I have one exciting and one frustrating update for you today, so lets get right into it:
On Saturday I was thrilled to join thousands of New Democrats in Toronto and across Ontario (and beyond!) to officially welcome Marit Stiles as our new Leader.
During the short time that I have known Marit she has become a trusted colleague, an experienced MPP who I look to, and a friend. She is fierce in the face of injustice and not afraid to speak her mind, but she also has an incredible warmth to her and a gift for connecting with everyone she interacts with. Many of you met her at our holiday party and witnessed her warmth and care first hand.
I can’t wait to see what Marit accomplishes over the next three years as Leader and in 2026 when she becomes the next Premier of Ontario. There is a lot of work ahead of us, but Marit has been working hard for the Ontario we all love for years and I know she is just getting started. Click here to learn more about Marit, her achievements, and her vision for our party.
I also want to thank our outgoing Interim Leader, Peter Tabuns, for all of his work. He did an incredible job of keeping our caucus steady, cohesive, and on-track. His calm strength, sense of humor, and down-to-earth nature was just what we needed during this transitional time. Thank you Peter!
Metrolinx Cuts Mature Trees Despite Injunction and Community Opposition
On Saturday, many residents in Toronto Centre were horrified to learn that Metrolinx cut down 61 mature and healthy trees in Moss Park despite ongoing local objections from the community and elected officials. I have spoken out against this matter many times with Metrolinx leadership including with their CEO Phil Verster.
Toronto needs transit built. But Metrolinx is choosing to build transit without consulting our communities. The fallout of their refusal to listen to our communities will inevitably further delay urgently needed transit.
I have repeatedly asked Metrolinx to not cut-and-cover Moss Park and to immediately work with the City and community to find an alternative resolution that will have the least impact on the green space and trees in the area. Just look at my motion from 2021 at Toronto City Council that Metrolinx chose to ignore.
Shame on Metrolinx for taking advantage of some of the coldest weather we have experienced this winter as an opportunity to clear cut trees while many residents were forced to stay indoors to keep warm.
Metrolinx promised community consultation and knew that Toronto Centre residents wanted to keep our tree canopy in Moss Park. Doug Ford and his PC government are letting Metrolinx run roughshod over Toronto neighbourhoods - from Moss Park to Osgoode Hall and beyond. Their renegade actions are throwing Toronto’s ability to trust this government’s promises for any real Community Benefits Agreements into doubt. Why should Toronto and anyone else trust Metrolinx after this?
My office will submit Freedom of Information requests to learn who authorized Saturday’s actions without reasonable consultation or notice and hold them accountable. I will also be demanding a meeting with Metrolinx’s CEO, Phil Verster.
Metrolinx historically updated my office about pending road closures and construction — but not this past weekend.
The lack of transparency and accountability from Metrolinx continues to be unacceptable. Building trust with communities is critical for the success of any public project. Community Benefits Agreements including employment benefits are still outstanding negotiations with our neighbourhood.
Click here to watch me break down Saturday's events.
The community and I will remain steadfast in our advocacy to ensure that the very best outcome can be achieved. It’s time for Metrolinx to build the Ontario Line differently. Our Toronto Centre communities already lack access to green space. And now, thanks to Metrolinx, we have even less green space today.
As we have seen, Metrolinx is no longer keeping my office apprised with all updates about the Moss Park site. Therefore, we have to rely on each other to make sure information is being shared. If you see anything concerning, please don’t hesitate to email me at [email protected] — your updates are vital!
Yours in community & solidarity,