Fire update

Tan Ya Collins of the Black Creek Alliance posted an update on the extended family whose home was destroyed in the fire at 43 Lambton Avenue. While there has been progress–and more than $10,000 has been raised–the families are “frantically looking for another home to rent or 2 apartments ideally in the same building..”

Collins is asking the community for leads. She says “This family is very loving and fighting hard to give their kids a good future. They are very appreciative of all the support the community has given them.”

If you happen to know someone with a place to rent in the range of $2100 a month, Collins would be grateful to hear from you.

Missing girl

The police are looking for a girl who went missing from the Weston and Lawrence area.

Nathalie Cabalfin, 15, was last seen on Thursday, January 31, 2019, at 7:30 a.m.

She is 5’2″, with a thin build. Last seen wearing a school uniform: blue pants, white T-shirt, with brown Timberland boots, black gloves, grey winter jacket, carrying a pink backpack.

Police are concerned for her safety.

Frances Nunziata has egg on her face

Frances Nunziata ended up with egg on her face after a Twitter blast yesterday from Chiara Padovani, her former rival for the Ward 5 seat.

Padovani pointed out that though Nunziata had promised to support affordable housing during the campaign, she voted against several homelessness and affordable-housing motions this week at City Council.

Nunziata voted against declaring a homelessness a state of emergency. She was following city staff advice–and voting with a substantial majority–when she did so. Staff said that Wong-Tam’s motion was a panicky reaction to “social and economic problems of an ongoing systemic nature that cannot be resolved in days, weeks or months.”

Nunziata also voted against making many new developments rent controlled, and against an amendment that would have made more of those units affordable and doubled the number of very deeply discounted units–and done so at enormous expense.

What to make of this? On the one hand, Padovani’s criticisms are sharp, and Nunziata did march with ACORN, the way-left anti-poverty group that was championing the amendments to the Housing Now plan.

On the other hand, we can probably be grateful the motion to spend hundreds of millions on 3700 rent-controlled units on 99-year leases was defeated. So, in this case, she voted responsibly.

Unlike Padovani, I’m not angry that Nunziata didn’t vote with ACORN. That was the right thing to do.

I’m disappointed that she ever gave the impression she would. Here we have proof positive that her campaign wasn’t honest. I’m not surprised, but I’m disappointed.

The Future Of Full Day Kindergarten Remains To Be Seen

Weston kindergarten students and parents should keep their eyes on the Ford Government. Most recently, they have decided to reevaluate the full day kindergarten program.This program has been in place since 2014. It’s introduction lightened financial burdens on parents, especially those in low income households, by eliminating the need for private daycare and shifting those costs to the government. The current government has promised to keep the program in place until the end of the 2019-2020 school year, but after that it will be looking at reevaluating the situation. The program is an expensive one, at approximately $1.5 billion per year (according to CTV News).Ford, in a press conference on Wednesday, said that “any decision that’s made is going to be better,” regarding the future of full day kindergarten.

In speaking to one Weston parent, they made the connection that implementing full day kindergarten was a “lengthy and thought out process” and that the future of the program should be as well. If the program gets cancelled, and some of that goes to paying a deficit but other parts go into fixing other issues [like oversized classrooms] within our education system then that seems suitable.” Some options the government may consider are subsidies for low income families who will require daycare, as well as evaluating how much time and money will be spent should this program change and whether this is feasible. This announcement also comes on the heels of the PC Government considering removing class cap sizes from kindergarten and primary grades.

Ford has made it clear that there will be consultations regarding full day kindergarten, so keep an eye open for that. You can also call our MPP Faisal Hassan and let his office know how you feel about this development.

Ahmed Hussen catches it again

Ahmed Hussen had another tough week last week.

Hussen’s department admitted late on a Friday that there is a problem in Toronto’s shelters, and that they are overcrowded due to refugee claimants. Hussen had said–falsely–that “the status of people seeking access to the shelter system in Toronto is unknown”.  He had also said (incorrectly) that the number of asylum seekers has declined 75% year-on-year.

Still, the department of he leads gave the city $15 million on Friday to cope with the crowding. Hussen, perhaps meaningfully, was not quoted on the press release.

Hussen has had an ongoing argument with Lisa MacLeod, his Ontario counterpart, that started last year when he said her tactics were “not Canadian”. He says she is “fear mongering”, and stoking “fear and division”. She took offense to that.

MacLeod has asked the feds to reimburse the province for the full cost of attending to refugee claimants, laying the blame  at their feet. She said she’d like the rest of the $200 million that she says the feds owe:


The $15 million in new funding follows $11 million given early last summer.

Skating is ON in Pearen Park

I wouldn’t go tonight, but the Pearen Park skating rink is now open.

Every year, volunteers zamboni the ice and manage free skates for anyone who drops by. They even offer lessons to new skaters.

It’s all gratis (though donations are welcome). It’s a beautiful, community-organized, ground (ice?)-up endeavour.

The good people at the MDCA can always use a helping hand, and they’re looking for volunteers to help with staffing the skate hut, flood the ice, and offer lessons.

 

Get your Free Money

The government of Canada has announced that it will be providing all tax filers in Ontario with Climate Action Incentive Payments (Climate Payments)

But, in order to get the payment, which itself is tax-free and doesn’t affect other payments such as Old Age Security, you must file a tax return.

The amounts are not staggering but they are something. The first individual gets $154. The second gets $77 and the third and subsequent gets $38. So a single mom with two kids will get $269. There are no strings attached.

Many Weston residents are living on Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program. Some of those people do not file taxes, as they think it doesn’t matter. It does. Each will get the Climate payment so long as they file taxes.

Filing taxes is lots easier than it used to be. Besides filling in the paper form available at the Post Office, you can file online using E-File software, there are free tax clinics, such as at Weston Library, which you can find out about by dialing 211, and some low-income individuals can file by phone (File Taxes by Phone) .

Tax season starts on Feb 18, so many of these services will not be available yet. But make sure you get your free money!