Queen’s Park returned this week and so did Doug Ford’s shenanigans.
Despite promising to introduce legislation that would protect the Greenbelt — he has not done so yet. His government voted against Marit Stiles’ Greenbelt Restoration Act at first reading — something which is virtually unheard of. Almost all bills pass first reading. Voting in favour of a bill at first reading simply recognizes that the bill is suitable for debate and not offenssive.
The Greenbelt Restoration Act Marit Stiles put forward would:
- Repeal the Ford Conservatives’ 2022 Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve Repeal Act and restore provisions in the DRAP Act, 2005.
- Amend the 2001 Oak Ridges Conservation Act so lands the Ford Conservatives removed from the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan by regulation are again a part of the Oak Ridges Moraine Area and the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan.
- Amend the Greenbelt Act, 2005 to protect the lands that the Ford government removed by regulation in 2022.
- Helped mitigate any potential liabilities that the government may incur through the change in policy.
Ford is embarrassed and scared. His government is backpedaling while the sharks in his caucus taste blood in the water.
To keep the pressure on Doug Ford, Marit Stiles moved a motion for a special committee to investigate Ford’s Greenbelt Grab.
As Marit Stiles said, “I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again – we are going to use every legislative tool available to us to get to the bottom of the Ford Conservatives’ corruption scandal and restore trust, transparency, and accountability at Queen’s Park.”
People have lost trust in this government. Too many questions remain. Who in the government tipped off speculators to the Greenbelt changes? Who made the decision to change policy direction? We’ll keep asking questions until we uncover the full extent of the government’s all-too cozy relationships with well-connected speculators.
A prior Select Committee helped uncover misconduct in the former Liberal government’s gas plants scandal, which led to the former Premier’s chief of staff sentenced to four months in jail. The creation of that Select Committee was supported by MPPs from all parties.
As you might expect, I was excited to return to Queen’s Park swinging at the Ford government.
On Monday, I demanded that Ford apologize to educators and Trans Ontarians for his inflammatory language that is actively making schools unsafe for 2SLGTBQI+ students. You can watch and share my question here.
And earlier today I had the chance to call attention to heart-breaking criminal cases that the Ontario Superior Court dismissed due to ‘inexplicable’ delays. Everyone who has been following the administration of justice in Ontario knows that the delays are not inexplicable: they are the direct, predictable consequence of this government’s chronic underfunding and meddling with appointments.
While the bar is low for the quality of the answers this government provides, this answer was particularly egregious. I asked the Minister about a stabbing and shooting in Toronto Centre this week that stems from his failure to fix our bail system. But his final answer to "our criminal justice system is collapsing and victims aren't getting justice" was essentially "you're welcome". Shame.
Finally, beginning this Friday, community members and organizations will recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. There will be many events taking place in our community to help you recognize this important day and show support for local Indigenous organizations.
Beginning tomorrow, the Indigenous Legacy Gathering at Nathan Phillips Square is organized by Council Fire. Friday and Saturday will be busy with a full schedule of events from 7 AM on Friday to 8 PM on Saturday. You can see the schedule here.
Additionally, Friday, September 29, will be the Mid-Autumn Festival! I hope that everyone celebrating can gather with their families to enjoy good health and prosperity.
Yours in community service,
MPP, Toronto Centre
Ontario Rallies to Stop Health Care Privatization
Health care is not for sale! It was an honour joining labour and community advocates from across Ontario this week calling for an end to Ford's privatization plan. We saved the Greenbelt — now let's save public health care!
Justice for Grassy Narrows
It is an honor to stand with First Nations Land Defenders and allies to call for justice and respect for First Nations. Ford is refusing to meet with Northern Ontario Chiefs, reinforcing his pattern of encroaching on Indigenous land without consultation. Grassy Narrows and all other nations have the right to Free Prior and Informed Consent!
Save Small Businesses
The next economic downtown is ahead — if it isn't already here. The Federal government has been asked by the commanding majority of small business stakeholders to extend the loan forgiveness deadline for CEBA loans by a year. Not doing this will force thousands of small businesses to take out new loans at today's painfully high interest rates. This means small shops will close. Workers will lose their jobs. The Federal NDP publicly supports this change to save small businesses. You can read the Federal NDP's statement here.
Justin Trudeau must sit down with small business stakeholders and accommodate small businesses' needs in the middle of a downtown. Immediately.
Upcoming Community Events
ACT NOW! Stop Demovictions/Renovictions!
No Demovictions Toronto is hosting 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 No Demovictions Toronto’s complete list of demands here — I’m looking forward to seeing you there!
Dixon Hall Hospitality and Food Industry Job Fair
Join Dixon Hall on Thursday Oct 5th, from 11 AM to 3 PM for their Hospitality and Food Industry Job Fair! This is a great chance to speak with prominent leaders in the sector, make connections, and even land a great job!
To register, email [email protected]
Downtown Yonge Safe & Inclusive Neighbourhood Survey 2023
The Downtown Yonge BIA has put out a survey to understand the community's concerns around safety and inclusion. If you can, please spare a few minutes to give your input on these essential neighbourhood questions.
Please note that the Downtown Yonge is defined by Bloor Street in the North, Bay Street in the West, Richmond Street in the South, and Church Street in the East.
Follow this link to enter the survey! All respondents who complete the survey by September 30, 2023, can enter for a chance to win:
- One (1) "Exotic Escape for Two Retreat" Elmwood Spa package;
- One (1) set of two (2) tickets to the musical "Chicago" at the CAA Ed Mirvish Theatre;
- Two (2) $200 Little Canada Giftcards;
- Two (2) $50 Hailed Coffee Giftcards;
- Three (3) $50 Le Genie Bakery & Espresso Giftcards and
- One (1) $200 Adega restaurant Giftcard
St. James Town Thanksgiving
Ahead of Thanksgiving weekend, register for The Corner’s Thanksgiving meal on October 6, 2023, from 12 PM to 2 PM.
Halal and vegetarian options will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Places are limited, so please register by calling 416-964-6657 or visit The Corner at 200 or 250 Wellesley St. East. Find out more information here.
How did you Enjoy the 2023 Cabbagetown Festival?
Did you have a great time at this year’s Cabbagetown Festival? I know that my team and I did!
They are conducting a survey on how local businesses, residents, and visitors liked the festival. You could win 1-of-2 $100 gift cards for a local Cabbagetown shop!
The deadline to complete is October 6 — fill out the survey here.
Advocacy Healthcare System Workshop
Hope Leads is conducting a health and advocacy workshop to support women and gender-diverse community members to improve their understanding of the Canadian healthcare system, develop self-advocacy skills, and build capacity within the healthcare systems to sustain improvements.
To participate, you must:
- Self-identify as a woman, non-binary, or gender-diverse person in Canada with lived experience(s) of barriers to healthcare and income inequality — we prioritize Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour, folks with disabilities, neurodiverse people, migrants, immigrants, newcomers, refugees, non-citizens, members of the Two-Spirit and LGBTQIAA+ community and those from under-served and under-represented communities that have access to less robust protections and fewer resources;
- are able to attend a live online class on Eastern time (The date will be shared with participants)
- are 18 years and older;
- are comfortable engaging in a closed online group setting with a camera and mic on;
- can provide GOOD TO BE GOOD with the information we need to ensure a successful session.
Visit the link here to fill out the form to sign up!
Regent Park Borrow a Grandparent
Families in Regent Park are invited to “Borrow a Grandparent” and spend time with older adults in the community and enjoy storytelling, games, music, button making, and reading.
When: Saturday, September 30, 2-4pm
Where: Daniels Spectrum Community Living Room (585 Dundas St East)
BIPOC Youth Fellowship Opportunity
ICON Talent Partners is now accepting applications from interested candidates for their 2023-2024 Fellowship class.
Their Fellowship is a comprehensive 6-month program whereby they expose top BIPOC talent to competitive careers in sectors such as banking/finance, management consulting, venture capital, private equity, technology/innovation, startups, sports/entertainment and much much more!
This completely FREE program strives to expose BIPOC high school students, university students, graduate/professional students and young professionals to the multitude of opportunities and careers that exist and which they can excel.