It has been a whirlwind week with many exciting events and updates to share with you.
In this newsletter:
- MPP Marit Stiles submits documents showing that a land developer appears to have known about Ford’s Greenbelt scheme before it was public
- My press conference today about saving Ontario’s Tribunals from Doug Ford
- Updates from a week of committee hearings on bail reform
- Save the date! Rally to Stop Health Care Privatization on Wed February 22, 2023
Greenbelt Giveaways Were Promised by Ford?
Marit Stiles, the incoming leader of the Ontario NDP, revealed new information about the Ford government’s plan to carve up the Greenbelt. Her obtained documents reveal that a land development company seems to have had advance knowledge of Ford’s plan before it was made public.
Three days before Ford’s announcement to tear up the Greenbelt was made public, Rice Group, a land development company, told the Mayor of King Township that a parcel of land could be provided for a nominal fee for a local project. At the time, that land was a protected part of the Greenbelt. Just three days later, the Ford government announced their intent to make the land available.
“This finding indicates to us that somebody knew something”, reported Marit Stiles. “I am confident that the Integrity Commissioner will review this information and provide Ontarians with the answers they deserve about the Greenbelt”.
Ontario NDP Calls on Ford to Clear the Ontario Tribunals Backlog
As the Official Opposition Critic for the Ministry of the Attorney General, I have been diligently tracking the long-awaited report from Ontario’s Ombudsman, who has been investigating delays at the Landlord and Tenant Board since 2020. My office heard from the Ombudsman’s Office yesterday that the report is still being drafted and is unlikely to be released in the coming month as there is an approval process the Ombudsman must follow before the report can be made public.
Ontarians need to be ready to fight like hell for access to justice. Because I don’t trust Ford to not seize his opportunity to give his corporate landlord insider buddies the eviction rubber-stamping kangaroo courts that we know they crave.
You can watch today’s press conference here.
You can learn more about this by joining my expert panel on February 15, 2023, to learn from access to justice experts about how we got here and what solutions to Ontario’s backlogged tribunals could look like.
Register for my Feb 15, 2023 panel: Tribunals in Crisis
Guests will include Kathy Laird and Gary Yee — two members from the Steering Committee of Tribunal Watch Ontario, a non-partisan public interest watchdog concerned about independence and access to justice for Ontario’s adjudicative tribunals.
Rally Against Ford’s Plans to Privatize Public Health Care
Show that Ontarians are united against Ford’s plans for private American-style health care. Toronto NDP MPPs are organizing a rally to show that Ontarians will not give up on our public health care system on Wednesday February 22, 2023 — the day when Ford is expected to introduce his legislation at Queen’s Park.
What: Rally to Save Public Health Care
When: Wednesday February 22, 2023 at 5 p.m.
Where: Corner of University and College St.
RSVP: Want to join the TCNDP contingent?
Welcome Marit as the New Ontario NDP Leader this Saturday!
What an exciting time to be a New Democrat as we come together this Saturday to welcome our new leader, Marit Stiles! I say we give Marit, the biggest and warmest Toronto Centre greeting together.
I invite you to join me and fellow Toronto Centre NDP members at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre located at 255 Front Street West, in the North Building, Room 107. Doors open at 10:30 a.m. and the exciting official event begins at 11 a.m. If you haven’t already, please sign up by clicking here.
Following the leadership showcase and announcement, there will be a Meet & Greet Social with the new Leader, Marit Stiles. This event is free to attend and will be hosted at 2 p.m. at Chef's Hall, located close by at 111 Richmond Street West.
As this event is indoors, please bring a mask with you to wear at the event. Organizers will ask attendees to wear a mask upon entry. If you have forgotten, no need to worry, as masks will also be provided. And if you are feeling unwell, there is the option to watch on the livestream, here.
I look forward to seeing you this coming Saturday, February 4!
Bail Reform Committee Hearings
I had an early return to Queen’s Park this week for Justice Policy Committee hearings on bail reform. Many Ontarians feel our bail system is broken, and I hope that government members listen to the systemic reforms Ontarians are calling for to ensure our families are truly kept safe.
We heard from experts who shared many remedial actions the Ford government can take right now to make our communities safer, including :
- increasing funding for mental health and addictions support and supportive shelters
- appropriately resourcing our court system
- advancing creative solutions to better utilize existing resources, such as developing bail compliance programs and creating dedicated bail teams in our courts
Since 2018, 77% of the people held in detention are on remand or awaiting a hearing, and that most of those individuals are caught up in a system that can’t appropriately address criminal behaviours related to the epidemics of mental illness and addictions.
When the system is so clogged up with people who don’t pose a risk to the public and offences that would be better addressed with health care and housing, the real dangerous people fall through the cracks.
Happy Black History Month!
Every February, let's re-commit to ending anti-Black racism with social action. A better future for the Black community in Ontario requires us to acknowledge, understand & educate ourselves. Celebrate #BlackHistoryMonth all year long.
Other Community News
- In a historic court ruling, an Ontario Superior Court banned Waterloo from evicting encampment residents when the city’s shelter system has no available beds
- Ontario New Democrats are keeping the pressure on Ford to tackle the shadow rental market — driven by illegal AirBnB units — that reduce available housing in Toronto
- You might know Julianna Notten — the partner of Toronto Centre’s own Emma Beattie. Julianna’s new feature film Erin’s Guide to Kissing Girls is premiering at the Carlton Cinema tomorrow. You can watch this wholesome story about friendship and queer coming-of-age at the Carlton Cinema until February 9 and following Erin’s Guide to Kissing Girls on Instagram
I look forward to seeing you as we welcome Marit Stiles as the new Ontario NDP leader this Saturday.