Every four years, election fever grips the land (did I mention we love elections here at Weston Web?). This year, there are two elections and the first (June 7) is to elect a provincial parliament for the next four years.
Before we go any further, as a helpful guide to our readers, here is a 3-point cynical guide to the Canadian political system’s 3 levels of government.
The Federal Government collects most tax money (about $300 billion) and does the least for the average citizen on a day-to-day basis. It takes care of nation-wide things like defence, trade and border controls.
The Provincial Government collects a lot less money (about $140 billion) but does more things that affect our daily lives like build and maintain major transportation links and run health care.
Toronto Council has the biggest impact on our daily lives yet collects the smallest amount (about $36 billion) to serve 23% of Ontario’s population and because it is forbidden by law to run a deficit, has nowhere near enough money. To finance city operations, they must beg for funds from the other two levels. This may be because the other two levels know that on any given day, about one third of councillors are batshit crazy logic impaired and many of their decisions make no sense. To put things into perspective, PC leader Doug Ford was a Toronto councillor for four years and was considered at the time to be mildly eccentric.
Anyway, digression over. About two years ago, just before the last federal election, Weston Web went out on a twig and predicted that a big red wave was coming that would sweep the country. Dutifully, the Liberals under Ahmed Hussen captured York South-Weston from then MP Mike Sullivan.
We’re going to make another equally bold declaration for the upcoming June 7th provincial election. According to several polling companies, the Progressive Conservatives under Doug Ford are likely to form the next government barring a major upset. We don’t (that’s the royal ‘we’; I shouldn’t speak for Adam) beg to differ.
What does that mean for Laura Albanese, MPP for YSW since 2007? Over the years, she has formed alliances, grown into the job and holds down a cabinet post. She is hard working and well liked with an effective and experienced staff. Will she be swept away and lose her seat to the PC Candidate, Mark DeMontis? Will the animosity towards the Wynne government combine with a blue Ford Nation wave to propel young Mr. DeMontis into office? Then there’s the NDP. Running for the first time is well known community activist, Faisal Hassan. Can the NDP under leader Andrea Horwath mount an opposing Orange Wave between now and June 7? Will York South-Weston’s left of centre voters consolidate under Mr. Hassan’s NDP banner in order to stop PC leader Doug Ford? Let’s not leave out Bonnie Hu and Grad Murray running for the Libertarian and Green parties respectively.
What does it mean for Toronto and in particular YSW? The provincial government is vitally important in steering much needed money towards Toronto’s woefully inadequate transit system, lousy infrastructure, and other neglected projects like public housing. If allocated funds are cut off, or are diverted to projects that align with a new government direction, the city will have to start the laborious planning process from scratch. More on this in later articles.
At the moment, campaigning cannot officially begin until May 9th but leaders and candidates are straining at the leash. Let’s hope they can get the electorate to participate more than they did last time. In 2014’s provincial election, Ms. Albanese won with 15,660 votes – a mere 22% of the 72,000 eligible voters in the riding. Sadly, almost 39,000 eligible voters in YSW didn’t vote for any candidate. Thats 54% of voters!
Engaging those, ‘Who cares?’ non-voters may be the key to winning on June 7.
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).