Longtime York South—Weston resident and advocate to become NDP candidate

Faisal Hassan, a resident of Weston and a longtime community advocate, is set to become the NDP’s candidate in York South—Weston for the upcoming provincial election.

Hassan says that this community has given him a lot; he wants the same opportunities that he has received to be accessible to all residents of York South—Weston. He believes in job creation, addressing income inequality, public health care, affordable housing and child care, and environmental sustainability. He sees a bright future for all residents of York South—Weston.

Currently Hassan serves on the volunteer board of the Weston King Neighbourhood Centre (WKNC) in Weston, and has been an active union member. Earlier on his career, Hassan hosted a popular current affairs radio program and served on the volunteer boards of the Centre for Equality in Accommodation and Brampton’s Habitat for Humanity.

As a politically active community member, I have been able to witness Faisal’s commitment to his community. He has canvassed all the issues that we care about and that greatly impact residents of York South—Weston; universal pharmacare, labour law reform, and the privatization of hydro, among many other things.

If you would like to meet Faisal Hassan, join the York South—Weston NDP at their nomination meeting on Wednesday, November 8th, 6pm at Weston Collegiate (100 Pine Street).

New PC candidate: Mark DeMontis

The Progressive Conservatives have long been total also-rans in York South–Weston, but that looks about to change. Mark DeMontis has announced his candidacy for the PC nomination.

DeMontis, a Westonian, is well known for rollerblading across Canada to raise money for Courage Canada, a charity that helps blind and low-vision people get into hockey. DeMontis was a promising hockey player himself before losing much of his sight in early adulthood.

Past PC candidates have been total duds, and have barely campaigned. DeMontis, by contrast, has been present in the community and has been increasing his presence on Twitter for several months. He may prove a challenge in this traditionally centre-left community.

Ferreira quits NDP

Paul Ferreira from Wikipedia.

Paul Ferreira is a well known local political operative. He’s been a progressive political activist since 1990 covering all three levels of government. His work has been mainly behind the scenes serving under Howard Hampton, Mike Sullivan and Andrea Horwath. He won a by-election in 2007 to briefly become MPP for York South-Weston but was defeated by the present incumbent Laura Albanese in the general election held that same year.

It is rare that someone of his status quits the NDP and the reason seems to be that the party has lost its way. Socialism no longer seems to be a guiding principle and has been replaced by opposition for its own sake and policies based on winning power rather than on core beliefs. Both Mulcair and Horwath shifted sharply to the right in recent elections and voters punished them accordingly.

According to the Toronto Star, the last straw triggering Mr. Ferreira’s move was the provincial NDP’s opposition to tolls on the Don and Gardiner expressways.

People like Paul Ferreira live and breathe politics so it’s unlikely that we have heard the last of him politically. Currently the provincial Liberals seem to entertain more progressive ideas than the NDP. Perhaps Paul will find a welcome there. In the meantime, look for more dismal news from the provincial and federal NDP parties until new leadership takes over.

YSW NDP AGM

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 10.12.19 AMNext Monday, March 21 will see the annual general meeting of York South-Weston’s New Democrats. On the agenda will be the task of electing a new executive.

Guest speaker will be Peter Tabuns, NDP parliamentary critic on the environment and education.

  • Date: Monday March 21
  • Time: 6:30 – 9:30 pm
  • Place: York Civic Centre, 2700 Eglinton Avenue West.

For more details read here.

Horwath hosting Hydro Happening Tomorrow.

From niagaraatlarge.com
From niagaraatlarge.com

Former York South-Weston MP Mike Sullivan and Provincial NDP Leader, Andrea Horwath are hosting a meeting on Wednesday evening to discuss ramifications of the proposed privatization of Hydro One by the provincial government. More details about the meeting are here. The sale of provincial assets, is seen by some as a way to ease a substantial budget deficit.

This type of short-sighted action certainly didn’t enhance former Premier Mike Harris’ reputation when he leased Highway 407 to a private consortium for 99 years. It also seems to fly in the face of generally progressive policies favoured by the Wynne government.

  • Date: Wednesday March 2nd.
  • Time: 6:30 – 9:30pm
  • Place: Jane Street Hub, 1541 Jane Street.

Sullivan: I’m (probably) back.

Now that the dust has settled after October’s Federal Election, I was curious as to how former York South-Weston Member of Parliament, Mike Sullivan was adjusting to the new reality of being a regular citizen once more. He agreed to an in-depth interview and we sat down last Friday over coffees in a busy Perfect Blend Bakery. We touched on four main topics that we will roll out over the next four days;

1. Fallout from the election

2. The Weston Cultural Hub

3. Metrolinx

4. The Church Street, former Humber River Regional Hospital Site.

Mike Sullivan in April 2013 as an MP campaigning for protection of the Humber.
Mike Sullivan in April 2013 as an MP campaigning for protection of the Humber.

1. Fallout from the election

We started with his experiences during the last election. Sullivan claims that he would not have done anything differently during the campaign that was the longest in modern history. He believes that the shifting of votes away from the New Democratic Party happened very suddenly during the last weekend of the campaign.

“People in the riding weren’t paying attention to the local situation They were also voting against Harper and choosing Liberals to be the ones to beat him. None of the Toronto area NDP MPs were re-elected as the Liberals captured all 25 Toronto seats. I lost a lot of friends in other ridings (who were also Toronto area MPs). It’s politics though and if you can’t take that, don’t run. You can kick yourself afterwards over things we should and shouldn’t have done but I don’t think we did anything wrong locally.”

It’s not all bad though; Sullivan is now able to see a lot more of his five beloved grandchildren, three of whom live in Mississauga and the other two in Edmonton. Last year, Sullivan and his wife spent Christmas in Edmonton and this year there will be celebrations in his home in Toronto and in Mississauga. The Sullivan family’s holiday fare is traditional and includes lots of turkey and ham.

I asked if he was thinking about staying in politics and setting himself up as the opposition to the new MP. He pondered that for a minute, smiled and said,

“Probably. Time will tell how long it will last. It’s (the next election) four years away and I’m not necessarily setting myself up in opposition to the local MP but when I see something that is unfair or not helpful then I’ll be unafraid of saying it.”

Remembering that Sullivan had a constituency office on South Station Road, and not being able to find much information about Mr. Hussen’s constituency office, I asked Sullivan if he knew where it was. Sullivan replied that it is not set up yet but that it will be in the same vicinity as MPP Laura Albanese’s. He suggested that having an office in an industrial area is, “Not helpful”.

The complex where MPP Laura Albanese has her constituency office.
The complex where MPP Laura Albanese has her constituency office.

On Monday, I checked the address, 85 Ingram Drive from where Mr Hussen will be operating. There was nothing to indicate that he has a presence in that building although a sign on a sports equipment store in the same building seemed to indicate that a number of people have been trying to contact the new MP.

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MPP Laura Albanese and Councillor Frank DiGiorgio already have offices in that same complex. The location may not be handy for constituents who walk but perhaps communications between those particular politicians will be made somewhat easier.

To ensure that he stays in the public consciousness, Sullivan has begun writing about issues of concern to York South-Weston residents once more. His first since the election deals with the Liberal tax cut plans.

Postscript: I had a call this afternoon from Christine Whitten who will be working in Ahmed Hussen’s constituency office. She explained the delay in setting up new parliamentary offices because, for example incoming MPs inherit their furniture from the previous incumbent. In addition, the furniture, previously used in Mike Sullivan’s Constituency Office could not move directly but had to be delivered to a storage location before being forwarded to the new MP. Things like internet and phone lines likewise cannot be arranged directly but have to be ordered through the House of Commons. Christine says that as soon as the office opens (hopefully early in the New Year), Mr. Hussen will be holding an open house so that constituents can drop by and meet their new M.P. In the meantime, York South-Weston residents are invited to contact Ms. Whitten at 416-432-2974 should they require further information or assistance.

Tomorrow: Sullivan’s thoughts on the Weston Cultural Hub.

Big Red Wave – Epilogue

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The official results from last night’s election are:

  • Apathetic non-voters: 26,743
  • Ahmed Hussen: 20,091
  • Mike Sullivan: 13,203
  • James Robinson: 8,394
  • Stephen Lepone: 1043
  • John Johnson: 887

Sixty two percent of the York South-Weston electorate voted which is an improvement on the 53% who voted in 2011. As can be seen, the largest group of people in the riding were the ones who couldn’t be bothered to vote. Whether it was ever possible to interest any of those thousands of non-voters in supporting Mike Sullivan is something that we can only speculate on. As Sullivan himself will attest, it’s hard to stand against a wave. Alan Tonks couldn’t do it in 2011 against Sullivan when Jack Layton powered an NDP surge that swept the country and now, with change being the operating word, the Liberals have roared back and astonishingly swept the NDP from all Toronto ridings.

Mike Sullivan was warned in WestonWeb over a year ago that the Liberals would be coming on strong for yesterday’s election. This was even before the selection of Ahmed Hussen as the Liberal Party nominee. Three Hundred Eight, the website that kept a running average of the polls consistently predicted a Sullivan loss throughout the campaign. No doubt, many in Weston will be saddened by Sullivan’s departure from Ottawa – after all, we had an MP living in the neighbourhood who knew local issues well and had earlier played a large part in promoting Weston’s causes when the UP Express was first proposed. Even though he wasn’t part of the government, he was a voice for Weston and York South-Weston as part of the Official Opposition. When floods struck the area in 2013, Sullivan organized events to support residents whose homes had been devastated. Mike has always been an approachable and friendly presence at local events and provided a welcome foil to the partisan activities of the other levels of government.

We wish Mike well as he packs his things and returns full-time to Weston. He will now be able to take a well earned rest and spend more time with his beloved grandchildren. We can only hope that our next MP will, as part of the new government make it his first priority to introduce himself to residents and be an effective and forceful representative of the people in his riding.

That is of course until the next wave comes along.