Community News Update - September 22, 2023

Dear Community,

You've likely already seen the news: Doug Ford has reversed his Greenbelt decision! If there's one thing this proves among many, it's that public pressure works. Ford dug his heels in as long as he could while public perception and support for his government plummeted, but your Ontario NDP and countless allies across our province stood firm and in the end he buckled.

This news is a victory for all who pushed back against Conservative corruption - Indigenous nations, farmers, environmental advocates, and so many others who rallied around the health of our planet.

Let me be clear: it never should have taken scandal after scandal after scandal for this government to fix what never should have been broken in the first place. It never should have taken shady backroom deals coming to light for this government to put the people of Ontario first.

In fact, Ford has wasted so much of Ontarians' precious time when he should have been focused on the affordability crisis, the housing crisis, the climate crisis - anything other than making the rich richer.

He's got a heck of a lot more to answer for: ministers are resigning left, right, and centre; there's a looming RCMP investigation; Conservative staff have stepped down. ALL roads lead back to the Premier. The fight is not over!

This Sunday at sunset marks the beginning of Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism.

Tzom Kal to all St. Paul's community members who will be observing Yom Kippur. I wish you and your loved ones an easy and meaningful fast during this time of atonement and renewed hope!

This weekend, during Nuit Blanche, you can visit The 52: Stories of Women Who Transformed Toronto - featuring none other than your very own MPP!

About The 52:

Women currently make up 52% of the population in Toronto. Join us as we bring their stories to life. This impact-filled multi-year project celebrates the myriad of ways women have contributed to various facets of city life – in art, culture, politics, sports, technology, business, and more. To tell these important stories, this project has commissioned 24 exemplary playwrights to write 52 monologues – one for each transformational woman on our list.

I'm incredibly honoured to be featured alongside a number of powerful women!

You can learn more about the exhibit HERE, and read more about my inclusion HERE!

There are a couple other Nuit Blanche exhibits happening in our own backyard, including Story Lines and NSEW.

This wek, my colleague MPP Joel Harden will be riding his bike from his home community of Ottawa Centre to Queen's Park, raising awareness around safety for vulnerable road users along the way.

He is calling this the #SafetyRide for people and planet!

The Ontario Legislature has debated the Protecting Vulnerable Road Users Act five times in the last ten years, and it has yet to be passed into law. His PMB, Moving Ontarians Safely Act, hopes to change this, introducing the following measures for those found guilty of road offenses: community service; license suspension; driver re-education; and also requires a culpable motorist to attend court for sentencing and to hear victim impact statements.

You can read more about MPP Harden's bike ride HERE, including a few opportunities to join him in Toronto!

With fall just around the corner, our friends at The Appletree Group are making the most of it through the last few weeks of their Davisville Market at June Rowlands Park (220 Davisville Ave.)

On top of an incredible selection of goodies by local vendors, they're also hosting special events each Tuesday for the next three weeks. Each is sure to be a beautiful afternoon or evening, celebrating another successful summer of this community treasure and welcome in a new season. 

See below for details & click here to follow along with The Appletree Group for updates.

Tuesday, September 26 @ 5pm: Make your own AppleTree T-shirt!
Tuesday, October 3: #DavisvilleDiversity Community Supper

We're days away from the legislature's return, hot off the heels of a scandalous summer. To say the least.

From shortchanging public spending by $7.2 billion to padding the pockets of a select few of his friends to the tune of $8.3 billion, Doug Ford has much to answer to.

But most important to me is what questions and concerns YOU want answers to. Whether it be healthcare, housing, education, social services, transit - you name it - I want to hear how these billions of dollars could be better invested in you, your family, and our community. 

Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

On October 2nd at 5PM, join the folks from No Demovictions and other affordable housing allies as they rally at Toronto City Hall on International Tenants' Day!

The legislature is set to resume on September 25 and after one of the most damning summer's Ontario politics has ever seen, it's sure to be a start like none other.

With all that's gone on with the Greenbelt, it's easy to lose sight that Ford's privatization plan is still near the top of his agenda. As is your Ontario NDP's fight against it, echoing the voices of Ontarians who refuse to let profit take hold of their fundamental human right to accessible, affordable, and equitable healthcare.

As a show of our strength to set the tone of the upcoming session, the Ontario Health Coalition is holding a major protest this day. Starting at noon on September 25, you are invited to join myself, your Ontario NDP, and allies of public healthcare to show Ford that his agenda is not Ontarians. That we are saying no to privatization and WILL say no for as long as we have to.

See details here.


Notably, this day also falls on Yom Kippur, meaning the Jewish community aren't able to attend this important action as they observe this holy day. As such, our own community's Rabbi Shalom Schachter has seen that the Ontario Health Coaltion will also host a second rally on Queen's Park front lawn the following day (September 26 at noon) in order for Jewish Ontarians to participate. Thank you, Rabbi for ensuring that this call to action is inclusive of Jewish voices.

Yom Kippur is the most solemn day in the Jewish calendar. It is a day spent in self reflection and prayer on how we can live more respectful and caring lives. We abstain from acts of pleasure and dominance over one another and nature. Each of us accepts as an individual our collective responsibility for the wellbeing of everyone in society and for the planet. We have a responsibility to protect the work of Creation for future generations. We have a duty to ensure that everyone has the basic services to live a respectful life.

In our prayer titled Unetaneh Tokef we recognize that not everyone will survive the year. We recite; Mi Yichyeh u'Mi Yamut - who will live and who will die; Mi va'Ra'av u'Mi Va"tzama - who will die from hunger and who will die from thirst; Mi Yishaleiv u'Mi Yityasar - who will have access to all they need and who will be deprived.

The prayer ends with a recognition that our future is not cast in stone, that we have the ability to change our destiny and that deeds of social justice can provide relief.

During the Yamim Nora'im the Days of Awe consisting of the time period from Rosh Hashana the Jewish New Year to Yom Kippur - the Day of Atonement, we recall that all humanity is created in the Divine Image and that our collective actions have consequences. Every person deserves access to basic public services whether to food, shelter, education or health care.

 The public rallies outside Queen's Park have been organized because the current provincial government is seeking to privatize much of health care. We know that privatization of health care reduces the quality and quantity of health care. Private provision of health care is more expensive and therefore reduces the capacity of the provincial government to finance other basic services such as food, accommodation and education.

The annual opening of the Legislature is a day when ordinary citizens have the ability to meet outside Queen's Park to express their views on the priorities of the government. It is an essential element of the democratic process. This Government has chosen to move the date of the opening of the Legislature to Yom Kippur, which will deprive observant members of the Jewish community of the opportunity to participate in this vital democratic event. Out of respect for our community the Ontario Health Coalition is organizing a second rally on September 26, the day after Yom Kippur, to enable Jews who spend Yom Kippur in synagogue to come to Queen's Park to express their views to the Government. Members of other faith communities will attend in solidarity as well as members of the Legislative Assembly.

If you care about the future of health care please make plans to be at Queen's Park on September 26.


Doing their part to tackle growing food insecurity in our community & beyond, Frankel Lambert Outreach Committee's (FLOC) food table at Marian Engel Park is back this Saturday.

Whether you've got donations to spare or need some extra groceries to get you through the week, come on down between 11AM to 1PM to take what you need and leave what you don't. No questions asked!

Looking for a new tree or bush for your yard? Look no further! See below for an exciting opportunity organized by our friends at OVCO!

Please see the below invitation from Land Alliance, an historic alliance formed by five strong First Nations to protect their lands and waters in the face of mounting concerns about encroachment on their territories by mining exploration companies who have been enabled by the Ford Government.

On September 27th, 12 pm 2023 five First Nations from Northern Ontario will come to Toronto to lead a march calling on Premier Ford to end unwanted mining activity on their Territories.

Mark your calendars! Bloom Bar Studio is hosting a COMEDY CABARET on Thursday, September 28. Tickets are $20 and include a welcome drink!

Each year across Ontario, thousands of lives are lost to overdoses. We need every level of government to prioritize implementing harm reduction strategies to combat these senseless deaths, and you can help.

As many of you know, Naloxone is a medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, and these kits are FREE with training at participating pharmacies across the city. Together, we can prevent unnecessary deaths and work toward a more compassionate society that is safe safe for everyone.

Find a pharmacy with Naloxone kits near you, and make sure you can recognize the signs of an overdose.

In Solidarity, 

Jill Andrew
Toronto-St. Paul's

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