This Sunday, January 22, marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Rabbit, which occurs every 12 years. The Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese zodiac symbolizes longevity, positivity, auspiciousness, wittiness, cautiousness, cleverness, deftness and self-protection. The new year brings new fortunes, and in 2023, people can expect prosperity, hope, and calm. This is also my personal wish for all of you.
In China and some parts of Asia, the new year holiday season continues for 15 days and obviously that is not the case for us proudly living and working in Canada. During this time, however, you choose to celebrate the lunar new year with friends and family, I hope you are able to give and receive lucky red envelopes, to eat delicious food including sweet rice balls and socialize safely in community celebrations.
On Wednesday, I was more than honoured to begin my own Lunar New Year’s celebration with so many of you, in the heart of Chinatown, at the Luminato Festival! I spent the evening connecting and listening to community members, local organisations and other MPPs.
If you are looking for local Lunar New Year festivities in Toronto Centre, you can join me and pick up your lucky red envelopes at two upcoming events:
- Lunar New Year Children’s Book Reading at Parliament St Library — Saturday January 21, 2023 from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
- Lunar New Year at the Eaton Centre, on Level 2 Albert’s Way featuring Carmen Chan, traditional music, and a Lion Dance! On Saturday January 28, 2023 from 2–4 p.m.
Greenbelt Investigation Updates
Since my previous newsletter, key updates have come out about Ford’s shady plan to pave over the Greenbelt.
Thanks to 200 pages of evidence documenting how Ford’s plan to give away the Greenbelt violates the integrity standards for Ontario politicians (and may constitute unlawfully sharing insider information), the Integrity Commissioner and Auditor General will be moving forward with an investigation!
This means that the NDP has won an investigation into Ford’s Greenbelt development plan by both Ontario’s Auditor general and its Integrity Commissioner.
I want to highlight, Marit Stiles, incoming Leader of the Official Opposition, in writing that this response is a step in the right direction. Ontarians, like yourself, deserve transparency and accountability from their government. Read Marit’s statement here.
And if you want to get caught up about how the decisions to investigate were made, look no further than this article in The Narwhal; it explores the connection between six developers who bought Greenbelt land and Doug Ford. I also share my insight about the whole fiasco in this video:
Yonge Street Updates
Let's make the Midtown Complete Street Pilot project on Yonge Street Permanent!
If you have walked, rolled, cycled or moved along Yonge Street between Bloor and Davisville over the past year you may have enjoyed a heightened feeling of community and safety created by the installation of complete street infrastructure including bike lanes, planters, CafeTO venues, public art, seating and redesigned intersections. Installed after approval by city council in December of 2021, many people do not realize that this is a pilot project. In early February, City Council will vote on whether this becomes permanent or goes away for good.
City of Toronto staff recently published data that I believe justifies its continuation: Pedestrian use of the area has increased as much as 142 percent and cycling has increased as much as 152 percent, while the increase in vehicle travel times northbound (which has seen greater increase than southbound) is just 78 seconds. Travel times of Toronto Fire Services have increased just 5 seconds more than what has been experienced across the city and travel time for Toronto Paramedic Services is 38 seconds less than what is happening across the city.
There are just a few weeks left to voice support for making the Midtown Complete Street Pilot permanent. Make your voice heard by signing the petition, organized by the community advocacy group Yonge4All, that will be sent to Mayor Tory.
From my family to yours, we wish you peace, health, happiness and good fortune in the New Year.