I write this newsletter thinking about health and how it connects every one of us.
My family entered 2024 with incredible news. My wife Farrah is free of her small-cell cervical cancer. She is the strongest person I know and after months of gruelling treatments, this was hardwon and deeply joyous news. Our family is not out of the woods yet with breast cancer treatments ahead — but thanks to medical advances, the remaining cancer is substantially less threatening.
I want to thank the Princess Margaret Hospital medical team, our family and friends, and everyone in our community who stopped us on the street to wish Farrah well. Everyone’s care, love, and prayers mattered. Thank you.
While my family is grateful for the years we have to look forward to, all Canadians are looking back on the years we had with Ed Broadbent, who passed away yesterday. Ed Broadbent led the NDP from 1975 to 1989. He fought for a just society and taught us that good government promotes unity and citizens who are creative and cooperative. These are lessons we need now more than ever.
We will miss you Ed.
Yours in community service,
MPP, Toronto Centre
In this newsletter
- Save the date for Trans health care: February 29, 2024
- Toronto left out of Ontario's pre-budget consultations
- Toronto’s budget crisis and day of action
- Public dollars to renovate Staples?
- Local Community Events
Save the Date for Trans Health Care: February 29, 2024
I recently submitted notice to the Clerk at Queen’s Park that I will call up the Gender Affirming Health Care Act for my first ballot date at Queen’s Park. This will be the Gender Affirming Health Care Act’s second reading. I will have more details for you soon — if you are interested in helping lobby the government and advocate for this bill you can sign up here.
Ontario's pre-budget consultations matter. Every year, the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs tours Ontario to let people and organizations tell MPPs directly what they need in Ontario's next budget.
Ford left Toronto out of Ontario's budget consultation process this year. This is not normal.
It's saying two things: first, that he wants to avoid hearing from those he disagrees with, and second, that his $1500+-a-plate fundraisers in Toronto are the only pre-budget consultations that Torontonians can expect. My NDP colleague Catherine Fife moved to include Toronto on the pre-budget consultation schedule — and Ford PCs voted 'no.'
To make up for Ford's lack of leadership, your Official Ontario NDP Opposition is organizing a budget consultation on Thursday January 18, 2024 at Queen's Park so that you can have your chance to tell the government what you want to see in our budget.
Earlier this week, I was in Oakville for a day of pre-budget hearings with MPP Catherine Fife. We heard a consistent message from organizations: Ontario must fund health care and social services. There is nothing left to cut after decades of chronic underfunding by Liberal and Conservative governments — barebone programs are cracking.
This message was re-affirmed by news this week that Toronto Schools are seeing some of the worst staffing shortages we have ever seen. I want to echo what NDP MPP Bhutila Karpoche said that this did not happen overnight. Our kids need the government to invest in programs to recruit, train, and retain education assistants and support workers.
Toronto's Budget Crisis
While I am no longer a City Councillor, Toronto is still my city. I am sure many of you are wondering what my take is on how Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow announced this week what Toronto’s property tax increase might have to be if the Federal government doesn’t step up with funding for Toronto.
Funding cities primarily through property taxes is absurd. The Federal government must step up to the table with fair funding, or this property tax increase will be a Trudeau tax. In the long run, cities deserve real revenue tools, such as a share of HST revenue, to ensure that the city we love can love Torontonians back.
The Toronto Centre NDP is organizing a canvass to call on the Federal government to give Toronto a fair deal. On Sunday January 21, 2024, you can join Toronto Centre volunteers as we gather petitions for a day of action to talk to our neighbours about how we're calling on the federal government to support the City of Toronto. No prior canvassing experience is required, and training will be provided for first time canvassers. Be sure to dress warm and wear comfortable footwear!
Public Dollars to Renovate Staples?
Media reports are confirming the Ford Conservatives will be footing the bill with taxpayer money to retrofit Staples locations with ServiceOntario outposts.
I want to echo the words of my NDP colleague Tom Rakocevic that "it’s looking like Ford's Conservatives handed a sole-sourced contract to a large American corporation, allowing them to profit off of delivering key government services.”
“Again, we’re seeing this government refuse to be transparent about their backroom deals. We’re seeing them hand over more of our government services to mega corporations, using taxpayer dollars to help a private company’s bottom line.”
A job posting on Staples’ website shows the company is looking to hire ServiceOntario workers with the goal of “monetization of ServiceOntario traffic” and delivering “sales and profit results related to ServiceOntario traffic.”
People are already waiting too long to access basic government services. Now, the Ford government is letting Staples profit off of Ontarians while they wait. The Premier needs to come clean about why he is giving an American company a sole-sourced deal and how that will help people in Ontario.
It is not lost on me that schools, many public housing units, and courts across Ontario are in disrepair, but only corporations are being offered funding to renovate their properties.
Community Events & Info
City of Toronto Community Champion Awards
The City of Toronto in collaboration with United Way Greater Toronto is pleased to announce that nominations are now open for the Toronto Community Champion Award 2024 program.
In March 2023, the City recognized 25 organizations from across Toronto at the inaugural award ceremony. Due to the resounding success of this program, Toronto City Council agreed to continue this exciting program as an annual initiative.
The Toronto Community Champion Award recognizes and acknowledges the extraordinary contributions that community organizations make to support the health and solidarity of the residents of the City of Toronto, particularly those from Black, Indigenous and other equity deserving communities.
We encourage you to share the nomination form for the Toronto Community Champion Award with your constituents and community partners. The website is now open for Toronto residents to nominate organizations known for their “community collaboration”. The deadline to nominate is Sunday, February 4, 2024 at 11:55 p.m. Recipients will be announced in May 2024 and will be honoured at an award ceremony.
For more information on the Toronto Community Champion Award, including criteria and eligibility, and to access the nomination form, please visit the program’s webpage.
If you have any questions, please let us know. In the meantime, we are grateful for your support in getting the word out to encourage nominations in your riding.
Invite an Amazing Young Woman in Your Life to a Remarkable Assembly!
Are you beginning to pave your career path? Do you have an interest in civics and current affairs? Are you actively involved in your community? Do you have aspirations to seek public office or want to know what it's like to be a political representative? The Legislative Assembly of Ontario’s Women’s Forum will bring together 124 young women and gender diverse individuals from across Ontario for a full-day program in Toronto to promote active citizenship and public engagement though education and empowerment.
One individual between the ages of 18-30 will be selected from each provincial riding to represent their community and experience parliament in action, meet prominent Ontario women and key parliamentary figures, and gain a behind-the-scenes perspective of Ontario’s Parliament.
Applications are being accepted until January 21, 2024.
THE GREAT PAUSE
You are invited to THE GREAT PAUSE. This FREE event is a musical archive of how the pandemic impacted the Community Music Schools of Toronto (CMST) students in Regent Park and Jane Finch, and the ways that they made meaning of this unusual time.
Featuring both solo and ensemble performances by CMST students and faculty, this 13-song snapshot of our school community is based directly on interviews with parents, students, teachers and members of the immediate neighbourhoods.
Join us as we explore both the challenges and the beauty of what our communities made of THE GREAT PAUSE of our lifetime.
Employment and Education Information Fair
Learn about the education and employment opportunities available to you!
Speak to recruiters from universities and colleges in the GTA, and meet job developers who can help you find meaningful employment supports and career opportunities
January 19, 2024 from 1:00– 4:00 p.m.
Metro Hall, 55 John Street, Toronto
Rooms 308 & 309
St. Lawrence REmarket
The SLNA Waste Reduction Group is holding its 9th REmarket, a two-day event for the collection of unwanted items.
A totally free market (FreeMarket) will also be held. Guests can donate and/or take items for free (not for commercial resale). Bring your own bag.
Repair Café Toronto will be fixing clothing, jewelry, computers, home electronics, small appliances, housewares, and toys, while CultureLink Bike Hub will be doing small bike repairs and safety checks.
Full event details and guidelines can be found at: www.slna.ca/remarket-guidelines
Please email [email protected] with any questions.