Countdown to our campaign launch: 8 days!
Join me and our incredible Toronto-St. Paul’s community as we kick off my re-election campaign next Saturday, April 30 at 2pm at the Midtown Gastrohub (located at 1535 Yonge Street). The event will include food & drinks (outdoors to keep things COVID-safe), inspiring speeches, entertainment and most importantly, YOU. I am beyond excited to see and THANK each of you for making the first four years I’ve spent as MPP the adventure of a lifetime as we wave hello to the next four.
We are asking that everyone wears their masks if they are not drinking or eating. We will also be checking proofs of vaccination at the door.
I’d like to wish everyone a happy Earth Day (and a beautiful one at that!). Each Earth Day is a reminder that we’ve only got one Earth. While it’s on ALL of us to do our part to take care of it, it’s on us as LEGISLATORS to give people the tools that make it possible. That includes investing in public transit to make it affordable and accessible for all, retrofitting homes to maximize energy efficiency, and protecting our green spaces and ecosystems, all while creating hundreds of thousands well paying jobs and yes, BOOSTING the economy.
This is what our Green New Democratic Deal will do, as the boldest climate plan in our province’s history. And today, the NDP Leader Andrea Horwath announced that our Party will establish Ontario’s first Youth Climate Corps to give young Ontarians and climate activists paid hands-on work experience, and a role in fighting the climate crisis.
The Youth Climate Corps program will give young Ontarians the opportunity to gain knowledge and training to level-up their skills through a paid program that will also count towards post-secondary credit. Participants will work on climate projects to restore and enhance Ontario’s natural landscape, including contributing to the NDP’s commitment to plant one billion trees by 2030 with the goal of reducing Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions through natural carbon sequestration.
Because we can’t afford to wait. The climate crisis won’t, so why should we?
Earlier this week, I had the honor of joining my friend and neighbour, Sheri Cohen for a beautiful Passover Seder, presided over Rabbi Shalom Schachter. I was also accompanied by the leader, Andrea Horwath, Irwin Elman, our candidate for Don Valley West and the former Independent Child & Youth Advocate at Queen’s Park, and other Jewish community members of Toronto-St. Paul’s. I cannot thank Sheri and Rabbi Shalom Schachter enough for inviting us to take part in what was a truly magical evening of tradition, learning, and reflecting on the meaning of Passover; both for its history and a future made brighter for all by putting its teachings and values into practice year-round.
Last night, I joined my friend and former MP for Parkdale-High Park, Peggy Nash for a virtual fireside chat on what it takes to elect women and gender diverse persons into office.
A fair and equitable province for ALL Ontarians, including women and gender-diverse folks, means making voices that have been left out for too long finally heard in the very policies that impact them most. While this takes many, many forms, electing these folks is certainly one of them. Representation matters. Representation makes change!
This was the reason behind Peggy Nash’s upcoming book: Women Winning Office: An Activist’s Guide to Getting Elected which will be available as of May 2nd. I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy and have had a hard time putting it down. It’s as compelling as it is helpful for women and gender-diverse folks who’ve ever wondered “could I do that”? The answer is yes. You can!
Operation Black Vote also held their leaders debate last night with Andrea Horwath, and the leaders from both the Liberal and Green Parties. Notably missing was Doug Ford; a brazen signal to his priorities – both in his 4 years spent as Premier and going into the election.
Regardless, it was an insightful conversation talking many of the issues Black folks face in this province; from racial equity in education to affordable housing to police reform and finally, REAL oversight and supporting Black entrepreneurship across Ontario, including our own community.
As we know, Little Jamaica has been devastated over the course of the pandemic AND long before due to construction delay after delay on the Eglinton Crosstown. Past governments – both Liberal and Conservative – watched as businesses drowned without a hand to bring them to the surface. These were, of course, predominantly Black owned and more, foundational to the rich culture and history that has propelled Toronto to what it is today.
The Ontario NDP will change this.
Yesterday, myself and leader Andrea Horwath announced the launch of a $20 million Black Business Recovery Fund to keep Black businesses alive and thriving and specifically, Little Jamaica as the vital piece of our province’s rich heritage and culture it is.
Read our statement here.
Also yesterday, the leader shared an exciting announcement. As elected government, the Ontario NDP will make prescription contraception cost-free under OHIP.
Reproductive healthcare is healthcare and to have a financial burden attached to it is simply wrong. This is a cost that almost always falls on women’s shoulders and as we have yet to achieve gender equity in this province, lifting this financial burden is a vital step to getting us there. As Critic for Women’s Issues with the Ontario NDP, this was reason enough for me. But the truth is, we ALL benefit from this needed healthcare investment.
Support reproductive rights. Support reproductive health. Sign your name!
It was another great week canvassing, knocking on doors, and meeting community in the streets. Yesterday, I was joined by OSSTF members, as well as our local volunteers as we braved the rain to talk to Toronto-St. Paul’s folks, listen to the issues they’re facing and how we can support them as government!
To have the support of educators and volunteers of our community means the world. It’s their enthusiasm, love, and shared hope for a better Ontario that will push us to the finish line.
If you’d like to join me on the trail, you can sign up to volunteer here!
Lastly, the Ontario Federation of Labour’s Women’s Election Summit is happening tomorrow from 10AM to 2PM where I’m honored to join as a panelist for the ‘What’s at Stake for Women in the Provincial Election’. With over 100,000 members, the OFL has been a catalyst for labour rights in this province and the EQUITY that comes with them. And after two years of this pandemic that has disproportionately impacted women, gender-diverse and other marginalized folks, this conversation is much-needed to mobilize, organize and ELECT our way to a better future for all workers in this province.
To learn more about the summit or RSVP, click here.