OTTAWA — Laura Mae Lindo, Ontario NDP Anti-Racism critic, is calling on Doug Ford to restore legal aid funding amid new revelations about how the Conservatives’ cuts will hurt racialized communities.
Ford’s cuts to legal aid mean Ottawa’s Somali Centre for Family Services will no longer be able to offer a program that helps racialized students avoid expulsion from school, CBC News reported yesterday.
“I am heartbroken to know that Ottawa’s Somali community is losing access to a program with the potential to address systemic racism,” said Lindo. “With local reports of racism and racial profiling on the rise, we need programs like this now more than ever.
“This cut is just one more way that Doug Ford is dragging Ontario backwards in the fight against racism.”
The Ford Conservatives allocated a paltry $1,000 to anti-racism initiatives in their first budget. News of the Ottawa-based program falling under Ford’s budget axe comes as actions protesting the Conservatives’ legal aid cuts took place across the province yesterday.
“Legal aid does so much more than represent vulnerable people ranging from injured workers to single parents in court,” said Lindo. “Yesterday’s action was a powerful testament to legal aid’s essential work, and the Ontario NDP stands shoulder to shoulder with the legal aid community.
“It’s time for Ford to acknowledge the damage his cuts are causing and reverse them without delay so we can save critical programs like the one offered by Ottawa’s Somali Centre.”