A group of about ten people protested outside Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris’ Elmira office on Monday, saying that Harris and his staff have barely responded to their emails and phone calls.
“Have you seen Mike? We can’t find him,” said one protestor to a passerby walking on the sidewalk.
Neil Lackey, a participating protestor, said he emailed Harris 18 times in four years, and only received one response. The answer did not address any of his questions specifically, said Lackey.
Lackey said he asked questions about a variety of subjects, including Bills 31, 23, and 39. “I got one response in November after I asked in capital letters, ‘Are you listening?’” The response was from the stakeholder relations staff member and did not answer his questions, Lackey said. “I’ve asked about research that led him to vote for bill 23. I’ve asked him to help me understand how it will provide affordable housing.” He also asked whether the Ontario Building Code will be changed to ensure affordable housing is built.
“There were no specific answers to any of my questions,” he said. “It feels like my emails are going into a black hole.”
Other protestors present mentioned a letter they had sent at the end of December signed by 45 that never received a response acknowledging Harris had received it. “We’re here because we’re frustrated that we’re not getting any response,” said Dorothy Wilson, a member of the Nith Valley EcoBoosters.
Elmira’s Sandra Bray was another protestor present. “If you look across Ontario, communities are taking action independent of their provincial government,” she said. “I think the public is looking for leadership and guidance for the [climate] chaos that is coming down the tracks.”
Kasia Kaminska, parliamentary assistant to Harris, said that as of this week, a meeting is in the works for the parties involved, the timing is still to be confirmed.
“Our staff works diligently to manage all incoming correspondence and calls and ensure it is forwarded to the appropriate ministries for attention and response. Due to a high volume of enquiries, we do our best to respond promptly, but sometimes unforeseen delays occur,” she said.