I want to wish everyone celebrating a happy Rosh Hashanah! I hope that the year ahead of us brings everyone the best of health, happiness, and success.
This was another eventful week in provincial politics, with Global News publishing Ford’s mandate letters from 2018. CBC also reported that Ford spent over 1672 hours of Crown Attorney's time fighting their release. Ford’s mandate letters show a pattern we saw during his first term — he is fixated on cutting the public services we rely on.
It is crucial to stress that Ford has not published his mandate letters from the current 2022-2026 term.
On a lighter note, I want to thank all our amazing volunteers and community members who came out for the St. James Town and Cabbagetown Festivals last weekend! The streets were packed, and our local shops were busy. In fact, our big orange NDP tent had so many visitors that we’ll need to re-order new swag to replenish our supplies. What a way to wrap up the summer!
To round out the busy week, yesterday I returned to Queen’s Park for Estimates Committee meetings, where I asked pointed questions to the Solicitor General and the Minister of Public and Business Service Delivery. The Estimates Committee is a standing committee where we review how the government is spending the money allocated in the budget and have the opportunity to question Ministers and government staff.
I used this opportunity to draw attention to a series of news stories this week about the crisis in Ontario Courts. It was reported that Judges are refusing to sit in Ontario’s Milton courthouse because it is literally falling apart, while Liberal and PC governments have ignored courthouse workers calling for urgently needed repairs. You can see my CP24 interview here or listen to my interview on Newstalk 1010 here.
Yours in community service,
MPP, Toronto Centre
Regent Park OUT LOUD
This upcoming Sunday, September 17, is Regent Park’s newest Pride event, OUT LOUD!
This one-day block party is themed to promote equity and inclusivity. Join us on Regent Park Boulevard from 12 PM to 7 PM. You can register and find out more about this fantastic event here.
Our team will be there all day, so please come by to say hi! Look for our big orange tent, where we will be giving away more prizes. There will also be music, vendors, entertainers, arts & crafts, cotton candy, children's games, and even a cookie bar. Yes, you read that right, a cookie bar!
Happy 30th Birthday PAL!
Happy 30th Birthday to Toronto's Performing Arts Lodge!
PAL provides invaluable housing and support to performing artists and arts workers. They were early pioneers of the St Lawrence neighbourhood and helped create a beautiful community.
PAL teamed up with Commfest to host a joyful block-long celebration on Market Street. I have been a champion of PAL and co-op housing my entire life and public career, and I couldn’t be prouder to celebrate this significant milestone with them!
Ontario Place News
Leader Marit Stiles and Ontario NDP have condemned new renderings of Ford’s Ontario Place scheme. MPP Chris Glover represents the riding of Spadina Fort York, home of the beautiful natural waterfront habitat that Ontario Place rests on. I want to share my colleague’s statement here, which I fully support:
Ontario Place’s West Island is a mature forest that provides habitat to more than 125 species of birds, as well as mink, beavers, and foxes. It’s a precious greenspace in Downtown Toronto, where that is pretty rare. Just like carving up the Greenbelt, this is a real disservice to our environment and to future generations of Ontarians.
It shows how committed this government is to these shady backroom deals, especially in light of their Greenbelt corruption scandal. Here, they’re pushing forward with a backroom deal that emerged from a shady procurement process that gave a private corporation, Therme Group, control over some of Canada's most valuable public parkland.
The entire process surrounding the Ontario Place lease has been deeply flawed and shrouded in secrecy. This 'new' footprint is nothing but a regurgitation of their old, recycled plan. Ontario Place is public land cherished by generations of Ontarians. A 95-year lease that forces the public to pay half a billion dollars for a new parking garage while handing over public land to a private luxury spa is wrong.
Let's be clear - this is not what Ontarians want. Given this government's track record of scandals and questionable backroom deals, we have every right to be deeply troubled. The Ford Conservatives must cancel this lease and go back to the drawing board to engage in a fair and transparent process that truly respects the wishes and concerns of Ontarians."
The procurement process surrounding this luxury spa has been marred by flaws, including recent revelations from an FOI report that no fairness monitor was in place, raising serious concerns about transparency and fairness.
ONDP files elections complaint over questionable donations to Ford’s Conservative Party
Amidst the Ford Conservatives’ corruption scandal, the Ontario NDP has filed an official complaint with Elections Ontario over questionable donations made to the Conservative Party.
The donations in question appear to be from Municipal Solutions, a lobbying company helmed by John Mutton, who multiple sources identify as the “Mr. X” from the Integrity Commissioner’s report.
Ford’s Conservative Party can’t say who paid for these donations, which were for tickets to a record-breaking $6 million fundraiser held behind closed doors. Official documents suggest Municipal Solutions purchased two $1,500 tickets to a Conservative fundraiser and gave them to municipal politicians.
The Conservative Party’s required donations disclosures to Elections Ontario do not include the names of Mutton, the two municipal politicians who used the tickets, or Municipal Solutions.
In a letter to Elections Ontario, Provincial Director Kevin Beaulieu asked the Chief Electoral Officer to investigate these – and other – donations made to the Conservatives.
Ontario’s Election Finances Act prohibits political parties from accepting corporate donations. Donations may also not be made on behalf of someone else.
New TTC improvements: Thanks to our new Mayor, Olivia Chow
Recently, the City of Toronto and the Toronto Transit Commission have announced two pieces of big news. First, all TTC subway riders will be getting cellphone service starting October 3rd! Torontonians will no longer have to be brought back to the stone age when they ride the subway. After over a decade, Mayor Olivia Chow and François-Philippe Champagne, Federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, have successfully ended Rogers’ hold over underground wireless coverage.
More exciting news is that TTC service is restored to near pre-pandemic levels this fall. Aside from initial service cuts in 2020 due to the pandemic, previous Mayor John Tory again cut service on the TTC back in May of 2023. You can read more about how the TTC is returning to full service here, including in Scarborough.
Upcoming Community Events
ACT NOW! Stop Demovictions/Renovictions!
ACTNOW is hoisting a rally against demovictions and renovictions this coming October 2 at 5 PM at City Hall. Tenants, this is your time to speak out!
This will be a public call to action to demand government prioritize affordable, purpose-built rental buildings in Toronto. We are seeing a record number of rental units being destroyed, leaving our affordable housing stock meager and forcing seniors, families, and low-income individuals into dire financial stress.
You can see ACTNOW’s complete list of demands here — I’m looking forward to seeing you there!
BOLT Youth in Trades Info Session
Are you 17-29 years old and interested in a career in the trades? This information session hosted by BOLT, Tridel's charitable arm, is for you! Learn about the finishing trades, understand how to start your career, and enjoy a complimentary lunch.
When: Wednesday, September 20, 12-3 PM
Where: Yonge Street Mission, 306 Gerrard Street East
Downtown East Action Plan Community Forum
The Downtown East Action Plan provides a set of actions to coordinate City services and address complex challenges in Toronto’s Downtown East related to poverty, homelessness, community safety, mental health, substance use, and the drug poisoning crises.
Join Fred Victor for their final Community Forum on Wednesday, September 20th, from 6 PM to 8 PM at the John Ines Community Center. Share your thoughts about the action plan, hear updates, and discuss practical next steps.
Regent Park Harvest Festival
Join Fred Victor, Friends of Regent Park, and Muslim Welfare Canada on Saturday, September 16, for their annual Harvest Festival. Celebrate Regent Park gardeners, enjoy a community meal, kids’s activities, a raffle, and more!
The event will be hosted in the Big Park Communal Garden at 620 Dundas Street East from 11 AM-1:30 PM.
If you have questions, email Ashrafi Ahmedat [email protected]. See you there!
Keep Healthcare Public - Mass Protest at Queen’s Park
Join the Ontario Health Coalition on the first day of the new legislative session to send a strong message to Doug Ford and his government — healthcare is not for sale and needs massive public investment to serve Ontarians appropriately. RSVP here
When: September 25, 12 PM
Where: Queen’s Park South Lawn
Regent Park Film Festival - Screening of Shooting Indians
Regent Park Film Festival is excited to host a special FREE community screening of the 1997 documentary Shooting Indians: A Journey with Jeffrey Thomas. Join them for this free event, followed by a talkback with the filmmakers! RSVP here, and tickets are first-come, first-served.
When: Thursday, September 21 - doors open at 6:30 PM, movie starts at 7:00 PM.
Where: Imagine Cinemas Carlton Cinema - 20 Carlton Street