I had the honour of representing us once again today at Queen’s Park and took the opportunity to voice the concerns I’ve been hearing loud and clear from members of our community. This morning I delivered a member’s statement to address anti-Black racism in Ontario – and to specifically denounce the incredibly ignorant and deeply hurtful remarks made by Premier Ford yesterday. In his remarks the Premier said that Canada doesn’t have the same “systemic, deep roots” of racism as the United States.
In this one press conference the Premier's words erased the lived experiences of countless Black Ontarians and from my many phone calls and emails received - the very lives of Black community members right here in St.Paul's.
Anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism pervades our society. To attempt to dismiss, downplay, divert or distance oneself from Canada’s own racist history only serves to deepen the divides in our society and does nothing to unify us. It also does nothing to address the systemic changes and the complete overhaul of institutions of power that is required if we are to truly embody equity and be on the right track to liberation.
I reiterate my call for a fully transparent independent, public investigation in the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet. You can watch my full remarks here.
You can learn everything you need to know about a government by looking at how they treat those who due to social and economic conditions have been made to be most vulnerable in their society. In Ontario, for many years persons with disabilities have been forced to live in poverty due to the very low rates of ODSP and OW. For many on ODSP and OW, COVID-19 presented even further challenges for them. Employment Insurance could help them get by – or it would if the Conservative government wasn’t clawing back 100% of what they were receiving.
Today in Question Period, I took the opportunity to ask the government directly why they were doing this and to demand that they stop their inhumane claw back immediately which disproportionately impacts disabled Ontarians. You can watch the full video here. As I said in the Legislature, the province cannot profit on the backs of disabled Ontarians!
Switching gears, we are in the midst of local food week, and all week I will be highlighting different community gardens in our neighbourhood.
Today, we recognize the incredible Frankel Lambert Community Garden.
In their own words:
“Frankel Lambert Community Garden (FLCG) is a community garden hidden in the hydro corridor just north of the train tracks at Dupont & Christie. We've been gardening here for 10 years and are looking forward to the next ten.
In 2008, some residents of the Melita Crescent neighbourhood got to talking with then-city councillor Joe Mihevc about the possibility of starting a community garden in the hydro corridor south of Christie Gardens. Joe waved his magic wand (that is to say, worked super hard for us) and got all the necessary approvals in addition to funding for a fence, water taps, and a tool shed!
Friends, family & neighbours have now gathered every year for ten years proud to be a part of what makes this neighbourhood a community.
On average, they have roughly 100 people gardening 55 family plots, 4 raised beds gardened communally by residents of a neighbouring retirement home, a pollinator garden, a healing herbs garden, and extensive community beds full of fruits trees and bushes, vegetables, and flowers for all members to share and enjoy.
Frankel Lambert Community Garden hosts educational and social events throughout the season, including children's activities, potlucks, and a harvest festival, to which the surrounding community are invited."
Today, I am also issuing a community call out for support for an initiative being spearheaded by Danielle Radicanin from our community to bring over a family of refugees from Northern Iraq, if you’re interested in getting involved, there will be more information below!
Finally, I’m sending out another reminder that while there is a lot happening in the world right now, COVID-19 is still with us, and we all need to make sure that we’re remaining vigilant in our efforts to slow its spread. That means that we need to keep our physical distance from one another, we need to be washing our hands, and when we’re out in public please wear a mask. Every effort we make today will save lives in the future.
Sending you all virtual, physically-distanced hugs,
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."
Community Call Out - Supporting Syrian Refugee Project:
A community member has asked my office to put the call out for support.
Danielle Radicanin reached out to my office to help bring a Syrian family to Toronto who are currently stuck in a camp in northern Iraq.
The Dara Family are a family of five, and a family that we would like to see our community support. The family consists of a mother, a father, and three children with ages ranging from 13 to 24. They are eager to come to Canada and begin their new life.
But, in order for this to work, Danielle needs volunteers to help her with the application.
For more information on how you can help, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
News and Updates
Here are today’s new developments:
- Canada’s Minister of Transport announced new requirements for the use of face coverings among transportation workers on modes of transport including rail, road, marine, and aviation.
- Trudeau will deliver remarks at a virtual summit of the Organization of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States, and is expected to promise support for developing countries hit hard by the pandemic.
- Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh condemned Trudeau’s failure yesterday to criticize the actions of U.S. President Donald Trump, and called Trump’s actions “reprehensible."
- In Ontario, a day after Doug Ford told reporters that Canada does not have “systemic, deep roots” of racism, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath called on the Premier to issue an emergency order to begin the collection of race-based data when it comes to the province’s health care delivery.
Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:
- During question period this morning, Horwath read parts of an anguished letter from Dorothy Rodriques to NDP MPP Faisal Hassan (York South-Weston). Dorothy is the widow of Leonard Rodriques, a Black PSW who died of COVID-19 after not getting proper PPE at work, and after being sent home from the hospital despite his debilitating COVID-19 symptoms. Dorothy has called for the immediate collection of race-based data by the Ford government, a plea that Horwath echoed.
- NDP Environment critic Ian Arthur condemned the Ford government for wavering on continuing blue-box collection in small communities, schools and parks, as documents obtained by The Globe and Mail reveal.
- NDP MPPs Jeff Burch, critic for Municipal Affairs, and NDP House Leader Gilles Bisson are urging Ford to commit to providing emergency operating funding to municipalities right away, so cities and towns left cash-strapped by the pandemic can continue to run day cares, transit, public health units, water treatment facilities and so much more.
Featured Art Submission
Her son, who’s seven, hugs her. ‘Please don’t die!’
In the OR, masked up, gowned up and scrubbed,
Double-gloved and goggled, she wonders why
The world is now so mercilessly drubbed
By a virus that none can see is there….
While she’s on break, her cellphone rings, a query
About an old fellow fighting for air:
Can he be ventilated? Feeling leery
On the way there, more so hearing him gasp,
She sits, spells out his one-in-fifty chance;
Summoning his voice – it’s a rusty rasp –
He says, with an out-of-the-window glance:
‘No tubes; maybe I live, maybe I die;
If so, I should be looking at the sky.’
He lives in Toronto's East End with his two younger daughters.