I’ve heard from many in the community this week about the startling use of force by the City of Toronto and Toronto Police against unhoused people encamped in Trinity-Bellwoods Park. Seeing hundreds of uniformed police and private security marching on some of the most vulnerable people in our community has really cast a pall over our city, and I was disturbed to hear that pepper-spray and G20-like encirclement manoeuvres were deployed against people in the park.
What’s clear is that forceful displacement is not going to solve the housing crisis. We need the provincial government to stop abdicating its responsibility to keep people housed and to invest in urgently needed housing in our city - now.
Our NDP caucus has repeatedly moved motions at Queen’s Park to prioritize urgently needed supportive and affordable housing, an extension of the eviction ban, support for tenants with rent relief and stronger protections from renovictions. Doug Ford has resisted these attempts at every turn, and his cuts to other social services are having a compounding effect on people experiencing homelessness during a pandemic.
These are issues I will continue to advocate for as MPP, while I join the call of many in our community for compassion and dignity in supporting those who have been forced into sleeping in parks. Our housing plan, which includes a call for significant investment in affordable housing and respect for the right to housing, was released in November. You can read it here.