Community News Update - December 12, 2022

Dear community,

It's a winter wonderland out there, and I had a weekend full of holiday festivities and community joy that I'm excited to be sharing with all of you!

Firstly, I want to thank so many of you for generously donating to my Holiday Food Drive in support of The Beeton Cupboard Food Bank! Tomorrow, we will be packing it all up and making our delivery, so stay tuned for that update on my social media, which will include a shout-out to a couple very generous constituent donors!

I was absolutely thrilled to attend 'da Kink in my Hair by Trey Anthony, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

I was one of many who attended this show 20 years ago, and the character Stacey-Anne has stuck with me through the decades. Not only is this play incredibly poignant, but as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I saw my own pain, hurt, and resilience in Stacey-Anne. She is a character the entire world needs to be introduced to.

So many powerful stories of Black women and girls on one stage! 'da Kink will be running until December 23 - you will not regret attending!

This weekend, I was enormously thrilled to perform one of my favourite holiday songs, "The Christmas Song," at Holy Blossom's Gifts of Light 3rd Annual Interfaith Holiday Concert! Ticket sales from this concert benefit children and families from Ukraine through a donation to Ukrainian Canadian Social Service Toronto. 

This concert also allowed us to join together and shine a light on all forms of antisemitism, and I'm so grateful I was invited to be part of this event and the ongoing fight against hate.

A special shout out is needed for the wonderful Leo Baeck Day School Choir!

I dropped by The Tollkeeper's Cottage cookie sale! The Tollkeeper's Cottage museum is open Saturdays from 11 - 4PM and always welcomes visitors. This cookie sale supports the not-for-profit and volunteer-driven museum, and it was delicious!

My delicious weekend continued with the Toronto Black Vegan Holiday Market at Wychwood Barns! Huge thanks are in order for Joe and the entire team for making this event possible!

This weekend also saw the Hippo Childcare Fundraiser Event! Hippo is a childcare co-op centre that has been running in our community of Toronto-St. Paul's for over 50 years - the founder helped change the province's rules on co-op daycares! A true staple in the community that I'm immensely grateful for.

In more upsetting news, this season will see the end of our beloved Hillcrest Market, which has been a community staple for the last 6 years. Congratulations on all these years, and thank you for being a mainstay for our local shopping!

Folks: try to show them some love with your shopping in the coming weeks!

It's no secret that since taking office in 2018, it has been Doug Ford's mission to privatize our province's public healthcare system to put a price on our human right to accessible and equitable healthcare. In doing so, he and his government have done all that they can to flatline our public system to the point where it seems privatization is the only thing that can save it.

Or so THEY think. Myself and thousands of folks showed up to remind him that privatization is not the answer, not what we stand for as a province, and that our public healthcare is not for sale.

A big thanks goes to Ontario Health Coalition for organizing this afternoon's event and their ongoing fight against Ford's agenda, as well as the many frontline healthcare workers, patients, and allies that faced the freezing cold to stand up for what's right! 

I also joined the Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups this morning to call on the Ford government to fix what's broken of the WSIB system to lift the 50% of injured workers living in poverty.

This means to end the process of 'deeming', listen to injured workers and their doctors, and stop the blame game on 'pre-existing conditions' to deny claims, and adjust their benefits to inflation, finally! This is along with investments into real affordable housing, doubling ODSP & OW rates, and ensuring a minimum wage that reflects the cost of living in this province so that all Ontarians can not just live, but thrive! 

That is what working for workers - ALL workers - means. The Ford government campaigned on it. Now's their time to ACT on it. 

Myself and my colleagues with the Ontario NDP sent a letter to the Minister of Transporation, MPP Mulroney earlier today calling for a public inquiry into the Eglinton Crosstown LRT project.

No one knows the devastation this project has led to more than our community here in Toronto-St. Paul's. For a decade, we've sacrificed a walkable neighbourhood, countless small businesses, hours of our days stuck in traffic and too often, a full night's rest for the sake of public transit that serves our community. But the shady P3 deal has meant we've sacrificed WAY more than we should have through delay after delay (now indefinitely) and a ballooning budget with what to show for it?

Our community deserves a running, safe, and functional transit line but for now, the LEAST we deserve is answers to why we don't after 10-plus years of waiting.

Sunday, December 18, the Toronto Community Bikeways Coalition returns with its 3rd Annual Cycling Good Cheer event on Yonge Street - look out for Santa!

The Toronto Fire Fighters Toy Drive is on! Donors can contribute at one of the links listed on their site, or deliver a new, unwrapped gift to a fire station in their community.

In Toronto-St. Pauls:

65 Henrick Avenue
20 Balmoral Avenue
555 Oakwood avenue

On Tuesday, December 13 at 4:30, The Yonge St. Clair BIA launches its Gingerbread Festival with the large scale gingerbread unveiling in the lobby of 2 St. Clair West! Come join for free gingerbread kits and more!

Don't forget: The Davisville Village Enchanted Forest of Lights & Holiday Party returns for another year! The Family Lights Package (which includes a 300 LED light set, battery pack, and family name plaque) can be purchased by Sunday, December 12 and the holiday party commences Saturday, December 17 at 4PM.

Buy your pack before it's too late - I've got mine!

Email [email protected] for more information and to reserve your tree!

A friendly reminder and invitation that Queen's Park is open to visitors! If you or an organization you work with would like to come watch your MPP advocate for people and planet, please email us as [email protected] to set up a visit - I'd love to meet you!

In Solidarity, 

Jill Andrew
Toronto-St. Paul's

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