Ontario Liberal Party Leader Steven Del Duca made a stop on the campaign trail in Sudbury Sunday afternoon, speaking to the opioid crisis that has taken so many lives.
Sudbury Liberal candidate David Farrow opened up the presser, held at the Hilton hotel on The Kingway, by introducing Del Duca to the media.
Farrow and Del Duca invited members from the Sudbury Professional Firefighters Association to join them in addressing the opioid crisis in Sudbury, as the association is directly involved with the epidemic.
Del Duca took a moment to pay tribute to the representing members of the firefighters association for their contribution to the community before diving into the issue at hand.
“Today I'm here to talk specifically about a very, very troubling crisis that exists here in Sudbury, across Northern Ontario and frankly, across all of Ontario,” Del Duca said.
Del Duca said the Ford government cut $355 million that was budgeted towards investing in mental health and addictions.
“They've (the City of Greater Sudbury) literally had the Ford government turn their back on what Sudbury needs and what communities again across Ontario need in this regard,” Del Duca said.
Del Duca outlined a plan from the Liberal party he said would help mitigate the issue.
“First of all, in general around mental health and addictions as a government, we would invest $3 billion in new money to help support those who need help the most,” Del Duca announced.
“This would also include 1,000 new mental-health professionals to specifically target at-risk youth and our publicly funded schools.
“But then more specifically about the opioid crisis, over the next four years, we would invest $300 million in new money to help with treatment and intervention for those who need it, including funding for Sudbury’s Réseau ACCESS Network, which is so critically important.”
Réseau ACCESS Network is a non-profit, community-based charitable organization, committed to promoting wellness, harm and risk reduction and education in Sudbury.
Del Duca also said the Liberal party will work on reversing the Ford government’s actions by lifting the arbitrary cap on consumption sites and providing 24/7 funding to key sites in communities that have been hit the hardest with the pandemic, as well as providing funding for dealing with needle debris.
In an interview with Sudbury.com, Del Duca said that should the Progressive Conservatives be re-elected in Ontario, the Liberal party will never stop pushing for progress.
“I think it's important for us to respect what happens in a democracy. We will never stop pushing for the kind of progress that we believe in,” Del Duca said. “While I believe, as an Ontarian, that I am practical enough and responsible enough to work with almost anyone I know, at the same time that Doug Ford has made it clear he does not have the capacity to lead this province, particularly at this moment in time.
“And so while I am more focused on the outcomes versus the personalities, I do know that Doug Ford is the wrong person to lead Ontario and he needs to be shown that.”