Santa Claus Parade this weekend

Don’t forget: the 34th annual Santa Claus Parade will be this weekend. The parade starts at 2, but Weston Road will be closed starting around noon.

The weather is supposed to be nice—about 0° and partial sun.

The Weston food bank will be picking up donations along the route. And if, for some reason, you can’t make it (or if you want to relive it) you can watch the parade on Rogers:

  • Tuesday, December 17th at 8pm
  • Wednesday, December 18th at 1pm
  • Thursday, December 19th at 7pm
  • Friday, December 20th at 11:30am

Wikileaks in Weston

A Weston woman has been denied entry to the United States based on medical records that should never have been made available to anyone. Homeland Security seems to have somehow got access to her private files.

According to Mike Sullivan’s letter to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Ellen Richardson was refused at Pearson on the grounds of a “mental illness episode” she had in 2012.

This is not the first time someone who has had troubles with mental illness has been refused entry. Wikileaks revealed that US Authorities can access Canadian police databases, and they have used that access to refuse entry to others who have had mental health crises.

Richardson’s case is even more complicated, however. She has suffered two episodes of depression: one in 2012 and one in 2001. The border guard mentioned, and documented, the 2012 episode—and no police were involved. He appears to have known, somehow, her private medical history.

Sullivan asks the Privacy Commissioner a simple, pointed question: “How are medical records of Canadians ending up in the hands of US Homeland Security?”

 

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Albanese at work

Laura Albanese, our MPP, has been busy of late. Last week she wrote a letter the Glen Murray, the Minister of Transportation, urging him to ensure electrification of the UP Express by 2017. The letter does not say that the electrification schedule is threatened, but no letter would be necessary if it weren’t.

Albanese asked Minister Murray to get Metrolinx to confirm that they are still going to get the environmental assessment done by 2014 and to ensure that Metrolinx hustles between the assessment and construction.

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Albanese also spoke at length in the House about a resurrected bill to correct a conflict between old-age security and disability benefits.

that permanent disability pensioners who were injured before 1990 have their workers’ compensation benefits reduced every year by the amount that their old age security benefit increases for inflation. In other words, in the view of the worker, you see this amount of money being stolen from you, if you will. It’s a small amount that the federal government will give you to keep up with the cost of living.

 

Finally, she spoke about the closing Heinz plant in Leamington. She outlined the province’s response, including those of the ministries of Agriculture and Food; Training, Colleges, and Universities; and Economic Development.

Crime this month. Whoops.

Turns out I wasn’t exactly right when I said that Weston has been quite crime free of late. As is often the case, the Toronto Police are giving contradictory information.

There has been, of late, a rash of street muggings: in the past month, six muggings occurred on or near Weston Road. Another mugging happened on Lawrence.  No other information about the crimes is available.

Muggings were up dramatically in the past week in 12 Division. In the past seven days, there were 10—typically, there are about three. (12 Division is much bigger than Weston. It goes all the way to St Clair.)

Street robberies remain significantly down year-on-year, however. There have been 22% fewer in 2013 than there were in 2012.

Robberies

Nunziata defends November 18th Ford vote.

On November 15, and November 18th Toronto City Council voted to limit Mayor Rob Ford’s power.

On the 15th, council voted to take away his power to appoint members of the Executive Committee (similar to cabinet positions). That power was given to Deputy Mayor, Norm Kelly. Councillor Nunziata supported this move.

On the 18th council voted to cut the Mayor’s budget, remove his power to set the legislative agenda and remove his ability to fill vacancies of the civic appointments committee. Councillor Nunziata did not support this move.

In a statement, Councillor Nunziata defends her vote to support the mayor on the 18th. She likens the decision to one she made in the glory days of 1990, when she blew the whistle on corruption in the City of York.  Her main argument is as follows

I believe that removing the powers of a Mayor who was duly elected, whether we like him or not, is undemocratic.

Unfortunately, this ‘respect for democracy’ is inconsistent with her vote on the 15th November to remove Ford’s power to appoint Executive Committee members.

While Councillor Nunziata seems to be sucking and blowing at the same time, at least she voted; unlike the endlessly amusing Giorgio Mammoliti who abstained on both days.

Let’s hope the councillor in her role as Speaker can do a better job of reining in the Ford boys and their antics in the next few months.