Foodshare loses 20 student positions; funding for school summer programs in question

The PC government has eliminated a program that gave 20 vulnerable students work and free-time programming at FoodShare Toronto. Summer jobs at Toronto schools are also on hold because the province cut $25 million from education programming.

Foodshare is located just outside of Mount Dennis. It “ prioritizes students who are behind in credits, newcomers, students from low-income families, racialized students and students with learning disabilities”, according to Faisal Hassan, who criticized the decision to cut funding at Queen’s Park this week. The students are “employed, supported and mentored”. FoodShare  provides “them with the opportunity to earn money, job skills and up to two co-op credits.”

Hassan asked the Minister of Education, Lisa Thompson, why the government is “turning its back on organizations like FoodShare, which arm students with the skills to allow them to succeed in today’s workplace”.

Thompson repeatedly dodged the question. Instead of answering with details about FoodShare or the Focus on Youth program, she spoke rather nonsensically about McDonald’s accepting applications over Snapchat—apparently not noticing the irony of putting screens and grease over Foodshare’s focus on healthy fruits and veg.

Hassan tables motion to create paid internships

Faisal Hassan, our usually-quiet MPP, had a busy week. He tabled a motion that aims to create 27,000 paid internships for young Ontarians—and, surprisingly, the conservatives said they’d support it.

The goal is to help people get experience and move into paid employment:

The issue is particularly pressing in my riding of York South–Weston, where high rates of youth unemployment create a skills gap, resulting in epidemic rates of adult unemployment and underemployment.¹

The internships will be for students, but also for recent graduates and the unemployed—Hassan said the placements would  be “awarded based on need and merit, not merely a further privilege afforded only to those who have already led privileged lives.”

Five other MPPs, including three Progressive Conservatives, spoke to support the motion.

Hassan also presented a petition to support parents of children with autism, and asked the PCs why they are “abandoning” and “making life harder for” children with autism.

Hassan was responding to the recent changes in autism programming announced by the PC government. The changes will increase funding but spread it out over more children, to reduce waitlists. Hassan hosted a meeting two weeks ago on the subject.


¹ I’ve heard this, and variations on this, for years (for instance, that we have the second-poorest postal code in Ontario. Does anybody have any actual data to prove this?

Hassan hosting meeting on autism programs

Faisal Hassan, our MPP, will be hosting a community meeting on the cuts to autism services. The meeting will be this Saturday, at 2 pm, at the Jane Street Hub.

The Progressive Conservative government is reimagining the province’s autism plan, and replacing money given to health agencies with money given to parents. The goal is to reduce waiting lists, but a side-effect will be reduced funding for those already receiving services.

Hassan ejected from commons

Faisal Hassan, our MPP, was ejected from Queens Park yesterday after protesting Premier Ford’s plan to use the notwithstanding clause to force ward amalgamation.

The NDP members protested by banging their desks and shouting until they were escorted one at a time from the chamber by the sergeant at arms.

Hassan had voiced his opposition to the Conservative’s plan earlier in the week. He called the motion “undemocratic” and suggested it was dictatorial. On Twitter he called it “an abuse of power”.

 

Padovani’s office launch–and a bit of a stir

Chiara Padovani will be hosting an office launch today at 1289 Weston Road at 1 pm (Sorry for the late notice; it’s been a busy week and this slipped by me).

MPP Faisal Hassan will be a guest speaker.

Hassan’s support for Padovani caused a stir this week, when Frances Nunziata accused Hassan of impropriety at a meeting to discuss gun violence.

On Twitter, Nunziata said on that “There is a time and a place for campaigning…a meeting to discuss serious issues facing the community, with a father who lost his son last week to violence and mothers fearing for the safety of their sons in attendance is not one.”

In the past, Nunziata has campaigned with Laura Albanese, our former MPP.

Jennifer Keesmat in Weston

Jennifer Keesmat, mayoral candidate and Toronto’s former city planner, visited Weston this weekend, and hung out with our NDP MPP Faisal Hassan. She also met Chiara Padovani, who hopes to become our city councillor.

Keesmat with Hassan and Padovani

Is this the start of an allegiance? I’m tempted to enquire, but it’s one of those questions I don’t really want an answer to.

Your correspondent has heretofore not been a Keesmat supporter, because he has a long memory and will not forgive her for shoehorning a 29-storey tower into 22 John St, and (incorrectly) papering the decision with the tall building guidelines.

But this is an enchanting possibility: a sharp left turn, a unified front, and a clean break. I’m not yet in favour, but I could be.

Hassan speaks in the House, gets new role

Faisal Hassan, our newly-elected MPP, has had a busy couple of weeks in the House. He argued against legislating York faculty back to work, and he brought up the proposed meat-packing plant in Rockclife: “Instead of a long-awaited park being constructed in the community, the lot was sold through a closed-door bidding process. Now there will be no chance to modernize the area. That means no stores, no small businesses or even a park.”

To the new PC government’s credit, they listened to his concerns. I must say, I am very surprised.

Hon. Jim Wilson: To the honourable member: Certainly we’d be very interested in learning more details about this case….

I will certainly work with you and get back to you and answer your questions fully to the satisfaction hopefully of yourselves and your constituents. Please send us more information.

Hassan was also nominated to a rather dry-sounding role on the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly, which oversees  bills, “agendas, Hansard transcripts and meeting notices.”