties will be able to use it to question the Ford government and tarnish its image. The Progressive Conservatives, for their part, repeat that they intend to fully collaborate with the police.

The Ford government has set itself the objective of building 1, 5 million new homes by 2031, to tackle the housing crisis. He involved municipalities, which have their own targets to achieve, with incentives. Are we really making progress in this area?

Will the reforms implemented in the health system last year bear fruit?

The Ford government has promised to reduce wait times, train more nurses and doctors and simplify the rules for recruiting staff from abroad.

In his last annual report, the interim auditor general painted a rather gloomy picture: there were more than 200 unplanned emergency room closures in Ontario in the space of a year.

The province does not have a strategy to avoid this problem caused by a shortage of personnel. It also noted a growing reliance on private employment agencies to temporarily recruit nurses – a costly solution for hospitals and long-term care homes.

The Ford government is still in court challenging a court decision that struck down Bill 124. This law limited wage increases for employees to 1% per year. public sector employees, including nurses.

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Public sector workers mobilized to challenge Law 124.

A judgment from the Court of Appeal is still awaited after hearings last June.

A defeat would cost the Ford government several billion dollars in compensation. Thanks to arbitration decisions, some unions have already managed to obtain retroactive payments.

The new Liberal leader will officially relinquish her duties as Mayor of Mississauga on January 12. Bonnie Crombie will then be able to devote herself full time to her party and its reconstruction.

Without a seat at Queen’s Park, the task will nevertheless be more complex. Bonnie Crombie has already ruled out the possibility of running in the riding of Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, where a by-election is to be held this year following the resignation of former Labor Minister Monte McNaughton.

The leader will therefore not be able to participate in discussions in the room with Prime Minister Ford, but it is a safe bet that her name will be mentioned more than once. Ms. Crombie is already under attack from the government.

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Bonnie Crombie wants to revitalize the Liberal Party, which no longer has official party status at Queen's Park.

Among the Greens, the family is growing This year. Elected in Kitchener Center in November, Aislinn Clancy will make her first steps as an MP, the second to be elected in the history of this party at Queen's Park.

The future of this provincial waterfront park in downtown Toronto has caused quite a stir in recent months. We are now awaiting the findings of an audit from the Auditor General's office, which has agreed to examine the province's redevelopment plans.

The government Ford has entrusted private companies with the task of rebuilding Ontario Place: the Austrian company Therme plans to build a large aquatic complex there.

Opposition parties and citizen groups denounce the privatization of this space and the secrecy surrounding the contract concluded between the province and its private partners. The construction of subsidized parking and the environmental consequences of the project are also the subject of criticism.

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Ontario Place and downtown Toronto.

The province also plans to move the Ontario Science Center to Ontario Place – not an entirely informed decision, the interim auditor general has already concluded in his annual report.

For now, however, the ball seems to remain in the court of the Ford government, which has just given itself new powers to remove any obstacles to construction.

Work to modernize the site has already begun and the mayor of Toronto has agreed to no longer oppose the project, in exchange for x27;a new financing agreement for the City.

Will the provincial transportation agency Metrolinx finally have an operational date to give for the Eglinton Crosstown light rail?

This line, under construction for more than 12 years in Toronto, was first planned for 2020. The horizon has since darkened and the CEO of Metrolinx refuses to step forward until a series of technical faults have been corrected and the line has been deemed completely safe.

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The Eglinton Avenue LRT is still not in service.

This saga exasperates public transport users and small business owners who have undergone years of work. It is a recurring target of attack by the opposition at Queen's Park, who are calling on the government to be accountable for this public-private partnership.

The flagship promise of the Progressive Conservatives during the 2022 election campaign has been on ice since Ottawa designated this highway project for an impact assessment.

A recent Supreme Court decision on the Federal Impact Assessment Act, found partly unconstitutional, has given hope to the government which now hopes to get out of this impasse to move the issue forward.

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Highway 413 must join Highway 400 north of Toronto, not far from Vaughan.

The Ford government claims that Highway 413 will reduce traffic congestion, but environmental groups say the project could weaken or even destroy local ecosystems.

Stephen Lecce had a narrow escape in 2023: the teachers ultimately did not go on strike and the children remained in class as he wanted. But the file is not completely closed for the Minister of Education, who continues to lead negotiations so that new collective agreements are signed and ratified by the members of four major teaching unions.

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