Today is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls, and also marks the start of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. We must come together in our communities to keep women, girls, trans, and NB folks safe from all forms of violence.
Approximately every six days, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner. However, as many of you already know, this rate is exacerbated for folks with intersecting identities - racialized women, Indigenous women, 2SLGBTQIA+ folks, women with disabilities, women in rural communities, immigrant women, sex workers, women experiencing homelessness. Around 6 in 10 Indigenous women have experienced or will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime.
These numbers are staggering, and, devastatingly, they've only worsened throughout the pandemic.
As always, I remain so grateful for the many organizations across our community whose commitments to ending gender-based violence are a light in an otherwise very dark chapter.
Folks like those at Canadian Women's Foundation, who rise up to meet immense community need.
And the Counterpoint Counselling and Educational Cooperative, whose mission is to end gender-based violence by teaching men to build healthy, respectful, and non-violent relationships.
Similarly, the work of White Ribbon, a feminist and intersectional organization encouraging men to speak out against gender-based violence.
If you or someone you know is experiencing gender-based violence. you can contact the Assaulted Women's Helpline for telephone or chat services, or dial 311 on your phone.
This month also marks the 10th anniversary of Ontario's Wrapped in Courage campaign, organized by the Ontario Association of Interval & Transition Houses, which calls on all Ontarians to show their commitment to ending femicide and all forms of gender-based violence.
On Tuesday, November 29, I will be speaking to this campaign from Queen's Park, and I welcome you to tune in virtually or contact my office to attend the House in person.
Each of us has a role to play in ending gender-based violence.
This week, Dr. Caroline Newman contacted me to sound the alarm about 1366 Yonge Street, which houses Balmoral Medical Arts Facility (among many other things). This 30-year old building is slated to be torn down by the developer Bazis in order to build yet another luxury condo - this one at a staggering 41 stories, housing 489 residential units.
As Dr. Newman writes, "[t]housands of patients rely on the practitioners and services in this building [...] We service a large community that extends beyond the midtown to all over the GTA. It is an accessible building that has created a shared professional community for all of us to provide this care. This concerning proposal will affect far more than property lines."
Dr. Newman goes on to point out that in this political climate, developers rule - very often to the profound detriment of our beloved communities - and we've seen this time and time again with Ford's cronies.
While it's no secret that we need more housing in Toronto and across Ontario, especially along key transit corridors, our healthcare in this province is also in crisis with community-based healthcare centers being fewer and further in between. When there's zero assurance that this new development will be made affordable to boot, it concerns me that the "benefit" of this new development may not be worth the cost.
If you share in my concern or simply have questions/feedback on what this news means for our community, please get in touch with our office by emailing [email protected].
I shared my thoughts on the government's Bill 39: Better Municipal Governance Act, 2022 in my last community update, as well as through a joint letter penned by other Ontario NDP MPPs in Toronto sent to Mayor Tory earlier this week. In my view, it's an egregious - nevermind unprecedented - attack on what's left of our democracy, to which those who already have too small of voice in politics will be silenced even more through its 'minority rule' impact on Toronto's City Council.
While I've made this clear in the House throughout the week, it now turns to you, community, to voice your concerns or feedback on this Bill through committee hearings.
Hearings are taking place Wednesday, November 30th from 9-10AM and Thursday, December 1st from 9-10AM and from 1-6PM.
The deadline to request to appear is this Monday, November 28th at 12PM through the OLA web tool here. Written submissions are also accepted using the same tool, with a later deadline of Thursday, December 1st at 7PM.
I would like to echo my call for donations to community food banks/pantries in need of donations.
Below are a few sites accepting donations, and should you find yourself in a time of need please do consider utilizing their offerings!
1. The Beeton Cupboard Food Bank operated by St. Michael & All Angels Church at 611 St. Clair Avenue West. Non-perishable donations can be dropped off at the Wychwood Avenue entrance through the wooden gate or monetary donations can be sent via e-transfer to [email protected] with the subject "Food Bank" (a tax receipt will be issued in the New Year).
2. The Frankel-Lambert Outreach Committee operates a food pantry at 595 Melita Crescent and are always welcoming donations of non-perishable items.
3. A few weeks back, I visited the food pantry operated by Holy Blossom Temple on the corner of Dewbourne and Bathurst - do consider donating if you're in the area!
Please consider sharing with me any and all food pantries you know of in our community by replying to this email!
As mentioned on Wednesday, 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!
Another reminder that we're a couple of weeks away from 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! This a fantastic opportunity for all you last-minute holiday shoppers!
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!