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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Monday, October 19, 2015

Our provincial team support during the federal campaign

Throughout the course of the lengthy federal campaign, our provincial association members consistently stepped up to help the cause here in Parkdale-High Park. Whether they were official federal days of action, advance poll days, or our own team days on which we took initiative, the provincial team was there. We had a positive result and our federal candidate Arif Virani was elected. Here are some of the photos from our days on the streets. Thanks all for coming out and making a difference.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust

I attended the first meeting of the Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust on September 21, 2015. The meeting focused primarily on landlord & tenant struggles in Parkdale of late with many gritty stories told by tenants of their recent experiences.

Looking forward to seeing the development of this innovative land use tool in Parkdale in coming years.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Ukrainian Festival Parade in Bloor West Village

Our provincial riding association executive were out in full force to stand with our Ukrainian neighbours in Parkdale-High Park and march in the annual parade. Thanks Jeff, Kimberley, Martha, Jean, Joseph, Toks, Manuel, Richard, Arnold, Evan, Corinne and Nick for coming out!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

PHP contributions to the Simcoe North by-election

We had a great road trip on Saturday August 22nd to the riding of Simcoe-North to support Fred Larsen, the provincial Liberal candidate in the September 3rd by-election. A hearty thanks to the boys - Santiago Vega and Rick Stewart - for their professionalism and enthusiasm at the doors of our poll & for the many kilometers walked and laughs during the day. These happy photos are truth.

We also enjoyed the Starry Night festivities on the streets of Orillia after our day of canvassing. We were happy to meet up with Fred and his wife Lois amidst the crowds and caught up on a bit of what we had heard during the day at the doors.

We also noted local federal Liberal candidate Liz Riley's digs, took in the music and had a burger on Mississauga Street before heading back to TO.

While Fred and the team did not prevail in a tough race against an incoming provincial leader, our team was happy to support the dedicated Ontario Liberal effort.

On election day, the PHP team delivered pizzas to the volunteers at four home centers across the Simcoe-North riding. Thanks to Toppers Pizza for the tremendous donation.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Women in Leadership fundraiser with Hon. Tracy MacCharles

On April 29th, a terrific gathering of over 100 women leaders from business, not-for-profit, and academic circles occurred in downtown Toronto to celebrate an inaugural Women in Leadership event, hosted by Ontario's Minister of Children and Youth Services and Minister responsible for Women’s Issues, the Honourable Tracy MacCharles.

The landmark action plan to stop sexual violence and harassment and Ontario's efforts to improve women's representation on boards of directors and in senior management of companies are two reasons why women were keen to come out to show their support for such achievements - not only for women but for the province and the cause of equality for all citizens.

 It was a pleasure to work with an outstanding team of chairs to support this successful event.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tenants meeting in Parkdale

Last week I attended a tenants organizing meeting in Parkdale that was quite well attended, as you can see from the photos.

There was a hearing this morning at the Landlord-Tenant board at 79 St. Clair Avenue East at 9 am and a demonstration outside the board - part of what last week's organizing meeting was about. One of the Parkdale buildings was the subject of a hearing today on the issue of back to back yearly above guideline rental increases. Additionally, there is a group building challenge to the landlord's legal ability to remove superintendents from the site of these buildings.

When I ran during the provincial election of 2014, the difficulties tenants are having in Parkdale with this one landlord in particular, the foreign-owned Akelius, came up repeatedly. So, during the summer and into the fall of 2014, I continued to pay attention to these issues and began to try to help based on the concerns I had heard.

You can read more about the meeting here.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Commentary - Political integrity in Ontario

I wrote about the President and CEO of Postmedia's public endorsement of Patrick Brown for the leadership of the PC party of Ontario, here.