My Priorities

Confronting the Climate Emergency

Every other day we hear about a new record setting temperature. The climate crisis is here and is the greatest health threat we face—exacerbating income inequality, the housing crisis, and the affordability crisis.

In my work as a family doctor, I have already seen its impact on our community in Toronto Centre: last summer’s poor air quality put countless people at risk of hospitalization for their asthma, and episodes of extreme heat have worsened depression, heart disease, and chronic kidney disease in my patients.

The world’s experts are clear: we need to stop extracting and burning fossil fuels today. And yet the Trudeau government has continued to subsidize new oil and gas infrastructure, including the $35 billion Transmountain pipeline! Like many, I am compelled to stand up to protect our future and our children’s future.

Canada must invest what it takes to transition to green energy and create thousands of secure, fair-paying union jobs. Climate solutions are also solutions to the housing crisis and the affordability crisis, and climate solutions will improve the health and wellbeing of our communities. A green future is achievable but it will take all of us standing up again and again to the powerful interests of the fossil fuel industry and those courting their money and favour.

That’s why I work with advocacy groups like the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) to demand immediate climate action. At CAPE-Ontario, I have advocated against the expansion of gas infrastructure, which is bad for the climate and also contributes to local air pollution. And I have advocated for a ban on fossil fuel advertising—a call that has recently been taken up by NDP MP Charlie Angus in a private members’ bill.

Building healthy communities is the other side of the same coin. As co-founder of Doctors for Safe Cycling, I advocated for bike lanes across Toronto in order to protect cyclists from injury, promote cycling for better physical and mental health, and reduce transportation-related pollution.

We need courageous action on the climate emergency, and, as Toronto Centre’s NDP MP, I would be a strong voice for climate action in Parliament.

Building Social Justice for Canada and the World

Every day, I see stories of Palestinians dying, and also surviving with great resilience in Gaza—surviving under constant bombardment, without adequate food, without access to a functional health care system. The images of starving children and broken families tell a horrific story. I feel shame and sadness at the complicity of the Canadian government in the ongoing genocide, shame at Canada’s ongoing support for the state of Israel, and deep shame at my own personal inability to end the suffering.

The motion brought forward by the NDP last week, while significantly watered down by the Liberals, includes important provisions that will provide immediate relief to people on the ground in Gaza. We can now hold the government accountable for a ceasefire, for provision of humanitarian aid, and for an arms embargo. Significantly, the NDP motion has also forced Canada to recognize ICC and ICJ decisions on Israel and Palestine—a complete reversal of Canada’s previous position.

Nevertheless, we need stronger action. As a Jewish person and health professional, I have worked with IfNotNow Toronto and the Health workers Alliance for Palestine to advocate for stronger action. Canada must cease all arms shipments, including previously signed contracts and shipments of technology used in weapons manufacturing. Canada must end its racist restriction on the number of Palestinian refugees permitted into Canada from Gaza—currently limited to just 1000.

And Canada must support freedom for all people living in Israel-Palestine and must advocate for an end to the Israeli apartheid regime.

Keeping Public Services Public

As a family doctor working for nearly a decade in Toronto Centre, I have a front row seat to the troubles in our healthcare system. What we have is so far from what Tommy Douglas envisioned.

I see people every day who are suffering because we don’t have access to universal pharmacare, or dental care, or assisted devices, or interpreters in health clinics, or physiotherapy, or psychotherapy.

All of these are critical pieces of a comprehensive health care system, one that would actually help people to get and stay healthy. We need all levels of government actively at the table to put the health of Canadians first.

We need to put a greater emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention, and comprehensive multidisciplinary chronic disease management. We would even save money, for example, if patients had universal access to physiotherapy and we prevented reliance on harmful pain medication and the need for surgical interventions.

Time and time again, it has been shown that access to primary care has been proven to improve health and save the health system money. Canadians across the country are begging for leadership on this issue as they wait years for access to a family doctor.

The NDP is the only federal party proposing solutions to our health care crisis. I have a patient who missed several months of diabetes medications because she started a part-time job. She was no longer eligible for ODSP, but had neither drug benefits or the salary to pay for her medications out of pocket. The new NDP drug plan starts to address this shortcoming. Whether you pay thousands of dollars annually for the treatment your doctor prescribes should not be at the whim of your employer. No one should be without life saving medication

Being a family doctor is such a privilege and a pleasure. For me, it is an enactment of solidarity, to listen to a person’s story of suffering, and walk with them through diagnosis and treatment. I see families together, and am a witness to the beautiful ways that humans support one another.

I imagine my approach to being a Member of Parliament will be an extension of my work as a family doctor. I relish the opportunity to develop relationships with even more community members and bring their concerns to Ottawa. The skills are very similar - to listen, assess, problem-solve, and work in solidarity.

My first political prescription is an NDP MP for Toronto Centre!

Ensuring Affordability for all Generations

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