September 14, 2022 | Vision Newspaper |
(Toronto, ON) – Last week, MPPs voted on second reading of Bill 9 The Safe and Healthy Communities Act (Addressing Gun Violence) 2022, and the Ford government voted the bill down, a conscious move to deny expanding health services for victims of gun violence exposure in Ontario.
Mitzie Hunter, MPP for Scarborough-Guildwood debated her Private Members Bill, Bill 9, arguing for insured services to be expanded to include trauma informed counselling.
Bill 9 would have:
- declared gun violence a public health issue;
- allowed for counselling services for survivors of gun violence to be covered by OHIP;
- prescribed hospital-based and community-based violence intervention programs; and
- allowed Boards of Health to develop programs and services for reducing gun violence.
“The provision of counselling support to victims of gun violence is an excellent start to addressing this problem. I have urged all current MPPs to support this bill,” said Danielle Kane-Liaw, survivor of the Toronto Danforth shooting.
“Victims of gun violence who attended last night’s debate heard a chorus of ”nos” from Ford government members when the Speaker put Bill 9 to a voice vote,” said Hunter.
The recorded vote further clarified the Ford government’s stance on how important it is to support victims of gun violence.
“The Ford government, including the House Leader Paul Calandra, have stated in the legislature that they support the spirit of the bill and that it has merit. However, it is clear that, for this government, the politics of not supporting an opposition member’s bill takes precedence over providing urgently needed services to victims and their families. Actions speak louder than words, and the Ford government clearly acted with their own interests in mind, at the expense of people they have a duty to serve”, concluded MPP Hunter.