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Doug Ford defends controversial emergency order law despite Tory MPP’s removal from caucus
July 23, 2020

Premier Doug Ford is defending a controversial new law granting his government powers to extend emergency orders despite recent opposition from within his own party.

Ford ejected a member of the Progressive Conservative caucus -- legislator Belinda Karahalios -- Tuesday after she voted against the bill.

Mr. Ford says the law is necessary to protect the health and safety of people across the province and he could not tolerate the now former Tory legislator voting against it.

The Premier denied that her vote against the bill is a sign of broader dissatisfaction with the sweeping law.

Mr. Ford says he spent two days with Ms. Karahalios last week and she never voiced any disapproval.

Ms. Karahalios called the bill an “unnecessary overreach” on parliamentary democracy shortly after the vote.

Bill 195 allows the government to extend emergency orders originally enacted to allow the province to better respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill empowers the government to keep measures in place for one month at a time for as long as two years.

Mr. Ford said the bill will allow the government to react swiftly in the event that the number of provincial COVID-19 cases begins to surge again.

Ontario reported 165 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, as well as two new deaths.

The total number of cases now stands at 38,107, which includes 2,755 deaths and 33,812 resolved cases.

There were 207 resolved cases newly reported on Wednesday, marking the first time in several days that the figure has been higher than the number of new diagnoses.

Provincial data showed nearly 23,000 COVID-19 tests were completed over the previous day.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said just over half of today’s cases came from people under the age of 40, similar to new case numbers released on Tuesday.

About 28 of the province’s 34 public health units reported five new cases or fewer, she added.

Also on Wednesday, many of Ontario’s long-term care homes were able to resume indoor visits.

Facilities not currently experiencing an outbreak of the novel coronavirus have allowed outdoor visits since last month.

But as of today, they can permit residents’ loved ones to come inside, so long as certain procedures are followed.

The Ministry of Long-Term Care says each resident can have two visitors at a time, so long as they confirm that they have had a negative test for COVID-19 in the previous two weeks.

They must also wear surgical or procedural masks while inside, which are to be provided by the long-term care homes.

Homes must also have procedures in place for visits to resume, and must create an information package for “infection prevention and control” that will be shared with visitors.