TORONTO – Today we learned that COVID-19 cases in Ontario have spiked yet again, reaching 939 cases yesterday with 336 new cases in Toronto. The provincial government has announced a closure of most public spaces, including gyms, movie theaters and indoor dining at restaurants for the next 28 days, a return to Phase II for the Toronto area, and for people to avoid close contact with anyone outside of their immediate household. Toronto's chief medical officer has asked people to only leave their homes for essential activities, such as work, education, and the purchase of food.
Under these circumstances, the Green Party of Canada is calling upon the Prime Minister to immediately suspend the by-elections called in Toronto Centre and York Centre for October 26th.
"The circumstances for free, fair and, above all safe, by-elections simply do not exist at this time" said Annamie Paul, new Leader of the Green Party of Canada. "How can Toronto Centre and York residents feel safe in participating in election activities and going out to vote, when many are vulnerable to infection, are in quarantine, have been asked to remain at home and if public spaces in their community have been closed? I am asking the Prime Minister to put the residents of Toronto Centre and York Centre first and to suspend these by-elections until the second wave of COVID-19 has passed, and until the new election guidelines that Elections Canada will be proposing can be put in place."
Toronto is one of the primary hotspots for new COVID-19 cases, with the highest daily rates of infection in the province. Two of the neighbourhoods with the highest rates of COVID-19 infection in Toronto - St. James Town and Moss Park - are located in the Toronto Centre riding.
"These are low-income, racialised communities that already suffer from high infection rates due to overcrowding and a lack of affordable housing, We simply can't ask them to further risk their health and the health of their loved ones when it isn't essential" said Ms. Paul. "I am asking Premier Doug Ford, Toronto Mayor John Tory, and all Toronto Centre and York Centre candidates to join me in calling upon the Prime Minister to suspend these by-elections in order to protect Toronto Centre and York Centre residents."
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