Living through a global pandemic has presented challenges that most of us never thought we would face: the separation from our loved ones, being trapped inside our homes, and a global death toll that is now over 750,000. The full impact that COVID-19 is having on us all is hard to measure and will be studied for years to come.
So, as we begin another summer weekend, please take the time to need to check in with yourself and your loved ones. We all need the support right now.
The last couple weeks have been very challenging for our community as we’ve seen an increasingly divisive conflict in our Yonge and Eglinton community regarding the shelters that have moved into the area and the associated impacts on the local community – which have been exacerbated by a lack of the necessary supports.
Sadly, the issues now present in our community are all too familiar for many in Ontario, and are the result of many years of neglect. Frankly, the provincial government, especially, deserves a lot of blame here for their many years of substandard investment in mental health supports, inaction addressing the housing crisis, and unacceptably low ODSP and OW rates that trap people in a cycle of poverty. Today, I am reiterating my call for the provincial government to step up to the plate and provide funding for the full range of services that our community requires right now.
Earlier this week, I released an open letter that dives deeper into this topic. You can find it here.
This week we have also been faced with two event postponements.
Last night, my office had technological issues that meant that we needed to postpone our livestream discussion on Adult Literacy in Ontario. I’m very sorry for any inconvenience that this may have caused – but I’m also excited to announce that this event now has a new date – Monday August 17th at 7PM on Facebook Live! You can RSVP here.
We have also had to change our date for Andrea Horwath’s visit due to a schedule change out of our control. The great thing about this is our next date will give Andrea even more time to visit us here in St. Paul's to speak with our families, visit our small businesses and hear first hand what makes our community the community it is. Stay tuned, as we are incredibly excited about this opportunity in Toronto-St. Paul's and we sure hope you will be a part of it.
On Thursday August 20th, from 2 to 4PM, Skills for Change will be hosting another fantastic event. This workshop will be focusing on Parenting skills to help children manage their stress. This workshop is for parents of children aged 4 to 9 years old. If you are interested in finding out more and registering for the event, please click here.
Tomorrow, we will also be bringing back our Community Food Tables for another week! All four tables will be operating for their normal hours. We are currently still looking for volunteers for the 1-2 and 2-3PM shift at Cy Townsend Park, if you’re interested in helping out, please click here!
Finally today, I want to share with you an exciting Indigenous food package that’s being put together by Charger Foods. The 3 Sisters Vegetable themed dinner package will be rolling out soon and if you’re interested in finding out more about how you can purchase one – you can check out their website here – or email Chef Charles for more info here.
Community Food Table Locations for Saturday August 15
729 St. Clair Ave W ( located at St. Clair West and Rushton)
Oriole Park Community Garden from 11am to 3pm
201 Oriole Parkway (near Frobisher and Lascelles)
Cy Townsend Park from 11am to 3pm
455 Winona Dr (corner of Winona and Vaughan)
Marian Engel Park from 11am to 1pm
285 Melita Ave (just west off of Christie)
News and Updates
Here are the some key developments from the week:
- The Ford government refused to back down from its bargain basement back-to-school scheme, making a non-announcement Thursday that offered no comfort to parents who are now facing an impossible choice between sending their kids back to crowded classrooms and trying to find a way to take more time off of work to stay home.
- Windsor-Essex finally got to join the rest of the province in Stage 3 of re-opening Wednesday — something the NDP believes could have happened sooner if Doug Ford had stepped up testing and contact tracing, and ensured agricultural workers could isolate when outbreaks occurred.
- Ontario released its first-quarter fiscal update, which the NDP says showed the Ford government has been pinching pennies in all the wrong places — adding $0 to the education budget and not spending nearly enough to put an iron ring around nursing homes.
Solutions we’re pushing for:
- Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath joined with concerned parents, teachers and education workers in Ottawa, Kingston and Peterborough to fight for smaller, safer class sizes.
- Catherine Fife, Ontario NDP critic for Economic Growth, called on the feds and the province to cut out the middle person, and flow the remaining commercial rent relief funds directly to small business owners.
- Laura Mae Lindo, Chair of the Official Opposition Ontario NDP Black Caucus and Anti-Racism Critic, says the government must finally address deadly anti-Black racism in policing. Lindo’s call comes after a new report by the Ontario Human Rights Commission found that Black people in Toronto are more likely to be arrested, charged, shot and killed by Toronto police.
- Kiiwetinoong NDP MPP Sol Mamakwa is calling on the Ford government to support families who have evacuated Red Lake and Eabametoong, after their communities declared a state of emergency due to the threat of fires.
If you have a positive story from our community OR a virtual event you're hosting that you want amplified, please email us at JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca.
Birthday, Anniversary Greetings
During normal times, my office sends out congratulatory scrolls to folks across the riding to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and other milestones! While we're taking physical distancing measures, I will be continuing this digitally. If you have a birthday coming up in the family and you would like a special video message from me, please email us at JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca. And if you should decide to share your video on social media do tag us @JillsLastWord on Twitter and Jill Andrew - MPP, Toronto-St. Paul's on Facebook.
Calling Local Artists
If you are local artist, and you have a piece of work that you’ve been putting time into, we would love to share it with the community! We know that #ArtsSavesLives and minds especially during traumatic times. If you’re interested in sharing your art please email us at JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca
ALL art submitted MUST be accompanied by a short artists statement (50 words or less) to help contextualize the art. Additionally, there are no guarantees that submissions will be included in the newsletter. Thank you for sharing your work with us and our community."