YSW to be a race to watch in provincial election

Veteran NDPer Paul Ferreira will be running against incumbent Laura Albanese in the next provincial election,  according to InsideToronto. This could be a fantastic race.

Paul Ferreira has held the York South-Weston seat before; he squeaked out a victory in the 2007 by-election, before losing his grip only a few months later in the 2007 general election. Both elections were decided by only a few hundred votes.

While Ferreira has been out of office, he hasn’t been out of power. He was chief of staff to Howard Hampton and now works as a senior advisor to Andrea Horwath, the party leader, InsideToronto says. Ferreira has plenty of electioneering experience, too; this will be his seventh race.

Laura Albanese won’t go gently, I’m sure. She’s been an effective, if quiet, representative for York South-Weston. She sits on committees and seems to have a healthy record in the legislature. She gets the job done without drawing attention to her successes. And that may be a liability: Albanese, while capable and effective, doesn’t have much flash.

Frances Nunziata has flash. Rob Ford has flash. Ignatieff figured flash out, after a while, and Jack Layton seems to have been flashing since the day he was born. Flash is galvanizing. Flash is often off-putting. And Albanese just doesn’t polarize enough to pull people out to vote.

Certainly, the political currents are against Ferreira. We voted strongly for the right-wing Ford administration and re-elected socially conservative Alan Tonks by a large margin. Also, the NDP has almost always been the bridesmaid here, and rarely the bride.

But they’ve sometime been close contests, and Ferriera knows his stuff and is a party insider. If Ferreira can sparkle in our somewhat grey little community, he might just stand a chance.

Bad month to be in the pharmacy business

Another pharmacy in Weston was robbed this week. The Main Drug Mart at 2160 Weston Rd, was robbed at about 6:30 pm on February 7.  The pharmacy is on the west side of the intersection of Weston Rd and Church.

A man wearing a disguise threatened an employee with a handgun. He demanded and got cash and prescription drugs before fleeing. Nobody was hurt in the robbery.

Last week, the River Hill Pharmacy at 2086 Lawrence Ave (near Weston Rd) was robbed. The thief also produced a handgun and demanded cash and drugs before fleeing. The cases may be related, but the acts were committed by different people. In the first case the robber was white; in the second he was black.

Last year, Weston Drug Mart, across the street from Main Drug Mart was robbed similarly.

Another bus-stop mugging at Jane and Lawrence

You don’t want to take the busses at Jane and Lawrence. Toronto Police report yet another mugging, this time of a 20-year-old woman.

The victim was exiting the bus at about 10:20 pm on February 4 when she was grabbed from behind and robbed of her cell phone. The suspect knocked the woman down and fled westbound on MacDonald Ave. The victim was not seriously hurt.

This is at least the fourth mugging in recent months in the area. Late last year, three people were robbed in separate incidents near the bus stop at Lawrence and Pine.

You can view a map of the muggings the police report.

Kindergarten Registration Has Started

Kindergarten registration is underway at most elementary schools. Many area schools will continue to offer full-day kindergarten next year (Weston Memorial, H.J. Alexander, Portage Trail, Bala Avenue & Dennis Avenue). Pelmo Park and St. John the Evangelist continue to offer half-day programs.

Children born in 2007 are eligible for Junior Kindergarten and those born in 2006 for Senior Kindergarten (if your child is currently in JK you do not need to re-register for SK). Be sure to call ahead as some schools require appointments and others are operating on a drop-in basis.

Min-A-Mart robbed

Toronto Police report that the Min-a-Mart on Weston Rd at Church was robbed on January 28, at about 1 pm.

A male wearing a disguise entered the store, brandished a handgun, and demanded money. When the owner did not comply, the robber went behind the counter and grabbed cash and a pack of cigarettes. According to the police blotter, he fled northbound on Weston.

Nobody was hurt in the robbery.

minamart on Weston Rd

Alan Tonks tables motion for e-trains. In 2011.

Alan Tonks, the MP for York South–Weston, has tabled a private member’s bill that would call the federal government to look into the benefits of electric commuter trains.

When he spoke in the House to table Bill C-614, Tonks said,

This particular issue is with respect to a transportation strategy that has evolved, which has resulted in huge concerns in York South—Weston and throughout the Georgetown corridor with the Weston subdivision. Its development is so close to those railway lines that issues of safety, noise, environmental pollution and quality of health has now stood in the way of it moving ahead in a progressive way with respect to using rail corridors to relieve the congestion that exists in urban areas. This is not just in southern Ontario, this is a situation that exists right across the country.

This initiative calls upon the Minister of Transport to meet with his provincial counterparts and look at the potential that exists for the electrification of urban commuter rail operations.

Tonks has come to love electric trains rather late. While he has apparently had a change of heart, Tonks supported the diesel Air Rail Link between at least 2002 and 2006.

While today’s motion was adopted, private member’s bills rarely become law.

Toronto Police want to know what Westonians think

The police of 12 Division are asking for input from the community. They have posted an online survey, which asks about the crimes of most concern to people who live and work in the area. The southernmost part of Weston, the area below Lawrence, is included in the boundaries of the survey, and 12 division will soon be taking responsibility for all of Weston.

The results hitherto are also posted on the police site. Residents are most concerned with drugs, murders, guns and aggressive driving: more than half of all respondents said they were “very concerned” about these issues. Prostitution and street vendors are the issues of least concern.

Of course, the survey results are far from scientific, as only people interested in crime (or reporting it) browse the police website, and the survey is open to anyone on the internet so long as they say they are from 12 Division’s purview. Finally, it appears that only 9 people have answered the survey at the time of writing–all the percentages are a multiple of 11.1%.

Caveats aside, the comments on the site are well-informed, and the writers obviously know their communities and have valuable suggestions. If you live or work in 12 Division (south of Lawrence, north of Dupont, west of Caledonia, and east of the Humber), you can complete the survey here.