Volume 94, Issue 55

Wednesday, December 6, 2000


NEWS

CFS stages sit-in over law changes

Unions poised to walk out over new bill

USC to debate changes to VP elections voting

Footballers score $16,000

Campus Briefs

McGuinty trashes Harris via e-mail - 'Pee-mail' campaign erupts over drug testing

McGuinty trashes Harris via e-mail - 'Pee-mail' campaign erupts over drug testing

By Wes Brown
Gazette Staff

Ontario Liberal leader, Dalton McGuinty, has shot back at the provincial governments' plans to test welfare clients suspected of drug use with a private members bill and a 'pee-mail' campaign.

"This bill is trying to demonstrate how ridiculous the [Mike] Harris government is in requesting this type of testing," McGuinty said about the Conservatives proposal to have welfare recipients endure a mandatory drug treatment policy.

"It's unfair to target one specific group. [Welfare recipients] are no more likely to suffer from a drug addiction."

McGuinty said by introducing the private members bill this past Tuesday, which would force Members of Provincial Parliament to also submit urine samples for drug testing, as well as launching an electronic mail campaign against the PC's dubbed a 'pee-mail' protest, which would be a humorous way to prove a serious point, he said.

"This is an opportunity to express our disapproval with this legislation. Like Jonathan Swift did in his 'Modest Proposal,' this is an opportunity to ridicule government policy," he said.

Dan Miles, media spokesperson for the Community and Social Services Minister John Baird, said McGuinty is making light of an issue that is in fact very serious.

He said the Premier and the provincial government have come forward with a direction to combat this problem and to mock the government for its proaction is un-productive. "We want people to regain their health. Obviously Mr. McGuinty has other thoughts on the issue."

Bruce Tate, executive director of the National Anti-Poverty organization, said he sided with McGuinty on the issue.

"It's an inexcusable intrusion by the Harris government. This is just another way to victimize the poor and low income people," he said. "What needs to be reinforced is that those that need assistance should be granted it."

Tate added this issue needs to be approached from the opposite direction and said we should not be attacking poor Ontarians like criminals. "What kind of society are we living in when we can't provide for those who need it most?"


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