This past September, Metrolinx announced that the long-awaited Eglinton Crosstown LRT would be delayed another year to open in late 2023 - what I rightly called out as "piling on the devastation for businesses in the Toronto—St. Paul’s riding".
Now, the latest report from the Auditor General released this Wednesday warned of even more delays and design deficiencies through use of the public private partnership (P3) model.
This is not something our community can afford, especially after more than a decade of waiting.
Earlier today, myself and the Ontario NDP's GTA Critic, MPP Karpoche called for complete transparency from the Ford government and Metrolinx on what they know about what went wrong and, more importantly, what they're doing for our Toronto-St. Paul's community so that nothing else does.
Read our statement.
Yesterday, December 1, was World AIDS Day and a reminder of many things: that AIDS is not over, that we must fight all stigma, that HIV/AIDS survivors need more comprehensive public health education and are deserving of mental, social, and medical supports, that communities at risk need better access to testing, and that pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) must always be publicly funded.
I am so grateful to the many past and present activists who fought bravely against HIV/AIDS and against the tyranny of homophobia and transphobia, which drive inequities and spur the over-representation of vulnerable communities in the spread of HIV/AIDS.
I'm thankful for organizations such as The Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR) and The Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (Black Cap TO), which continue to fight the AIDS epidemic and enhance the quality of life for folks living with or affected by HIV/AIDS.
My heart goes out to all those we've lost to HIV/AIDS, and I commit to honouring their legacy by continuing to fight to ensure all receive the care, love, and respect they deserve. An estimated 62, 000 people are living with HIV in Canada, and it is our responsibility to see that they are able to lead long, healthy lives.
There is no shame in any disease or illness, and I stand with all who have been affected by this disease, particularly members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community and folks of colour, who have endured the brunt of this illness the longest. I see you.
From now until December 7 we also reflect on the solemn occasion of Indigenous AIDS Awareness Week, which calls on all of us to reduce HIV/AIDS-related stigma and support Indigenous people living with HIV/AIDS (IPHA) in our communities.
This commitment does not end this week, but continues wherever we see need or encounter opportunity to raise awareness or combat discrimination.
Thank you again to our ancestors who started this fight, and to the future generations who will continue their legacy.
Last Wednesday, a 20-year-old cyclist, Kartik Saini, was killed in our community at the intersection of Yonge and St. Clair. The Toronto Police Services has charged the driver in connection with Kartik's devastating and unavoidable death, but that can't be the end.
Time and again, the Ontario NDP has urged Ford's government to take cycling safety seriously and take tangible action to prevent road accidents. Members of our community are dying because of careless driving and roads ill-designed for cyclist safety.
I want to call attention to Vision Zero Plan, which focuses on reducing or eliminating traffic-related fatalities and injuries, and Bill 62, the Protecting Vulnerable Road Users Act.
We need to act to ensure what happened to Kartik, what happened to countless others, never happens again.
My heart goes out to the family of Kartik. The cost of traffic-related fatalities is too high. It has to end, and I stand with the many cycling advocates across our city in their fight for needed and systemic change.
On Saturday, December 3, our communities will join hands in defense of the Greenbelt and stand together against Ford's egregious Bill 23. Join us from 2:30 - 4:30 at Bay and College and make your voice heard!
More local events can be found here.
If folks are unable to attend in person, consider signing this petition!
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!
On December 4 from 10 AM to 2 PM, the Brentwood Towers Tenants' Association will be hosting its first annual Winter Artisan Bazaar in the Brentwood Towers Amenity Room, located at 19 Lascelles Blvd.
Be sure to swing by for handmade artisan crafts, baked goods, outdoor decor, jewelery, and so much more!
On Saturday, December 3 from 5-8 PM, the Oakwood Village BIA is hosting its Winter Warm Up Event! Come on down to Holland Park Avenue, next to Oakwood Library, for complimentary hot chocolate and treats, music, and dance. at 6 PM, there will be a performance by the Ontario School of Ballet Youth!
P.S. Attendees can enjoy the holiday tree at the Oakwood/Vaughan traffic island and leave a message of hope!
Saturday, December 10 brings us the Hillcrest Village Welcome Winter Holiday Event! From 10 AM to 2:30 PM in the Green P parking lot (car park 220 - 789 St Clair Ave West), folks can join in the celebration of the BIA's new seasonal decor. There will also be holiday music, free hot chocolate from Krave, and a dance presentation from St. Clair Dance Collective!
An ongoing reminder about our food drive, which begins NEXT WEEK: December is just around the corner, and more folks than ever are experiencing food insecurity. Due to a perfect storm of rising food costs, low social assistance rates, and the soaring cost of housing, our neighbours are in dire need of our help.
Ontario has seen a 16% increase in food bank visits over the last year, and many food banks are struggling to meet this demand. As someone who has experienced food insecurity first hand and has utilized food banks in the past, I want to do all that I can to ensure our community is fed throughout this difficult season.
While food insecurity is a systemic issue that demands a response by every level of government, I'm proud to partner with The Beeton Cupboard Food Bank as they deliver on-the-ground services to folks in need now.
From December 5 to December 12, my office will be accepting donations of non-perishable food items to support our neighbours in need. You need only reply to this email to arrange a time for drop-off. Folks who are unable to deliver but wish to donate are encouraged to reach out and we will do our best to facilitate collection!
The Beeton Cupboard Food Bank also accepts monetary donations via e-transfer sent to [email protected] with the message "food bank." A tax receipt will be issued to donors in the New Year - they need only supply a full name and address when donating.
Thank you so much for joining with me in making this season even a bit less stressful for our Toronto-St. Paul's residents!
Grace Church on the Hill will be hosting a concert with The Annex Singers on December 3. Attendees must be vaccinated and wear a mask. See their eventbrite for more details!
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.
Email [email protected] for more information and to reserve your tree!
BAM! Barns Art Market will be hosting a Holiday Market at Artscape Wychwood Barns (601 Christie Street) on December 4 from 10 AM - 4 PM. Come on down for some holiday shopping!
This weekend: The Christmas Arts Market at St. Michael & All Angels (611 St. Clair Ave. W) on Saturday, December 3 from 10 AM to 3 PM. Come on down for one-of-a-kind gifts, artwork, and baked goods! I hope to see you there!
On December 11, Holy Blossom Temple will be hosting "Gifts of Light: Voices of Our Children," the third annual interfaith holiday concert. All proceeds will be in support of Ukrainian Canadian Social Services Toronto. Don't forget to register!
Once again this year, Toronto Cares Initiatives will be hosting a Clothing & More Drive to support their Toy Deliveries to children in need. They had over 700 children registered within 24 hours of the list opening, so they need your help more than ever!
Clothing & More Pick-up Registration: www.toronto-cares.ca/annual-clothing-drive
Toy Registration WAITLIST & Donations: www.toronto-cares.ca/christmas-2022
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!