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Queen's Park Report - Wilson pleased with Premier’s visits to Simcoe-Grey to announce support for police and first responders

(October 17, 2018) - During the past two weeks, I was pleased to twice welcome Premier Doug Ford to Simcoe-Grey for two great announcements in support of our police and first responders across the province.

On October 16, I was happy to join Premier Doug Ford in The Blue Mountains for a speech at the Ontario Provincial Police Association Annual General meeting. The Premier’s speech focused on law enforcement’s role in the protection of public health and safety within the province’s tightly regulated private cannabis retail marketplace.

As you all know, the Trudeau government legalized cannabis across the country on October 17. During his speech, the Premier indicated his concern that the federal government is still unable to provide law enforcement with reliable equipment to test for drug-impaired driving.

“It’s been three years since the Prime Minister committed to legal cannabis, yet the federal government cannot give our police a reliable test for drug-impaired driving,” the Premier said. “I’m calling on the federal government to address this critical issue and get our police the tools needed to keep our roads safe.”

I want to ensure anybody with concerns about the federal government’s decision to legalize cannabis that our government is committed to public health, public safety and protecting youth. We are calling on the Federal Government to step up and provide the police with the tools they need to keep our communities safe.

In Ontario, there will be strict enforcement of federal and provincial rules and a zero-tolerance approach for any retailer who provides cannabis to a minor. We will align cannabis consumption rules with the Smoke Free Ontario Act, which outright bans smoking near schools, playgrounds, hospitals, child care facilities and indoors - among other areas.

Our municipalities will have a one-time window to opt out of permitting cannabis retail stores within their municipal boundaries and they can enact bylaws that further restrict smoking cannabis beyond provincial minimum standards in places like parks.

“When it comes to cannabis, we can assure all Ontarians that we’ve done our homework, we are working closely with our police and other partners and no matter what lies ahead, Ontario will be ready,” said Premier Ford.

On October 11, I was thrilled to welcome Premier Ford and the Honourable Michael Tibollo, Minister of Community Services and Correctional Services to Alliston for a very important and historic announcement.

At the Nottawasaga OPP Detachment, Premier Ford announced Ontario’s Government for the People will take immediate action to keep Ontarians safe and protect communities by replacing the province’s  crumbling Public Safety Radio Network, which front-line emergency responders rely on during emergencies.

“This modernization project is long overdue,” said Premier Ford. “Our frontline and emergency responders need to have reliable, modern tools and resources in place to do their jobs and we are going to make sure this life-saving system gets underway.”

I was very proud to have the Premier make this vital announcement in Simcoe-Grey in front of so many of our first-responders, who do amazing work every single day. They deserve to have reliable, modern tools and resources in place to do their jobs and our government is going to make sure this life-saving system gets underway.

Across Ontario, 38,000 front-line and emergency responders including OPP police officers, paramedics and hospital staff, forest firefighters, provincial highway maintenance staff, as well as enforcement and correctional officers can can count on the communications infrastructure, network and equipment they need when responding to emergencies.

We’re going to replace the network’s aging infrastructure with state-of-the-art radio equipment and consoles. The network is to be fully operational by 2023.

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