Scarborough PC MPP speaks out against new government measures: ‘This is not the way to help people’

Click to play video: 'Ontario’s new COVID-19 restrictions include increased police powers'
Ontario’s new COVID-19 restrictions include increased police powers
WATCH ABOVE: Many communities are raising concern over the province’s latest COVID-19 measures, which would give police enhanced powers to stop and question people who are outside of their residences for the duration of the lockdown. Erica Vella reports – Apr 16, 2021

Global News has obtained a passionate e-mail sent from Scarborough Centre MPP Christina Mitas to the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario caucus on Saturday expressing serious concerns about new COVID-19 measures introduced by the Ford government on Friday.

“I am reiterating my position today and asking that we consider reversing our decisions on limiting outdoor activities and giving broad, unclear powers to law enforcement agencies,” Mitas wrote in the email

However, on Saturday afternoon and after Mitas’s email, Premier Doug Ford tweeted a reversal of a decision to shut down playgrounds in the province.

“Our regulations will be amended to allow playgrounds, but gatherings outside will still be enforced,” he tweeted.

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Mitas, who is a member of the Ontario PC Party, opposed the closing of playgrounds and outdoor actives including sports facilities, citing mental health as a factor.

“As the doctors have made it clear they do not feel the data supports this, I cannot help but wonder how this decision came to be made without data and without their support,” she wrote

Much of her e-mail was focused on the controversial decision to empower police to randomly stop individuals and ask for personal information as part of the stay-at-home order.

“These powers impact vulnerable, racialized communities more than others. I have already received a lot of feedback from Scarborough community members who are scared, shocked, and angry about this decision,” Mitas said.

On Saturday, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association announced it was launching a legal challenge on the decision.

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“We are bringing a challenge as quickly as possible, in order to restore peoples’ freedom from arbitrary police stops. The regulation brings back the odious ‘driving while black’ police stop, and introduces a ‘walking while black’ offence,” Michael Bryant, the organization’s executive director, said in a news release.

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“This is formalized, legalized carding, and that’s unconstitutional.”

On social media, criticism continued to mount on Saturday with many calling the measure an over-reach of power.

“Police agencies and their leadership coming out strongly against this decision should tell us that this is not an appropriate measure,” Mitas wrote.

Sources not authorized to speak publicly told Global News the government is now rethinking the measure after the backlash.

“This is not the way to help people. These particular measures are not the right measures,” Mitas wrote.

“Part of why many of us ran was to restore accountability, trust, and transparency in government. When we make decisions in an unaccountable manner that is not based on facts and data we risk the restoration of faith that we set out to bring about and the trust we have built disappears.”

Global News reached out to Ford’s office and Mitas for comment regarding the e-mail, but a response wasn’t received by the time of publication.

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