Hussen much in the news on immigration plan

Ahmed Hussen, our MP, and the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, was much in the news this week as he announced the national immigration plan, which will see about one million immigrants arriving over the next three years.

Hussen said “As can be seen in the global environment, there are more and more countries that are closing their doors to people, they are closing their doors to talent and to skills, and, yes, to those who are seeking protection from persecution. We are emphatically and unapologetically taking the opposite approach.”

He told Power and Politics that “Immigration is a great tool for our economic growth” and that immigrants will help us with a declining ratio of workers to retirees.

Responding to a question about the roughly 40% of Canadians who oppose immigration, he said “I can tell you our settlement and integration services are the best in the world…. We can always do more and better, but let’s not kid ourselves, Canada is a global leader when it comes to welcoming and integrating people and making sure that they reach their potential.”

 

Longtime York South—Weston resident and advocate to become NDP candidate

Faisal Hassan, a resident of Weston and a longtime community advocate, is set to become the NDP’s candidate in York South—Weston for the upcoming provincial election.

Hassan says that this community has given him a lot; he wants the same opportunities that he has received to be accessible to all residents of York South—Weston. He believes in job creation, addressing income inequality, public health care, affordable housing and child care, and environmental sustainability. He sees a bright future for all residents of York South—Weston.

Currently Hassan serves on the volunteer board of the Weston King Neighbourhood Centre (WKNC) in Weston, and has been an active union member. Earlier on his career, Hassan hosted a popular current affairs radio program and served on the volunteer boards of the Centre for Equality in Accommodation and Brampton’s Habitat for Humanity.

As a politically active community member, I have been able to witness Faisal’s commitment to his community. He has canvassed all the issues that we care about and that greatly impact residents of York South—Weston; universal pharmacare, labour law reform, and the privatization of hydro, among many other things.

If you would like to meet Faisal Hassan, join the York South—Weston NDP at their nomination meeting on Wednesday, November 8th, 6pm at Weston Collegiate (100 Pine Street).

Why we must have bad things

After the second fire at the derelict model home at Weston and Dora Spencer, people asked—rightly—how this could happen. Why was a building allowed to sit vacant for years, and how could it have burned twice, at great expense and considerable danger to the fine women and men who protect us?

The answer will not surprise you: the city is powerless. According to Frances Nunziata’s office, “the City cannot order that a building be demolished just because it has sat vacant for a long period of time”, but can only ask that it remains boarded up.

The owners wanted to keep the blue monstrosity as “the construction office for a development they have planned at 2 Buttonwood Street”— though I, for one, would certainly not have bought a home from someone who builds or cares for buildings quite like that.

If your standards are low, there is good news: what’s left of the building will be demolished by the end of the week, and the site should now be secured. 

While the building is gone, the problem remains: there are at least two other derelict and dangerous buildings on Weston Road that have sat vacant for years—indeed more than a decade: the homes near 2254 Weston.

Readers, submit your own photos of potential firetraps.

 

New PC candidate: Mark DeMontis

The Progressive Conservatives have long been total also-rans in York South–Weston, but that looks about to change. Mark DeMontis has announced his candidacy for the PC nomination.

DeMontis, a Westonian, is well known for rollerblading across Canada to raise money for Courage Canada, a charity that helps blind and low-vision people get into hockey. DeMontis was a promising hockey player himself before losing much of his sight in early adulthood.

Past PC candidates have been total duds, and have barely campaigned. DeMontis, by contrast, has been present in the community and has been increasing his presence on Twitter for several months. He may prove a challenge in this traditionally centre-left community.

Nunziata votes for Ford-dome

Frances Nunziata was one of few city councillors to vote to rename Centennial Stadium “Rob Ford Memorial Stadium”. Ford and Nunziata were long-time colleagues and friends before his death.

Image from The Globe and Mail

The motion to rename the stadium was defeated 24 to 11.

Why a minimum wage of $15 will be good for Weston / Mount Dennis.

Note the more than four years of no increase between 2010 and 2014

The chart above shows the modest proposal to boost the Ontario minimum wage as put forward by the Liberals:

$11.40: today’s minimum wage
$11.60: Oct. 1, 2017
$14: Jan. 1, 2018
$15: Jan. 1, 2019

How much would a $15 hourly wage be as an annual salary? Just under $29,000 for someone working an 8-hour day, 20 days a month for 12 months a year. It’s not exactly high living.

Alleged think-tanks like the Fraser Institute claim that as many as 50,000 people will lose their jobs if the MW is elevated to such lofty heights. The Fraser Institute BTW, is one of the many propaganda arms of big business, generously supported by all of us because it has been allowed to call itself a charity. There are also claims that prices will rise as a result. Even the media seems to be repeating (many false) claims of impending doom without checking the facts.

In 2015 about 1.7 million people in Ontario earned less than $15.00 hourly. Incredibly, that’s just under 30% of the workforce. In Weston / Mount Dennis that percentage is likely considerably higher since we are one of the poorest areas of the city.

What we do know is that unlike the rich, poor people don’t send their money to tax havens. They spend it when they get it and largely on local goods and services. Income and sales tax revenues will actually rise as workers will pay more income tax and many may not need to apply for tax credits – a form of government wage subsidy for employers.

A study done last year, reported in the Huffington Post investigated the effects of raising Wal-Mart wages in the U.S. from $10 an hour to $15. The study concluded that revenue for the giant chain would be reduced by $5 Billion annually. Compared to the total annual revenue of $482 Billion, that works out to a hit of about 1%. In other words, raising wages 33% would increase costs less than 1%. Why then doesn’t Wal Mart raise wages? Share prices and dividends might go down.

From: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/minwage.htm

Australia has a similar economy to ours and currently mandates a minimum wage of $18.29 – somehow, the universe has managed to stay in one piece. Perhaps Australians believe in fairness more than we do.

Our readers might want to tell local MPP Laura Albanese that they support increasing the minimum wage.

Use the link here:

Ontario to stiffen fines for drivers who kill

Gary Sim, image from The Star

Pedestrians and cyclists may be better protected if the province gets passes new bills this fall. Ontario will increase to $50,000 the fine for distracted and careless drivers who cause death, and the move is being lauded by the daughter of Gary Sim, a Mount Dennis man, whose killer faced a $500 fine.

Steven Del Duca said that the new penalties will “send a very clear message to justice and law enforcement” to charge more firmly. The driver who killed Sim was charged only with making an improper turn.

Heather Sim told Matt Galloway that “this is great news”. She said “I couldn’t imagine that you could kill somebody and [a $500 fine] is the maximum you could get…. This guy is just going to get two demerit points and go on as if nothing happened.”

Heather Sim also called for a vulnerable road user act that would differentiate between drivers who hit cars and those who hit pedestrians and cyclists. “A lot of drivers are on the road, and they see a cyclist and feel annoyance or frustration…. A lot of people look at it as if it’s supposed to be the cyclist who’s supposed to get out of the way”, she said.

Del Duca has also made driving high on marijuana more punishable, creating a zero-tolerance policy for young, new, and commercial drivers.