There has been more information on Ford’s ways of evading accountability, as well as community events I’ll be attending across Toronto Centre — all of which I am eager to share with you.
A Greenbelt Update for the Integrity Commissioner
It has only been one week since my last newsletter telling you about Ford’s Greenbelt scandal, yet we are only starting to uncover how corrupt this government truly is.
A damning article from Global News, released just three days ago, has brought to light additional information about Doug Ford’s use of a personal cellphone for government business. While the Auditor General’s (AG) Special Report about Minister Clark's political staff concluded that they would routinely use their personal e-mail accounts to conduct government business, it seems this is common on the Conservative side of the House. Global News states: “What was made clear by government officials was Ford did not use his government-issued cellphone to make a single phone call during that one-week period in November (2022).”
Leader of the Ontario NDP, Marit Stiles, has written to the Integrity Commissioner stating this additional information so it is to be included in their ongoing investigation. I will keep you apprised of this case’s developments — stay tuned.
Ontario's Finance Minister, Peter Bethlenfalvy, recently released the 2023-24 First Quarter (Q1) Fiscal Update. My colleague, MPP Catherine Fife (Waterloo), Official Opposition Finance Critic, emphasised that the report highlights the Conservative government's continued neglect of everyday Ontarians.
Despite the Financial Accountability Office’s (FAO) report’s projection of a $22.6 billion surplus due to below-planned spending, Minister Bethlanfalvy maintains that there is no change to the deficit/surplus... The most extensive and valuable pieces of land removed from the Greenbelt, as reflected in last week’s AG report, is in the Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve, located in Minister Bethenfalvy’s riding of Pickering – Uxbridge. And through the AG report, we have all been made aware that the direct actions of the Ford government have enriched ultra-wealthy developer Silvio DeGasperis by more than $6 billion.
While Ontarians suffer from $7.2 billion in below-planned spending (e.g., cuts), including $1.7 billion in below-planned expenditures on health, a 67% cut for Emergency Forest Firefighting, and a 2.7% cut from the Ontario justice sector, these statistics are terrifying on paper, but their repercussions are severe.
Meeting with Out Loud North Bay
I was honoured to meet with Out Loud North Bay earlier this week to learn about the good work they do supporting 2SLGBTQI+ Ontarians in North Bay. Their story is incredible: they are entirely volunteer-run, and were created by community for community. However, as they have grown, the demand for their services has also spiked. They are seeing rising hate and threats first-hand — like so many 2SLGBTQI+ organizations and Ontarians. They are filling a real gap and need government support. It’s time for the Ford Conservatives to recognize the importance of community-based organizations like Out Loud North Bay and fund them for the vital services they are providing to 2SLGBTQI+ families in the north.
Upcoming Community Events!
Virtual Small Business Forum with MPP Jessica Bell
On Monday, August 28, from 4 PM to 5 PM, MPP Jessica Bell and I are hosting a virtual Small Business Forum with special guest Aaron Binder from Better Way Alliance.
We will be discussing:
- Implementing a standard commercial lease,
- Commercial rent control so there’s a cap on how much the rent can be raised between tenancies,
- Creating a dispute resolution mechanism like a Commercial Tenant Board.
You can RSVP for our Zoom forum here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. More information can be found here, and if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please email me at [email protected] or MPP Jessica Bell’s office at [email protected].
Pancakes in the Park
This Saturday morning, August 19, from 10 AM to 12 PM, join the Friends of Regent Park hosting Pancakes in the Park at The Big Park (600 Dundas St. East). There will be vegan, gluten-free, and Filipino-style pancakes, and halal chicken and vegan sausages.
Don’t miss out on the music, face painting, and dancing! I will be there and looking forward to seeing many of you. Please meet at the Regent Park Community Centre at 402 Shuter St in case of rain.
Sunday in the Park
Join me and my team this coming Sunday, August 20, from 12 PM to 7 PM at Regent Park’s Sunday in the Park. The event will take place at 600 Dundas St. East at “The Big Park,” there will be free halal, vegetarian, and kosher BBQ, good music, and fun with the community. If you have any accessibility needs, please email [email protected].
And if you would like to volunteer with us at this event and gain some outreach experience, please sign up to volunteer here, and a staff member will contact you about a shift time. See you there!
Skills for Success with Woodgreen Community Services
If you want to improve your job-related skills to make you a more competitive candidate in today's labour market. In that case, Woodgreen offers an in-person workshop this coming Sunday, August 20. The Skills for Success for Experienced Workers (SSEW) Program provides unemployed individuals aged 45+ with training and support to improve their foundational and transferrable skills.
Their information session will be at 1533 Victoria Park Ave inside WoodGreen Employment Services' main workshop room beside the main entrance. For more information, click here.
Self-Defence Workshops at The 519
There are free self-defense workshops for those who are 18+. Any fitness level can do this class, and will be facilitated by martial artist and self-defense instructor Chris James. The latest session is August 20 from 12 PM to 4 PM, specifically for BIPOC communities. Register here before this Sunday!
Artist Call- Request for Proposals at Rekai Centre
The Rekai Centres, a non-profit, charitable long-term care home providing exceptional care and inclusivity, seeks proposals for the visual transformation of the inaugural Rainbow Wing!
I urge potential artists interested in creating an inviting and inclusive environment that celebrates and represents the 2SLGBTQI+ communities to take their talents to Wellesley Central Place.
Read more about this opportunity here.
Yours in community service,
MPP, Toronto Centre