This week, you likely heard about the “New Deal for Toronto” that Mayor Olivia Chow struck with Doug Ford. This historic agreement will go a long way to fixing the City’s budget shortfall and making long-overdue investments in Toronto. Mayor Chow secured new investments for transit, housing, and the unimaginable — uploading the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway to the province. The upload alone will save the city $1.2 billion in expenses over just the next three years. Previous Mayors have not been able to get a deal like this done. It is a testament to the strength of Mayor Chow that she has secured this victory for the City.
But it wouldn’t be a week at Queen’s Park without Ford Conservatives trying to cover up their questionable dealings with controversial legislation. And so, the government tabled Bill 154, the “New Deal for Toronto Act,” on Monday.
You might reasonably think that this proposed act codifies into law the recent terms of reference of the deal or the details broadly reported in the media. Alarmingly, Ford's Bill 154 confirms absolutely no new funding and makes no reference to uploading the highways.
Instead, this bill has two schedules. Schedule 1 requires that the Government of Ontario and the City of Toronto further discuss the themes of the New Deal for Toronto. It does not commit to anything, nor does it set out any agreements. You may be wondering, “Does the government need a bill passed in order to have a discussion?” The answer is, of course, no. Schedule 1 is window dressing meant to distract Ontarians from the actual point of the bill, which is Schedule 2.
Schedule 2 gives this government extraordinary powers to sidestep and even break its own laws without any consequence in order to build a private luxury spa at Ontario Place. It also gives itself the power to limit the City of Toronto’s ability to sell or make other changes to the small part of Ontario place that the city owns. This confirms what we already knew: The fight for Ontario Place has always been at Queen’s Park.
Bill 154 sets a dangerous precedent for how far Ford’s Conservatives will go to exempt themselves from provincial laws and avoid legal accountability. The bill focuses entirely on allowing Ford’s Conservatives to bypass various laws to fast-track the Ontario Place redevelopment while exempting themselves from any legal ramifications for damages they may cause.
This bill exempts Ford's Ontario Place scheme from:
- Environmental Assessment Act
- Ontario Heritage Act
- Environmental Bill of Rights
- It also prohibits lawsuits against the government with respect to anything done under this bill – including government misrepresentations, misconduct, misfeasance, bad faith, breach of trust or breach of fiduciary obligation
- Bill 154 gives the Minister of Infrastructure Kinga Surma the ability to issue Ministerial Zoning Orders, a planning-by-fiat power currently limited to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
I will be fighting this draconian and anti-democratic bill every step of the way. I debated against it in the Legislature yesterday and will continue to do so.
I would love to hear your reactions to this bill as well as any stories you may have about Ontario Place. Please reply to this email with your stories – I will do my best to share them in the legislature.
Its an honour to serve you,
MPP, Toronto Centre
You’re Invited: TCNDP Holiday Party!
Join your neighbours and proud New Democrats at the 519 Community Centre on Thursday, December 14, for the TCNDP Holiday Party.
Get ready for a fabulous dinner, prize giveaways, entertainment, festive cheer, and, of course, surprise VIP guests!
Date: December 14, 2023
Time: 6 PM - 8:30 PM
Location: The 519 Community Centre, 519 Church Street, Ballroom
All are welcome including Santa’s little helpers. Please register here to reserve your seats.
Ford’s PCs vote NO on Free Birth Control
Yesterday, Ford’s Conservatives voted against giving Ontarians universal contraception. The bill, tabled by my colleague, MPP Jennie Stevens, was a common sense measure to lower barriers to accessing vital health care for so many, and a clear way to help lower costs amidst an affordability crisis.
Despite this setback, the fight for universal contraception access doesn’t end here. Your Official Opposition NDP team will keep advocating for this important measure until everyone in Ontario has access to the health care they need.
You can watch me speak in the Legislature about the importance of universally accessible contraception here.
Kitchener Centre By-Election
Yesterday was election day in Kitchener Centre and voters overwhelmingly rejected Doug Ford and his corrupt politics.
Our Ontario NDP candidate Debbie Chapman ran a strong campaign focused on the issues that mattered. Our NDP team from across the province turned up to support her, and we saw a huge number of students and university clubs come out because they all believe in Debbie and her values.
There’s always work to be done. As a team, we will reflect on the campaign. But the message from Kitchener voters is clear: After more than five years of Doug Ford, life has become harder and more expensive for everyone, except for his select insiders.
Kitchener said no. They also said no to the Liberals, who held Kitchener Centre for 15 years before it went NDP orange in 2018. The Liberals fell to fourth place in yesterday’s by-election.
I join Debbie in congratulating Aislinn Clancy on her by-election win and look forward to meeting her in the Legislature soon.
World AIDS Day
Today is World AIDS Day, a chance to celebrate everyone working on the frontlines of HIV/AIDS and to recommit to do better for everyone living with HIV/AIDS. This World AIDS Day follows a year of rising homophobia and transphobia that has shown how tenuous gains towards social inclusion can be. Appropriately, the theme ‘Let Communities Lead’ stresses the importance of ensuring that the vulnerable communities overrepresented in the transmission of HIV/AIDS are the ones leading the delivery of service.
World AIDS Day reminds us that AIDS is not over. HIV/AIDS survivors deserve better public health education and ongoing mental, social, and medical support. People at risk need better access to testing and publicly funded pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
Many communities need our government to do a better job at stepping up to mitigate and treat HIV/AIDS. Two-Spirit, Black, racialized, Trans communities, as well as women living with HIV/AIDS deserve better. Harm reduction advocates continue to struggle to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS without adequate government funding.
I, along with our whole Ontario NDP team, want the HIV/AIDS prevention community to know that we will continue to fight for you to get the funding and services you deserve. Thank you for all that you do and for all the lives you have saved.
Community Events & Info
Holiday In the Patch
Cabbagetown is an amazing community, so let's celebrate it! The Cabbagetown BIA is proud to present a day to celebrate the people and businesses that make Cabbagetown so special. We will be inviting the community to join us once again on Saturday, December 2nd, for Holiday in the Patch - a day of caroling, live music, photos with Santa, and lots of fun for the whole family!
This fun FREE event takes place Saturday, December 2nd, 12 PM - 4 PM across The Cabbagetown BIA, along Parliament Street!
Riverdale Farm Holiday Tree Lighting
Visit Riverdale Farm for their annual holiday tree lighting tomorrow, Saturday, December 2nd, at 7 PM!
Light refreshments and abundant holiday cheer will be served.
Lights Across the Legislature
Enjoy an evening at Ontario’s Parliament Building! Enjoy guided tours, festive refreshments, merry meet-and-greets, holiday story time, and crafts. Take a photo by the trees and shop at the Legislative Assembly Gift Shop.
Monday, December 4, 2023, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Free. Registration required - click here to register now!
Questions? Email [email protected]
Are you Ontario’s Next Poet Laureate?
The Legislative Assembly of Ontario is seeking nominees to fill the role of Poet Laureate of Ontario. Created in 2019 and named in memory of the late Gord Downie, this appointment is subject to the Poet Laureate of Ontario Act.
Ontario's Poet Laureate will be appointed for a two-year term as an Officer of the Legislative Assembly.
Warming Center Peer Job Fair
Date: December 6th, 2023
Time: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Location: Daniels Spectrum
Do you have lived experience of homelessness? Interested in peer work but don’t have training or experience?
This winter, Dixon Hall and the Toronto Shelter Network are expanding their peer work program at Warming Centers. They have partnered with TSN’s Pipeline Project to offer free, low-barrier, paid training for anyone interested in working as a peer with warming center visitors. Once training is complete, participants will be able to work at Warming Centre this season.
To apply, simply attend the job fair on December 6th at Daniel’s Spectrum. Staff will help you fill out an application and answer any questions you may have. You do not need any prior training or experience to apply.
Participants Needed - Long-Covid Study
Do you or someone you know have long-COVID or never had COVID-19? Consider joining Sunnybrook’s Neurocovid study by completing the pre-screening survey here! Contact them at [email protected] or [email protected] with any questions.
The spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses is increasing as the weather gets colder and people stay indoors. Learn more about testing options near you here