The Leafs are out, the Raptors stink, and I couldn’t care less, because the playoffs that really matter start this weekend. Laura Albanese and Faisal Hassan’s campaign kick-offs were held today, 40 days from the election to be held June 7.
Every four years, election fever grips the land (did I mention we love elections here at Weston Web?). This year, there are two elections and the first (June 7) is to elect a provincial parliament for the next four years.
Before we go any further, as a helpful guide to our readers, here is a 3-point cynical guide to the Canadian political system’s 3 levels of government.
The Federal Government collects most tax money (about $300 billion) and does the least for the average citizen on a day-to-day basis. It takes care of nation-wide things like defence, trade and border controls.
The Provincial Government collects a lot less money (about $140 billion) but does more things that affect our daily lives like build and maintain major transportation links and run health care.
Toronto Council has the biggest impact on our daily lives yet collects the smallest amount (about $36 billion) to serve 23% of Ontario’s population and because it is forbidden by law to run a deficit, has nowhere near enough money. To finance city operations, they must beg for funds from the other two levels. This may be because the other two levels know that on any given day, about one third of councillors are batshit crazy logic impaired and many of their decisions make no sense. To put things into perspective, PC leader Doug Ford was a Toronto councillor for four years and was considered at the time to be mildly eccentric.
Anyway, digression over. About two years ago, just before the last federal election, Weston Web went out on a twig and predicted that a big red wave was coming that would sweep the country. Dutifully, the Liberals under Ahmed Hussen captured York South-Weston from then MP Mike Sullivan.
We’re going to make another equally bold declaration for the upcoming June 7th provincial election. According to several polling companies, the Progressive Conservatives under Doug Ford are likely to form the next government barring a major upset. We don’t (that’s the royal ‘we’; I shouldn’t speak for Adam) beg to differ.
What does that mean for Laura Albanese, MPP for YSW since 2007? Over the years, she has formed alliances, grown into the job and holds down a cabinet post. She is hard working and well liked with an effective and experienced staff. Will she be swept away and lose her seat to the PC Candidate, Mark DeMontis? Will the animosity towards the Wynne government combine with a blue Ford Nation wave to propel young Mr. DeMontis into office? Then there’s the NDP. Running for the first time is well known community activist, Faisal Hassan. Can the NDP under leader Andrea Horwath mount an opposing Orange Wave between now and June 7? Will York South-Weston’s left of centre voters consolidate under Mr. Hassan’s NDP banner in order to stop PC leader Doug Ford? Let’s not leave out Bonnie Hu and Grad Murray running for the Libertarian and Green parties respectively.
What does it mean for Toronto and in particular YSW? The provincial government is vitally important in steering much needed money towards Toronto’s woefully inadequate transit system, lousy infrastructure, and other neglected projects like public housing. If allocated funds are cut off, or are diverted to projects that align with a new government direction, the city will have to start the laborious planning process from scratch. More on this in later articles.
At the moment, campaigning cannot officially begin until May 9th but leaders and candidates are straining at the leash. Let’s hope they can get the electorate to participate more than they did last time. In 2014’s provincial election, Ms. Albanese won with 15,660 votes – a mere 22% of the 72,000 eligible voters in the riding. Sadly, almost 39,000 eligible voters in YSW didn’t vote for any candidate. Thats 54% of voters!
Engaging those, ‘Who cares?’ non-voters may be the key to winning on June 7.
The Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario has published results of its recent leadership vote, broken down by riding and there are some interesting details. The vote was done through a process known as ranked balloting. Voters ranked each candidate in order of preference. Once all the first choices were counted, the last place candidate was eliminated. Voters whose candidate was eliminated in the first round had their second choice vote added to the remaining candidates’ tallies.
Incidentally, although the PCs, Liberals and NDP use ranked balloting when choosing a leader, most of the right-leaning members of council (including our own) voted against studying ranked balloting for the 2022 civic election. The federal Liberals have backed off also.
4th place (in Ontario) Tanya Granic Allen, was eliminated and as expected, most of her votes provincially and in YSW went to Ford.
NAME VOTES %
ELLIOTT, Christine 55 26.7%
FORD, Doug 151 73.3%
206 total votes
All vote percentages have been rounded to the nearest tenth for clarity.
The riding with the most eligible votes cast (from those who joined the PC Party and paid $10) was Don Valley West with 1334; the least: Kiiwetinoong (a huge new northern Ontario riding that comes into play this year) with only 34. York South-Weston had 209 people voting.
The fact that only 209 people voted does not bode well for the PCs in York South Weston. On the other hand, the local strength of Doug Ford should give PC nominee Mark DeMontis some comfort in a riding that has been solidly Liberal with a brief exception (Paul Ferreira for the NDP between February and October of 2007) since its formation in 1999.
On Monday night at the annual general meeting of the York-South Weston NDP, special guest speaker, Party leader Andrea Horwath outlined the major planks of her platform for the upcoming June 7th provincial election.
In his introduction to Ms. Horwath, York South-Weston riding nominee Faisal Hassan described her as an incredibly strong, passionate woman and a champion for working families who is working hard to build a brighter future for all Ontarians.
Ms Horwath went on to outline what an NDP government will do if elected.
Bring Hydro back into public ownership and lower bills.
Expand affordable not for profit quality child care (currently over $2000 monthly in Toronto).
Expand minimum wage to everyone (e.g. restaurant servers)
Make it easier to form unions
Make temporary workers permanent after 3 months
Match funds with the Federal and City governments for social housing repairs and maintenance
Give all Ontarians access to free prescription drugs
End the layoffs of workers
Fund healthcare to cover inflation and take care of the unique needs in each community.
Make sure healthcare funding matches population growth
Stop school closings – schools will become vibrant, well-funded community hubs
Combat anti-black racism through re-innstituting the Anti-Black Racism Secretariat (an earlier version of today’s Anti-Racism Directorate) and fight all forms of discrimination and hate.
Reduce our carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions in a way that’s fair and not costly to the poor – make polluters pay.
Ensure that indigenous people are able to have a decent life.
As the New Year opens, there are some hopeful signs that 2018 will be better and more cheerful than 2017. Here are a few in no particular order.
Minimum Wage and Paid Vacations.
From today, the Ontario minimum wage moves from $11.60 to $14.00. While this may be a tough slog for small businesses, for a large number of people in Weston / Mount Dennis and millions in Ontario, a 21% rise in hourly wages will be a great boost to their personal finances. Contrary to the debunked Trickle Down Theory, when poor people get money, they spend it, increasing growth.
Prescription plan for under 25 year-olds.
This little heralded plan will genuinely improve the lives of millions of Ontario children and young adults by ensuring that most prescriptions and health care supplies are provided at no cost. These two measures from the Ontario Government will provide a much needed boost to our local economy as disposable income rises. Better yet, they were implemented before an election.
Our spell of Alberta weather has no end in sight and is no doubt providing a bonanza to plumbers and furnace repair companies. Our days are already getting longer so can spring be far away? Besides, there are surprising benefits that come with cold weather.
Election year x 2
Here at Weston Web we love elections. Not only do we have a provincial election in June but a civic one in October.
In Ontario, Kathleen Wynne will be looking to hang on to power for the Liberals, battling the Tories’ Patrick Brown and Andrea Horwath for the NDP. Locally we have Laura Albanese who has gained in confidence and competence over the years and will be a formidable opponent. She will be facing Faisal Hassan who worked locally in former NDP MP Mike Sullivan’s office and Mark DeMontis whose compelling story and hockey background may resonate.
In Etobicoke Centre, Liberal Yvan Baker will probably hold his seat despite his seemingly limited thinking skills. In Toronto last year, around 50 people were killed by people driving vehicles, yet in spite of data showing distracted driving to be the major cause of deaths, Mr Baker chose to target pedestrians with his private member’s bill.
In Toronto‘s civic elections in October, Ward 2 will see Mike Ford handily re-elected while in Ward 11, Frances Nunziata will no doubt achieve the same result. The big story will be who will win the mayoral election and thus decide the future of the city. Doug Ford is already pulling rank on nephew Mike – Mike’s Christmas message was hijacked by Uncle Doug. Frances Nunziata will likely be speaker regardless of whether Tory or Ford win since she has a foot in both camps. The big question will be if a credible centre-left candidate can run and pull the rug out from under ‘Rob Ford in sheep’s clothing’, John Tory. The Mayor has already moved his talking points sharply to the left in anticipation and will be vulnerable to Ford as a result.
Another reason for optimism is that thanks to ward distribution, the three additional council seats may not be so friendly to Mayor Tory should he be successful.
The Weston Hub will see artists able to occupy their studio spaces in July as work continues on the 30-storey rental apartment tower, community space and rental storage facility.
Sewer Relining Ends
Sewer work will be ending this year along the Humber and peace will return, (hopefully in October) to our parks after years of clanking disruption from heavy machinery. Cyclists and walkers will appreciate having the Pan Am trail to themselves once more.
We’re Safer than Ever!
The Economist recently placed Toronto as the fourth safest city in the world after Tokyo, Singapore and Osaka.
OK readers, your turn. What makes you cheerful about 2018?
This past weekend, Weston Collegiate Institute celebrated 160 years in operation. The school hosted events beginning with a monumental football game on Friday and concluding with an Alumni hockey game on Sunday. Community members, staff, present and past students
alike all came out to celebrate the success of this amazing school.
The events kicked off on Friday the 13th when Weston’s varsity football team played a home game against East York CI. The boys fought hard but unfortunately suffered a loss. However, they kept their heads held high and went into the weekend excited for all the events to come.
Saturday, was when the party really started. The festivities began at 11 am, in the school staff lounge with a breakfast for staff new and old. Facility members who graced Weston’s halls as early as the 1970’s were in attendance, and enjoyed catching up with their old co-workers (and meeting new ones).
As the day drew on, the Alumni foundation continued to pull out all the stops, hosting a ‘pub night’ in the school’s cafeteria. This event was for all past students and staff and was the highlight of the weekend! Memorabilia from the schools past was on display around the café,
as old students reminisced about days past.
Old yearbooks, pictures and even a pair of old skates were all out for everyone to see and read, as they remembered the days they called
Weston home. Current students at the school even took alumni on tours to look at how the school had changed over the years, and to marvel at historic pictures that grace our walls. (Some of which,
included them!) As the night progressed the party grew, and there wasn’t a single person in the room without a smile on their face! Grads from nearly every decade (including a lady who graduated in 1944),
were enjoying catching up and remembering just how much of an impact the school had left on them!
As Sunday approached the final event did as well. Students and staff who had been involved in hockey during their time at Weston ventured over to the Weston Lions Arena to participate in a
friendly hockey match. This was an opportunity for the once students, to play against the people who taught them so many years ago. (Don’t worry no math teachers were mysteriously injured during the tournament.) Weston CI is truly a monumental and amazing school. Despite a rocky reputation, the school is full of some of the most loving and amazing people in the city. For 160 years Weston has never failed to produce outstanding grads who have nothing but amazing things to say about their time in the halls of 100 Pine Street. Here’s to 160 years of Iron Man memories. And many more to come!
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