In December 2016, Dafonte Miller, a young Black man, was attacked by two brothers, one an off-duty Toronto Police officer. The assault was carried out with a metal pipe and as a result Dafonte lost one eye permanently. He also suffered a broken orbital bone, bruised ribs, a broken nose, and a fractured wrist as a result of the attack.
For years Dafonte and his family have been fighting for justice in his case, and today the judge announced his decision. Const. Michael Theriault was found guilty of assault. On all the other counts against him and his brother, they were found not guilty - specifically aggravated assault and obstruction of justice. This decision pours salt in an already open wound of police brutality toward Black and Indigenous people going effectively unpunished. Dafonte Miller will be living the rest of his life with the injuries that he sustained in this assault - both physical and psychological, while Cont. Theriault will face a minor penalty for his role in this vicious attack.
Our legal system has once again failed to deliver justice.
In COVID-19 news, Ontario continues to see our daily cases decline, while testing rates continue to increase. Today we reported an additional 111 cases, which is the lowest number of new cases since late March. While it is heartening to see these numbers keep dropping, let’s stay focused. We can see looking at the United States what can happen when a reopening plan is not enacted slowly and deliberately. It is vital that we do everything we can to prevent a potential second wave, and that starts with our community taking the appropriate steps to reduce the potential for transmission.
As we move into another weekend, let’s stay cautious as we enjoy the great outdoors.
Wear a mask in public and keep your physical distance from anyone outside your bubble of 10. Keep in mind, that when you wear your mask you are keeping everyone around you safe. It is a simple, easy step that when adopted universally will save lives in our community. Make sure to be washing your hands regularly and supporting those in our neighbourhood who are most vulnerable to COVID-19.
The housing crisis in Toronto has been hurting many members of our community for a long time. One of the pieces that has been most difficult for renters in our city has been the power imbalance existing between tenants and landlords, and in recent weeks the Ford government has taken steps that will make this problem even worse. Bill 184, will speed up the eviction process and eliminate avenues of recourse for tenants who are in a dispute with their landlord. This week, I joined my Toronto MPP colleagues and wrote a joint letter to the Premier to raise concerns on behalf of our tenants. Please see here.
It would never be the right time to put forward this ill thought out piece of legislation, but to do so during a global pandemic is unthinkable. Along with my colleagues, I will be working diligently to fight back against Bill 184. I am also deeply thankful to our local residents who have spoken directly to the Ford government through committee consultations on the tragic consequences of Bill 184.
Long-term care has been mismanaged, underfunded and understaffed well before COVID-19. Long-term care in Ontario has gotten worse courtesy of COVID-19, and there has been much questioning of the government’s handling of the long-term care system in Ontario. On Wednesday night, we learned that prior to COVID-19 arriving in Ontario, the PCs own Minister of Long-Term Care had her proposal for increased funding in long-term care homes rejected.
This shows clearly that the government cannot plead ignorance to the shortcomings in our long-term care system. They were warned and they failed to act.
Further, since COVID-19 began it’s rampage through long-term care facilities, the government has continued to either react slowly, or outright reject proposals from the Official Opposition that would have saved lives. All of these pieces together paint a grim picture of this governments ability to provide health and safety to the people on Ontario, and adds further weight to the demand for a full public inquiry into Ontario’s long-term care system.
Finally today, I want to let everyone know that we are cancelling tomorrow's Community Food Tables due to the risk of rain and thunderstorms.
But don't worry, we will be back up and running next Saturday!
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."
Due to the possibility of thunderstorms, we've made the decision to cancel the Community Food Tables for tomorrow.
They will be back up and running next week!
If you are interested in signing up to volunteer for next Saturday, you can at the links below!
Sign up to help at St. Matthew’s Church on July 4
News and Updates
Here are today’s new developments:
- Trudeau says Canada is nearing self-sufficiency when it comes to production and supplies of PPE.
- The federal government will send 900 Red Cross personnel to staff long-term care homes in Quebec until September, as the military prepares to leave facilities there and in Ontario. At Ford’s press conference today, Health Minister Christine Elliot indicated Red Cross won't be staffing Ontario homes, claiming staff that stopped working when the pandemic hit are starting to go back – of course, the Ford government is still refusing to pay fair wages to workers like PSWs or to implement paid sick days - issues the we have been pushing for.
Solutions we’re pushing for:
- We hosted a Pride Cabaret Show last night, to celebrate Pride 2020. Terence Kernaghan and I, introduced a line-up of 2SLGBTQIA+ performers in a celebration of queer art, culture and community - watch it here.
- Andrea Horwath will host a live-streamed, virtual summit on transforming Ontario's long-term care sector on Thursday, July 2. The summit will feature discussion with a long-term care expert and breakout discussion groups with a range of long-term care stakeholders.