By ALI RAZA, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Ontario NDP has appointed local MPPs to critic roles in its position as the official opposition at Queen’s Park.
A critic role is when a member from the opposition party caucus is chosen to serve for that portfolio, and it is part and parcel of building an official opposition in the Ontario legislature and other Westminster parliamentary systems.
Elected officials in the Beach and East Toronto area are serving in vital roles with the newest appointments.
Toronto-Danforth MPP Peter Tabuns continues to serve as a critic for energy and climate crisis and Beaches-East York MPP Rima Berns-McGown continues to serve as the critic for poverty and homelessness.
Scarborough Southwest MPP Doly Begum was appointed critic for citizenship, foreign credentials, and immigration services.
It’s a new portfolio that includes a look into foreign credentials held by many new Canadians seeking employment for which they are qualified, instead of taking on underemployed work.
Begum’s appointment to the new critic role comes as the NDP warns of a dire shortage of healthcare professionals during the pandemic.
“As a Bangladeshi-Canadian immigrant whose family moved here to seek a better future, I have seen firsthand the struggles that our immigrant communities face – be it navigating various systems, or even finding opportunities to flourish in their new home country,” Begum wrote in her announcement.
“It’s deeply important to me that we create an Ontario that provides equal and equitable opportunities for those who are newcomers and immigrants,” she added.
Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath said Premier Doug Ford’s cuts to long-term care, education, and public health, combined with the pandemic response following those cuts is what prompted her to assign NDP MPPs new portfolios.
“Ontarians elected an official opposition that’s full of everyday people who are deeply caring, diverse, rich in real-world experience and hard-working,” she said.
Unlike ministers, critics from the official opposition are not given additional pay, benefits, or new budgets.
Ali Raza is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Beach Metro News. His reporting is funded by the Government of Canada through its Local Journalism Initiative.