Exactly two years ago this week, demolition trucks from the Ford government moved into the Foundry site to demolish the heritage buildings at Eastern Avenue. Our community responded and organized a successful injunction with the City to stop Ford’s attack on local planning and to save our heritage.
As you probably remember, if the province did the dirty work of demolishing heritage properties, the land would be conveniently free of regulatory obstacles for whoever bought the land.
The Ontario NDP immediately submitted Freedom of Information requests to learn everything we could about what could only be a secret deal between Doug Ford and his developer buddies.
We finally heard back.
Ford dragged his feet in answering this FOI request. There is no good reason that it took two years for this government to release 51 of 275 pages about the Foundry. Over 80% of the documents were redacted including select media material and prepared questions and answers for the Premier and his Ministers, which expectedly would be public information in any case.
Ford is hiding information to try and bury a scandal. He doesn’t want his racketeering uncovered.
Furthermore, Friends of the Foundry has learned that the Foundry site was ultimately bought by a company owned by a member of the extended De Gasperis family — the same extended family who has been quietly buying land in the Greenbelt from Doug Ford.
I will appeal Ford’s redactions and continue fighting for our community to get the answers we deserve.
Ford should make all the documents available about what happened with the Foundry. You can read City News’ coverage of this and my work here!
Health Care Updates
Earlier this week, Doug Ford announced his plan to expand privatization in health care by diverting surgeries to for-profit providers.
Doug Ford is misleading us when he says that pouring money into for-profit health clinics will have no impact on us.
Ford has been scheming to privatize our public health care for years, starving the public system of funding, suppressing the wages of health care workers and pushing the system to the brink of collapse.
Make no mistake; pushing people desperate for surgeries to for-profit clinics will mean people paying for care with their credit cards. It will mean health care workers pulled out of hospitals.
The NDP will fight to protect Ontario's cherished public health system. Doug Ford must be stopped, or Ontarians will only see further erosion of our fundamental right to access publicly funded and publicly delivered health care, based on our needs, not our ability to pay. The Ontario NDP will use every tool available to protect our publicly funded healthcare system. We want to live in a province where everyone has access to affordable mental and physical health care.
See Marit Stiles’ response to Ford’s announcement here:
Happy Thai Pongal
Thai Pongal is a multi-day harvest festival celebrated by Tamil people around the world.
Thank you to the Toronto Sri Maha Ganapathy Temple for always welcoming me so graciously to your celebration. It's an honour to represent one of the most diverse & dynamic ridings in Ontario. Happy Thai Pongal to all celebrating!
Local Organizing for Real Affordable Housing
When I was the City Councillor, I advocated for and moved motions to expropriate the property at 214 – 230 Sherbourne by the City of Toronto to build new deeply affordable housing units.
The current purchaser of the land has a 47-storey condominium proposal on the table that does not prioritize the kinds of units we need to address the housing crisis.
I want to share the petition local organizers have made to demand that the City of Toronto expropriate the land and build the kinds of housing that we need to end homelessness.
Moss Park Demands Respect from Metrolinx
Meeting with the Moss Park Coalition Yesterday
As the Ontario Line’s construction inches forward, the provincial transit agency Metrolinx must answer community demands that have existed since the project was launched.
Our community members have spoken loudly and clearly to my office and Metrolinx: the 61 mature trees in Moss Park should be protected throughout the Ontario Line’s construction.
The Moss Park Coalition and I want to seed robust Community Benefits Agreements in the tender contracts to ensure that the jobs created by Ontario Line construction are good, green local jobs. You can read about how their advocacy is getting media attention in the Toronto Star this weekend here.
Report shows that Toronto's new mental health first responders service is working
At Council, I advocated for mental health first responders as a new service that could reduce the number of violent interactions between vulnerable people and police officers. The first report of the Toronto Community Crisis Service pilot shows that this new service is working!
Key findings are that:
- TCCS successfully diverted 78% of 1,530 calls received from 911 with no police involvement.
- TCCS received a total of 2,489 calls for service from 911, 211 and directly to community anchor partners. Of total calls received, 84% resulted in mobile teams being dispatched.
Investing in and building up this service will help make our community a safer place for everyone. Almost all of Toronto Centre (Ward 13) is in an area served by these new pilots. I am filled with hope seeing it move forward!
Whenever you call 911 in the Toronto Centre area about a person experiencing a mental health crisis, your call can now potentially be referred to an emergency mental health worker with Toronto Community Crisis Services.
Yours in community service,