Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday November 4, 2022
Virus’, a summons, strike, and notwithstanding: A bad week for Doug Ford
Some of the largest pediatric hospitals across the country are being overwhelmed by an unprecedented surge in sick children, forcing them to keep families waiting for hours in emergency departments, cancel surgeries and transfer some teens to adult facilities.
An unusually early upswing in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections is partly to blame. But other problems – including the inability of many families to find primary care providers and a shortage of over-the-counter fever and pain medication for infants and children – are adding to the crisis.
With emergency rooms seeing far more seriously ill children than normal and pediatric in-patient and intensive-care units at or near capacity, doctors say they are unsure how the health care system will cope when cold and flu season hits its peak in the next few months. (The Globe & Mail)
Meanwhile, Ontario has now passed legislation making it illegal for 55,000 education workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees to strike and imposing a contract on them.
The workers are expected to walk off the job Friday after mediation between the Ontario government and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) failed to reach a deal. There’s no word on when the job action will end. School boards are advising parents to make alternative child-care plans into next week.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the government had no choice but to proceed with its legislation, which includes the notwithstanding clause that allows the legislature to override parts of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for a five-year term.
“For the sake of Ontario’s two million students, to keep classrooms open, CUPE has left us with no choice but to pass the Keeping Kids in Class Act,” he said.
“It is my hope and expectation that they will show up tomorrow for our kids,” said Lecce, saying the union would not rescind its intent to strike when the two parties went back to the bargaining table.
Bill 28 will make strike action illegal, though the CUPE has said workers will walk off the job Friday regardless. Early childhood educators, educational assistants and custodians are among those taking part in the strike.
Premier Doug Ford, who was not present during the final vote on Bill 28, said Thursday that the union left him with “no choice” but to introduce Bill 28. He said students have already suffered through two years of pandemic disruptions, and the government will use every tool at its disposal to ensure kids stay in class full-time. (CBC News)
Ontario government lawyers argued Tuesday there would be “irreparable harm” to the rule of law if Premier Doug Ford and a top minister were compelled to testify at a federal inquiry after citing parliamentary privilege in trying to avoid doing so.
But lawyers for the Public Order Emergency Commissioner, which is overseeing the inquiry, argued evidence of that harm was “speculative” at best.
The arguments were made in Federal Court as Ford and then-solicitor general Sylvia Jones look to quash a summons for them to appear at the inquiry examining the the federal government’s use of the Emergencies Act to end the so-called Freedom Convoy protests in Ottawa and Windsor, Ont., last winter.
Both Ford and Jones have argued through their lawyers that they’re immune to testifying after invoking parliamentary privilege, a centuries-old privilege enshrined in the constitution that is granted to sitting politicians.
Parliamentary privilege is what protects the separation of court, the Crown and the legislature in the proper functioning of a constitutional system, said Susan Keenan, a lawyer for the province.
Justice Simon Fothergill said both Ford and Jones have “relevant” testimony to give and that the harm to them, practically speaking, is “not all that serious, just two people testifying.”
He noted that parliamentary privilege resulting in immunity to being summoned to a criminal or civil court is a long-standing privilege. But Fothergill said this case will turn on whether he finds that privilege applies to public inquiries.
The judge said he’ll have a decision by Nov. 8, two days before Ford and Jones are schedule to testify at the inquiry. (Global News)
From sketch to finish, see the current way Graeme completes an editorial cartoon using an iPencil, the Procreate app, and a couple of cheats on an iPad Pro … These sped up clips are posted to encourage others to be creative, to take advantage of the technology many of us already have and to use it to produce satire. Comfort the afflicted. Afflict the comforted.