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and has set up headquarters in Mount Dennis while a former Ward 12 contender from 2014 is Lekan Olawoye who has withdrawn.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.
US political site Counterpunch.org has an article commenting on the current provincial election campaign. Apparently the Ford name has piqued interest down there. The author, Canadian political commentator, Doug Johnson Hatlem claims that no Liberal seat in Ontario is safe and that York South-Weston has become a safe NDP seat. The author states that when families get together over a long weekend, they have a chance to mull over the political situation as a group and opinions become firmer.
Cycle YorkSouth-Weston has tweeted this fascinating wish list for Weston drawn up by residents back in 1985. Some very forward looking ideas were proposed and some have actually come to pass (the Humber footbridge). Would the people who created this list 33 years ago be pleased or disappointed with the progress made since then?
from a 1985 public consultation asking residents what they would like to see improved on their main street “Canadian Cycling Hall of Fame and Museum” “Weston Bicycle Festival and road race” “reduce speed” “take back the main street” pic.twitter.com/XMiTcxKhX6
On Monday night at the annual general meeting of the York-South Weston NDP, special guest speaker, Party leader Andrea Horwath outlined the major planks of her platform for the upcoming June 7th provincial election.
In his introduction to Ms. Horwath, York South-Weston riding nominee Faisal Hassan described her as an incredibly strong, passionate woman and a champion for working families who is working hard to build a brighter future for all Ontarians.
Ms Horwath went on to outline what an NDP government will do if elected.
Bring Hydro back into public ownership and lower bills.
Expand affordable not for profit quality child care (currently over $2000 monthly in Toronto).
Expand minimum wage to everyone (e.g. restaurant servers)
Make it easier to form unions
Make temporary workers permanent after 3 months
Match funds with the Federal and City governments for social housing repairs and maintenance
Give all Ontarians access to free prescription drugs
End the layoffs of workers
Fund healthcare to cover inflation and take care of the unique needs in each community.
Make sure healthcare funding matches population growth
Stop school closings – schools will become vibrant, well-funded community hubs
Combat anti-black racism through re-innstituting the Anti-Black Racism Secretariat (an earlier version of today’s Anti-Racism Directorate) and fight all forms of discrimination and hate.
Reduce our carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions in a way that’s fair and not costly to the poor – make polluters pay.
Ensure that indigenous people are able to have a decent life.
A coat drive in 12 Division, run by the good people in the Police Liaison, the LEF, the TTC, and the TDSB, has given out more than 400 coats to chilly people in York South–Weston—including 100 kids. Now they’re looking for some hats, mitts, and scarves.
If you have any you can donate, bring them by 12 Division, at 200 Trethewey Drive.
As the New Year opens, there are some hopeful signs that 2018 will be better and more cheerful than 2017. Here are a few in no particular order.
Minimum Wage and Paid Vacations.
From today, the Ontario minimum wage moves from $11.60 to $14.00. While this may be a tough slog for small businesses, for a large number of people in Weston / Mount Dennis and millions in Ontario, a 21% rise in hourly wages will be a great boost to their personal finances. Contrary to the debunked Trickle Down Theory, when poor people get money, they spend it, increasing growth.
Prescription plan for under 25 year-olds.
This little heralded plan will genuinely improve the lives of millions of Ontario children and young adults by ensuring that most prescriptions and health care supplies are provided at no cost. These two measures from the Ontario Government will provide a much needed boost to our local economy as disposable income rises. Better yet, they were implemented before an election.
Our spell of Alberta weather has no end in sight and is no doubt providing a bonanza to plumbers and furnace repair companies. Our days are already getting longer so can spring be far away? Besides, there are surprising benefits that come with cold weather.
Election year x 2
Here at Weston Web we love elections. Not only do we have a provincial election in June but a civic one in October.
In Ontario, Kathleen Wynne will be looking to hang on to power for the Liberals, battling the Tories’ Patrick Brown and Andrea Horwath for the NDP. Locally we have Laura Albanese who has gained in confidence and competence over the years and will be a formidable opponent. She will be facing Faisal Hassan who worked locally in former NDP MP Mike Sullivan’s office and Mark DeMontis whose compelling story and hockey background may resonate.
In Etobicoke Centre, Liberal Yvan Baker will probably hold his seat despite his seemingly limited thinking skills. In Toronto last year, around 50 people were killed by people driving vehicles, yet in spite of data showing distracted driving to be the major cause of deaths, Mr Baker chose to target pedestrians with his private member’s bill.
In Toronto‘s civic elections in October, Ward 2 will see Mike Ford handily re-elected while in Ward 11, Frances Nunziata will no doubt achieve the same result. The big story will be who will win the mayoral election and thus decide the future of the city. Doug Ford is already pulling rank on nephew Mike – Mike’s Christmas message was hijacked by Uncle Doug. Frances Nunziata will likely be speaker regardless of whether Tory or Ford win since she has a foot in both camps. The big question will be if a credible centre-left candidate can run and pull the rug out from under ‘Rob Ford in sheep’s clothing’, John Tory. The Mayor has already moved his talking points sharply to the left in anticipation and will be vulnerable to Ford as a result.
Another reason for optimism is that thanks to ward distribution, the three additional council seats may not be so friendly to Mayor Tory should he be successful.
The Weston Hub will see artists able to occupy their studio spaces in July as work continues on the 30-storey rental apartment tower, community space and rental storage facility.
Sewer Relining Ends
Sewer work will be ending this year along the Humber and peace will return, (hopefully in October) to our parks after years of clanking disruption from heavy machinery. Cyclists and walkers will appreciate having the Pan Am trail to themselves once more.
We’re Safer than Ever!
The Economist recently placed Toronto as the fourth safest city in the world after Tokyo, Singapore and Osaka.
OK readers, your turn. What makes you cheerful about 2018?