Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Summer 2016 update

Hello and welcome visitors!

In the interest of providing an update, I thought I would quickly highlight two brief commentaries I wrote in the last few months: 
  • here is a post I wrote on the Ontario government's Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan in the context of the Ghomeshi verdict;
  • and here is a post I wrote on how we have approached fundraising in a grassroots and accessible manner in Parkdale-High Park over the past two years. 
I wrote a political blog for years on many issues of the day (over 8,000 posts and over 1 million visits!) and it can be found here.

My political interests and activities have evolved over the years, however. Since committing to run as a candidate in 2013 and running as a provincial Liberal candidate in my home riding of Parkdale-High Park in 2014, I have become more engaged in the community and on the ground commitments. That work continues.

I regularly update my Facebook personal page and also keep up with my Facebook political page. My Instagram page is @iamnleblanc. Feel free to check those pages or my Twitter site on an ongoing basis as well.

Thank you for visiting!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Solidarity with Paris

The CN Tower viewed from Union Station.

On Friday night, I returned to Toronto around 9:30 p.m. from Ottawa after attending an MP swearing-in. The CN Tower was lit in red, white and blue in solidarity with Paris and the French people after the tragic terrorist attacks on Friday night.

What a day for all of these new MPs to be sworn in. While on Parliament Hill, I poked my head into many different rooms to see various new MPs preparing to take their oaths with families and supporters in attendance, in addition to the ceremony I was attending. The security was tight with police guarding all Hill door entries. A preliminary bag check occurred at a table outside the entry to the building. A further detailed security check occurred inside that is comparable to an airline check. I was happy to do it and my mind turned back to it a few times as I read about the developing situation in Paris while on the VIA train that was zipping back to Toronto. 

This newly formed federal government is thrust into grappling with yet another international terror attack confronting one of our closest allies. And these new MPs will never forget their swearing-in date of Friday, November 13th, that's for sure.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Parkdale-High Park Provincial Fundraiser with Hon. Tracy MacCharles

Last night we held a provincial riding association fundraiser at Vesuvio's Pizzeria in the Junction. It was the first of many annual spaghetti dinner fundraisers to come and last night's festivities included 100 supporters, volunteers and donors to the provincial association. We were thrilled to have the Hon. Tracy MacCharles in attendance. Many were happy to meet with her and hear her speak about the landmark work that the provincial government is doing in the areas of prevention of sexual violence & harassment and in the promotion of women in senior management of companies and on boards of directors, in particular. A hearty thanks as well to former MPP David Fleet for his attendance and remarks and to the entire executive of the Parkdale-High Park provincial association. We could not have asked for a better night. A sell-out well in advance, great food - dinner included pizza, salad, spaghetti & meat balls and lasagna - terrific company, conversations and tremendous liberal spirit! See you next year!

Hon. Tracy MacCharles delivers her remarks after dinner.

A crowd shot at Vesuvios.

The spaghetti dinner with a side of Vesuvios famous lasagna too!

With Paul LeBel & Pamela Kostur.

Jeff Jedras, Toks Weah, Joseph Uranowski.
With Tracy MacCharles.

Corinne Muccilli & Thomas Franchi. Note red bow tie!

Former MPP David Fleet, Erica Fleet (R).

Gwynne Robb (L), Kelly Snow (R).

Manuel Rodriguez (L), Jamie Bulnes (R).


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

No jet expansion at Toronto island airport


Picture taken October 7, 2015 along the western waterfront on the Sunnyside Boardwalk

Updated (Nov. 15th, below):
 
As the Trudeau government prepares to be sworn in on the 4th, there are bits and pieces of substantive news breaking about the new government's priorities that are creating a sense of the shift in direction that we will happily be experiencing.

One such item that will be of interest to many Parkdale-High Park residents is the confirmation reported tonight in the Toronto Star that indeed, the new federal government will not support the expansion of Billy Bishop airport to enable jets to fly in and out. Given that the federal government is one of the key parties to the governing agreement over the airport, this effectively means that the issue is resolved against the wishes of the private owner of the airport and in favour of Toronto residents who largely did not support this expansion. In south Parkdale in particular, the issue saw much opposition from residents and many will be happy to hear this news.

See also: Liberals stand by vow to block jets at Billy Bishop (CBC)

Update (Nov. 15th):  On the evening of Thursday, November 12th, Marc Garneau posted the following tweets on Twitter in respect of expansion at Billy Bishop airport, confirming that the federal government will not support the proposed expansion:

Some uncertainty had been created on Thursday when Garneau had appeared to leave the door open to expansion upon media inquiry. His clarifications on Thursday evening effectively put an end to the issue. My view was always to support the public interest on the waterfront and oppose the expansion which had been driven by an airline's private financial interests and had the potential to burden so many public uses of the waterfront. I am glad that the new Canadian government has listened to the residents of Toronto and gotten the balance right.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

At the Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust AGM

Earlier tonight the inaugural Annual General Meeting was held for the Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust. The main purpose of tonight's AGM was to give a brief introduction to the land trust, to give an overview of and pass the by-laws, and to elect the first round of community members to become directors on the board (pictured below).

Notably, the land trust has received a substantial provincial Ontario Trillium grant as it commences its work in Parkdale. The project is well supported in the community, with over 185 members joining in the past six weeks or so.

It's also interesting that the Parkdale effort has affiliated with an American land trust network in the absence of any comparable group in Canada. This is clearly a unique and consultative project that reflects a desire in the community to be proactive and counter the gentrification trend that is squeezing many residents. 

Spaghetti dinner event - November 9, 2015

Details on the Events page of this site.

Update (October 28th): This event is now sold out. Stay tuned for future events.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Election Rally with Justin Trudeau

During the last week of the federal election campaign, Justin Trudeau came to Parkdale-High Park to support Arif Virani, our federal candidate. This picture was taken at the end of the brief rally as Justin was exiting the Cadillac Lounge patio.

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