Megan Delaire has written an article about traffic related air pollution (TRAP) in toronto.com today and the accompanying gif is a telling reminder of why the shift to electric vehicles cannot come soon enough for the health of people living in Toronto near major highways and downtown.
The article uses a gif that rotates a series of four images showing the levels of four pollutants measured and published in 2017.
Here are the four individual maps in a static format so they can be viewed more easily. York South-Weston is outlined in red. It’s clear that the greater volumes of traffic on the 401 and downtown create more TRAP. The first two maps show particulate matter in two sizes. Small particles are insidious because they can irritate the lungs. The smaller the particles, the bigger the risk to health.
Benzene is a particularly nasty chemical associated with gasoline. More on benzene here.
It’s clear from the maps that living near major highways provides a greater exposure to contaminants. Noise is just one of the toxic by-products of major highways. The faster we can move to electric vehicles, the better for our health. More on TRAP from the University of Toronto here.
Megan promises a follow-up article describing what can be done to reduce TRAP levels. Read the article here.
This week’s debate left me deeply impressed. All the candidates were worthy of consideration. Most were more than worthy: they were excellent, and any riding would be lucky to have them. We’re spoiled for choice in York South–Weston.
That said, I’m voting for Nicki Ward, our Green candidate. She is thoughtful, smart, articulate, and fiery. She would be an excellent representative for us. She would be a particularly excellent Green candidate because she would stand out in a party of beige.
It’s taken me a long time to reach this decision, though I was able to eliminate two parties quite quickly. I won’t vote Conservative because they do not have a viable plan to deal with climate change. Their plan is nonsense on stilts. I won’t vote for the PPC because they are far-right populists.
The Liberal party has led on issues I believe in, including legalization and carbon taxes. I would gladly vote for them if Hussen weren’t our MP. However, I don’t think he is a good representative for his riding, and he has been a quite bad Minister of Immigration.
Hussen lauded and posed with Turkey’s autocrat warmonger, Erdoğan, who this week launched an invasion of Kurdish-controlled Syria.
He has mismanaged the Safe Third Country agreement. He has lied about his ministry. He has insulted other politicians. And he has consistently blamed the Conservatives for his department’s problems.
I think Hussen is the worst kind of politician: he’s a team player. We elect people to work for us, not their party. I’ve long felt that Hussen shows up every day for the Liberals.
That leaves the NDP and the Greens.
I think that Yafet Tewelde would make an excellent MP. He seems to work hard and be serious. He lives in the community, and he is smart. He also has a good ground game and support. I was going to vote NDP until I saw Ward in the debate.
Nicki Ward was very impressive. She seems to have run her campaign almost alone (and by public transit!), and she brought a well researched, zingy performance in a field of bright minds. She was brave and funny, and she held her own against better supported candidates. I would love to see what she is capable of if she had a party apparatus behind her.
Ward also impressed me very much when she said she would express only her own opinions, not her party’s. Canada needs more of that. While everyone else was standing on platforms, Ward committed to building one to represent York South–Weston.
But, I hear you say, “strategy”! “Divided votes!” “The next Harper!”. I hear you complain “the Greens don’t stand a chance”.
Honestly, I don’t care. Strategic voting is a bit of silly “I know that you know that I know…” where we all try to guess what everyone else is doing. Knock yourselves out. Really. I can’t be bothered.
I think the real strategic vote is for a person who should hold a prominent position in a party that could hold the balance of power. The real strategy is electing a hard-working, respectful, smart and principled person to represent us.
The People’s Party of Canada announced their candidate for York South–Weston: Gerard Racine.
If Racine is going to campaign seriously (which I doubt), he has some work to do. His site contains no French translation (but a French button), and the website equivalent of leaving the tags on your new jeans: “this is an example featured content slider” text on the main page.
And, to my never-ending despair, it misspells York South–Weston as “York-South Weston”. Not. Even. Close.
The PPC is the newest federal party, way-far right, and an outside chance. Their policy includes: “attacks against ‘radical multiculturalism,’ climate change science and foreign aid”.
The Mount Dennis Community Association has proposed October 9 as the date for the York South Weston candidates’ debate. The location will be Weston Collegiate Institute on 100 Pine Street. All York South-Weston community groups are invited by the MDCA to participate in organizing the event.
Dave Bennett is a busy man with deep ties to the Weston community. Apart from helping raise a family of four, he has been active as a volunteer in Weston for quite a while having been a member of the Weston Residents’ Association for many years and is now the chair. He is past president and current board member of the Weston Heritage Conservation District, volunteers with Weston Minor Hockey, has coached house league for almost 15 years, has supervised a division for 9 and has been a VP for the past few years.
His role as a parent at St John the Evangelist Catholic School has now ended (his youngest child graduated last year) and Dave is now community relations advisor to its Parent Council having been chair for many years. As a result of his knowledge and experience, he feels he can make a contribution in terms of the way schools are run in York South Weston and has entered the race to become a school trustee with the Toronto Catholic District School Board. When asked about his chances of winning, Dave feels that his chances are pretty good. This is not a surprise considering that Mr. Bennett is used to achieving things in his life.
Dave says that the new school was long overdue and tells me that the old (now demolished) building was really two additions joined together. The original school at 23 George Street was added on to when more space was needed and later when enrolment increased, the older building was replaced with yet another addition. In later years the school needed twelve portables to accommodate students. The new building will be almost twice the size of the old one and will even have room for 36 day-care students. He modestly points out that many people are responsible for the new building’s existence, including former MPP Laura Albanese. He is obviously proud of the new school and easily rattles off facts and figures along with other details of its unique construction. At the moment, SJTE students are being accommodated a few minutes’ away at St Philip Neri on Beverly Hills Drive near Jane and Wilson.
He proudly points out that the new school field rests on a styrofoam base inside a giant concrete container covering the UP Express and GO Train tracks. The styrofoam helps reduce the load on the tunnel while not being deep enough for the field to float during heavy rains .
While his children are now too old to attend the new school, he feels some satisfaction in knowing that future generations of Westonians will enjoy the new facilities which will open in September 2019.
Getting back to his passion for hockey, Dave says his neighbours are always impressed by the timing of the Bennett annual backyard rinks, built following Farmers’ Almanac winter forecasts. Dave says that the Almanac hasn’t let him down yet. Based on their forecast, expect to see the family rink by mid-December at the latest.
One of the quirks of the new ‘slimline council’ legislation is that nominations for Toronto councillors (and trustees) were re-opened on Monday. People who feel that their chances might be better running in the larger York South-Weston ward (now Ward 5) have another chance to throw their hats in the ring and face off against incumbents Frances Nunziata (formerly Ward 11) and Frank DiGiorgio (formerly Ward 12). There are a few well known politicians living in York South-Weston Ward 5 who no doubt will be mulling over the possibility of running; taking advantage of the vote being split between the two incumbents. Current main opposition to the incumbents, Chiara Padovani is mounting a vigorous campaign and has set up headquarters in Mount Dennis while a former Ward 12 contender from 2014 is Lekan Olawoye who has withdrawn.
Will any of Weston’s political figures be tempted to step into the fray? Strange things can happen in the midst of chaos. For the latest list of candidates use this link.
Previous 47-seat council nominees are required to declare their intention to remain as candidates and all nominations will close at 2:00 pm on September 14 – less than six weeks from the election date of October 22.
Incidentally, Ms. Padovani should do her supporters a favour and ask for contributions over $25 – small contributions over $25 get a 75% rebate. The full rebate table is here.