Vote for $20,000 for Frontlines

Frontlines hopes you’ll vote for them to receive a $20,000 grant for their Frontburners youth kitchen.

Youth at Frontlines; picture from @FrontlinesTO
Youth at Frontlines; picture from @FrontlinesTO

Frontburners helps young people from 18-29 learn with “hands-on training in the kitchen, in-class instruction and food handling training and assist them with finding employment”. Participants also cook for the kids from 6-12 in the after-school programs, and “facilitate workshops to teach them about meal preparation and healthy eating”.

The grant is from Epicure.com’s charitable arm, and the competition is pretty stiff: 15 charitable food organizations across the country are competing—so don’t delay.

Frontlines has really been knocking it out of the park with their culinary skills programs. This week, they catered the local politician’s Holiday Open House (and they would be delighted to cater for your holiday event, too).

Ballard: ‘Something special’ going on in Mount Dennis

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Chris Ballard, takes questions from the audience.

Chris Ballard’s father worked at the Kodak plant during the heyday of Mount Dennis and it was fitting that his son would return as Ontario Minister of the Environment and Climate Change to lend support to the area’s revival in the post-industrial future. Now living in Aurora, the Minister recognized that there is ‘something special’ going on in Mount Dennis. The size and enthusiasm of the crowd and organizers attested to that fact.

He was speaking in the Mount Dennis Legion to upwards of 80 people who braved last night’s cold to attend the Mount Dennis Community Association‘s AGM. Applauding the MDCA’s Net Zero initiative under way, he commented that their strong organization and forward thinking should be emulated by all communities.

After an opening invocation and ceremony from indigenous leaders, the Minister outlined Ontario Government initiatives designed to reduce energy consumption and promote conservation. He encouraged residents to visit the website greenon.ca to see the financial incentives designed to help people conserve energy. The money for such grants comes exclusively from the cap and trade system recently set up in Ontario.

MPP Laura Albanese and MP Ahmed Hussen (by recorded message from Ottawa) greeted the crowd and Councillor Frances Nunziata announced that the Pinetree Daycare Centre will become a net zero facility and will increase its capacity to 98 spaces, making it the largest daycare in the area. In addition, the Cycling Committee under her leadership will be making a number of recommendations to the community soon.

Opening ceremony led by Anishinaabe Grandmother Vivian Recollet and Mitchell George.
Mike Mattos, Mount Dennis Community Association Chair calls the meeting to order.

All in all, a very impressive showing for the dynamic Mount Dennis Community Association as their initiatives continue to gain momentum on a variety of fronts.

A banking desert in Weston / Mount Dennis?

From love money.com

Banking in Canada is pretty much a license to print money. Profits have never been higher and the big five banks enjoy a comfortable living. With the trend to computerized transactions, banks are finding that many of their customers have no need for a ‘bricks and mortar’ branch. Over the past few years, branches in Weston and Mount Dennis have been ‘consolidating’. This is banking language for closing and sending customers to the next nearest branch. As a result, Weston and Mount Dennis are quickly becoming a banking desert. At one time, we could choose from several banks but now, banks are closing their branches along Weston Road and Jane Street. While it’s true that demand has lessened considerably, many older residents need the comfort of talking to a teller and having their bank book updated regularly.

Like melting snow in a dog park after a long winter, what’s left behind after banks leave are payday loan companies that exploit the poor and vulnerable.

What does the future hold for banks and their branches? Probably more of the same resulting in less convenience for customers.

There is a possible solution to all of this consolidation and one that would be a ‘win’ for both banks and their clients. At least one storefront bank branch could remain open in each community. It shouldn’t matter which bank is represented as long as it services costumers from any of the other ‘big five’ banks without charging a fee. This is entirely possible in these days of Interac banking. Banks could consult with communities and decide which bank is represented in each locality. The banks could save a fortune with a clear conscience knowing that everyone; especially vulnerable seniors, had reasonable access to a bank.

The federal government is responsible for regulating our extremely profitable banks and their activities. Local MP Ahmed Hussen should take this on as a top priority before banks all leave town. If payday loan companies can have branches everywhere, it’s not too much to ask that one ‘big five’ branch stays open in each community. Competing brewers sell their wares through Brewers Retail. The banks need to set up something similar.

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.”

 

Farmers Market Official Opening

Today, the Weston Farmers Market officially began its 39th year and a trio of local politicians was there to celebrate. Local folklore as recorded by Councillor Nunziata claims that there’s never rain on opening day and this year was no exception. The Market is in its second of three years at the UP Express parking lot.

L to R: York South-Weston  MPP Laura Albanese, York South-Weston Councillor Frances Nunziata, BIA Chair Massum Hossein and York South-Weston MP Ahmed Hussen declare the 2017 Market officially open.
Long time market trader Grampa Ken checks on a couple of customers.
Acoustic pop cover band The Turnups play for visitors.
Sunshine Natural Beauty products on display.
Lots of bedding and container plants to choose from.
Local bakers, World of Cake serve coffee and delicious baked goods.
Market stalwart, Joe Gaeta stands beside his favourite bougainvillea.
Cheri Hurst of Weston’s Historical Society (far left) hard sells membership benefits to a potential new member.
The Egg Man has returned for another season.
Home made jams and juices from the Niagara Region.
Albion Hills Farm is back.
Sunshine Natural Beauty has a selection of their products on display.

 

Hussen still dodging questions

Ahmed Hussen, our MP and the Minister of Immigration, is still refusing to answer direct questions in the House.

This week, Michelle Rempel (CPC) asked him about the failure of more than half of Syrian refugees to find jobs, and how much that has cost the provinces.

Hussen did not answer. Instead, he told her how much the feds (not the provinces) have provided—not how much the refugees have cost.

Rempel pointed out that he did not answer the question, and posed another:

My question is very simple. How much will the government pay in Canadian taxpayers’ dollars to support its ill-fated refugee plan?

Hussen said that Canada is consistently praised for being compassionate (the thirteenth time he has mentioned that this year!) and said (for the fourth time) that the Liberals would “take no lessons” from other parties.
He then brought up Mexican visas for no discernible reason.

Smitherman to bid for council in 2018

George Smitherman. From ctvnews.ca

Weston native born politician, George Smitherman has announced he will run for council in next year’s civic election. While he will not run in York South-Weston, he plans to take a shot at one of the three new wards created after a boundary review and council vote last November. The condo boom of the past few years, has seen population growth in the downtown core and Smitherman hopes to end up with a home and seat there.

While a progressive councillor for Ward 11 might have been a big change from the current incumbent, all is not lost. Many vital decisions at council have been won or lost by only a few votes. Mayor John Tory opposed adding three extra wards. Why?  Possibly because the new wards are downtown and could add three progressive voices and votes which might improve the tone and dare I say humanity of Council decisions. As an added bonus, Smitherman has close ties with the Liberal Party of Canada along with Immigration Minister and York South Weston MP Ahmed Hussen so no doubt there will be a strong link to the federal government.

Here begins the speculation that the long term plan is to knock John Tory off his mayoral perch in 2022.

Stay tuned; it should be an interesting ride.