February 25th, 2021

Province must do its part to make Nipissing’s sacrifices count: Lougheed

NIPISSING — With the local health unit reporting concerning levels of COVID-19 variant of concern cases in recent weeks, NDP Nipissing Candidate Erika Lougheed is urging Vic Fedeli and the Ford government to provide the supports needed locally to bring the virus under control.

“People in Nipissing are frustrated— they’re being asked to stay home while Mr. Fedeli refuses to support policies that would help reduce community transmission,” said Lougheed. “Families don’t want to see another sudden school shutdown like we saw at Algonquin and Sunset Park Public School, and everyone sees the vacant storefronts and is increasingly worried about providing for themselves and their loved ones.

“Nipissing is getting hit hard right now — we’re in lockdown, and the government is choosing to ignore the very policies that would make a significant difference in our local communities. They’re digging in their heels when we know it’ll mean a longer, more expensive recovery if we don’t do right by people today. You have to make it easier to follow the guidelines, by reducing the social and economic hardship that many are living with right now. Lots of people can’t afford to miss a day’s pay, or self-isolate if their kids screen positive on the new school criteria.”

The nearby region served by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is coping with high case numbers, and schools recently closed in neighbouring Sudbury, and Thunder Bay.

“We don’t want to take one step forward and three steps backwards. No one is happy about Nipissing remaining under a stay-at-home order, but it’s critical to take public health precautions seriously with COVID-19 variants of concern so prevalent locally,” said Lougheed. “At the same time, Mr. Fedeli and the Ford government are choosing not to provide the help Nipissing residents need to get through the lockdown, and give people hope that this lockdown will be our last.”

Lougheed said supports could include expanded protections like paid sick days, an immediate reinstatement of reduced hydro rates, broader and more rapid access to financial support for small businesses, a class cap of 15 students to prevent spread in schools, and more testing and contact tracing in the area.

“People in Nipissing are making enormous sacrifices, and the province needs to do its part to make them count,” said Lougheed.