New Democrat MPP Wayne Gates has been named the party’s leading voice on long-term care, home care and retirement homes.
“It’s no surprise this is an issue that’s close to my heart. I’ve been saying for years long-term care was broken in Ontario – but the pandemic really showed us how bad it was,” said Gates, who represents the Niagara Falls riding.
“We had seniors literally dying of thirst, living in filth for days at a time, crying out for care,” he said in a media statement Wednesday.
“It’s disgusting our seniors were treated that way. We won’t let this government ignore them. We’re going to propose solutions to these problems. We’ll work with them to fix it, but we won’t let them ignore it any more.”
He said the NDP will propose a system of seniors care “driven by the need in our communities, not the profits of corporations.”
Gates said the issue is particularly important in his riding, which includes Niagara-on-the-Lake and Fort Erie – and is home to thousands of seniors.
He will be squaring off against re-appointed Long-term Care Minister Paul Calandra, who also is the government house leader.
“One of the first things I’ll say is, this file needs its own dedicated minister. Right now the government house leader is using it as a part-time job. We need someone focused on doing this job full-time,” Gates said.
He said his priorities will be holding accountable any private companies that abused seniors and working to repeal Bill 124, Premier Doug Ford’s low-wage bill, which caps the salaries of health care workers.