Greens field candidate

The Green Party has fielded Ignacio Mongrell for the provincial election, completing the roster of candidates from the major parties.

The Greens say “Mongrell is a husband, environmentalist, and entrepreneur who proudly identifies as queer. He has worked with entrepreneurs for over 12 years at the Waterloo Accelerator Centre…. He is currently the Assistant Director at ICUBE, a business accelerator program at the University of Toronto.”

Michael Ford will be running for the Progressive Conservatives. Ford is, of course, the nephew of Premier Doug Ford and currently the city councillor for Etobicoke North.

Nadia Guerrera is representing the Liberals. She is teaches at Chaminade, where she heads the Social Science Department. Guerrera ran in Parkdale–High Park for the Liberals in 2018.

Faisal Hassan, our incumbent MPP, will be running again for the New Democrats.

Hassan calls for fewer pot shops

Our MPP, Faisal Hassan, asked Queen’s Park to do something about the “proliferation of cannabis stores” in York South–Weston and the province. Ontarians are, he says, “losing the character of their neighbourhoods, with cannabis shops seemingly everywhere. At the municipal level, business improvement areas and residents have little influence on the location of these cannabis operations”.

Hassan said that the NDP’s plan was better: “well-regulated cannabis distribution, including control through the proven, responsible hands of the LCBO.”

The Attorney General, Doug Downey, took his question but dodged it with a non-answer.

Hassan said in his email circular that “There is a clear consensus throughout York South—Weston that things need to change”. He also said he supported Bill 235, which would give city halls the ability to veto retail applications.


My toke take: I don’t like pot, and I have no particular love for cannabis shops. I think I’ve been in one once—and you know what? It was really nice.

I’m also not really sure what the harm is. It seems to me that nearly all pot shops are responsible retailers, and are, in fact, extremely quiet. I’d certainly rather have a pot shop next to me than a muffler—or even coffee—shop.

Pot shops are making jobs, supporting a nascent national industry, and providing a service people pay for. They don’t work on large margins (they must buy from their largest competitor), and these are very early days yet. I say we let the market decide. If they’re truly not wanted, they’ll go out of business. Otherwise, let them bloom.

Weston is a hotspot for COVID

Weston, Mount Dennis, and Humber Heights are hotspots for the COVID virus, with some of the highest rates of infection in the city. Excluding healthcare transmissions, Weston is the second-most infected neighbourhood.

The city released data yesterday that showed the geographic distribution of COVID sufferers.

 

  • Humber Heights, just across the river, has the highest rate in the city, with 1525 cases per 100,000 residents. 
  • Weston has the second-highest rate in the city: 1022 per 100,000.
  • Mount Dennis is fifth, with 904 cases per 100,000.

This is, of course, terrible and tragic, but it may be explainable by a higher concentration of nursing homes, which have been responsible for many transmissions.

In part, this is the case: excluding institutional cases, Mount Dennis and Humber Heights fall to a more typical number of cases. Weston, however, does not.

If we don’t count the number of cases in nursing homes and elder care, Weston has 705 cases per 100,000 residents—15 times the number in the beaches, and 6 times the number in the Junction.

Only nearby Maple Leaf has more cases. Weston has the second-highest infection rate in the city, and therefore among the highest infection rates in Ontario, since COVID cases are concentrated in the GTA.

 

Jagmeet Singh promises flood relief

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh visited York South-Weston today and heard from local residents about flooding issues in the riding. Accompanying Mr. Singh were many well known NDP faces in the area including MPP, Faisal Hassan, upcoming federal election candidate Yafet Tewelde and local organizer Chiara Padovani who conducted the tour. Mr Singh, an affable and attentive man spent a couple of hours in the area.

The leader walked from Rockcliffe Court to Hilldale Road to hear some of the issues that have not been dealt with despite years of local flooding. The recent sale of 8 acres of city owned flood plain land at 200 Rockcliffe Court exposed some of the less savoury aspects of decision making in our fair city.

The contentious land at 200 Rockcliffe.

The land was sold off to a meat packing plant in spite of residents’ objections. This is an area that routinely floods after a storm and where nearby, in a recent event, two men almost drowned in an elevator as water flooded the building they were in. Read more in this excellent article here.

Chiara Padovani talks about the controversial city decision to sell flood plain land to a meat packer.

Faisal Hassan, Jagmeet Singh and Yafet Tewelde listen to the 200 Rockcliffe story.

Jagmeet Singh and Yafet Tewelde greet Hilldale Road residents.

At Hilldale Road, local resident Franco Ruffolo opened his home to show the extent of flooding he and his neighbours have faced in the past few years. Franco showed some video of the water levels and damage that his property sustained and outlined the inadequate settlements from insurance companies. Residents in the area worry that insurance companies will no longer issue policies on their homes.

Franco Ruffolo shows Jagmeet Singh video of his home flooding.

Jagmeet Sing is proposing that instead of matching funds with the city and province, an NDP government would pay the whole cost of flood remediation work so that homeowners in flood prone areas are better protected and don’t need to wait for all three levels of government to agree. He is promising $2.5 billion to respond to disasters and support communities like York South – Weston to adapt their infrastructure to withstand floods and other extreme weather events.

The tour went off well and made some strong points. Mr. Singh delivered some concluding remarks at the end of his visit and then spoke live to the media.

Local candidate Yafet Tewelde added some remarks.

Hassan ejected from commons

Faisal Hassan, our MPP, was ejected from Queens Park yesterday after protesting Premier Ford’s plan to use the notwithstanding clause to force ward amalgamation.

The NDP members protested by banging their desks and shouting until they were escorted one at a time from the chamber by the sergeant at arms.

Hassan had voiced his opposition to the Conservative’s plan earlier in the week. He called the motion “undemocratic” and suggested it was dictatorial. On Twitter he called it “an abuse of power”.

 

Jennifer Keesmat in Weston

Jennifer Keesmat, mayoral candidate and Toronto’s former city planner, visited Weston this weekend, and hung out with our NDP MPP Faisal Hassan. She also met Chiara Padovani, who hopes to become our city councillor.

Keesmat with Hassan and Padovani

Is this the start of an allegiance? I’m tempted to enquire, but it’s one of those questions I don’t really want an answer to.

Your correspondent has heretofore not been a Keesmat supporter, because he has a long memory and will not forgive her for shoehorning a 29-storey tower into 22 John St, and (incorrectly) papering the decision with the tall building guidelines.

But this is an enchanting possibility: a sharp left turn, a unified front, and a clean break. I’m not yet in favour, but I could be.