Yesterday, we learned that the Ontario Court of Appeal had made a ruling which opened the door up to the use of voluntary intoxication as a legitimate defense in sexual assault and violent crime cases. It is already incredibly difficult for survivors of sexual assault to come forward, and to get the justice they deserve for the heinous crimes committed against them, anything that makes it even more difficult for survivors of sexual assault and violent crimes to get that justice is a painful step backwards. While some point out that this defense comes with a high burden of proof, anything that opens even a sliver in the window that has a negative impact on survivors is a step backwards especially when intoxicated violence disproportionately impacts women and girls.
When I put the call out to put pressure on the government to appeal this decision – the response was immense. We have now seen close to 200,000 signatures on my petition to file an appeal. To everyone who has already taken a moment to sign your name – thank you.
Supporting our small businesses is a vital part of our community getting through COVID-19 – and right now it’s especially important for us to be taking the time to support Black owned businesses in Toronto-St. Paul’s. We’ve seen lists of Black owned businesses, pop up, and now there is an initiative being spearheaded by the Black Businesses and Professional Association called ‘BBPA IN THE COMMUNITY’, which is seeking to help support Black owned businesses throughout Little Jamaica. The BBPA has partnered with the City of Toronto’s Economic Development and Culture Division, and the Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit (CABR) on this project. Me and my office have offered our full support to this necessary action.
One of the first things they have planned is a weekend webinar called “I remember Little Jamaica when…” that will first air on June 17 at 6PM. These webinars will feature guests including Jay Douglas, Itah Sadu, and Mayor John Tory. I am very excited to see what comes of this collaboration, and for more information you can check out their website here.
Throughout COVID-19 our community has found strength in the arts, as an escape from the daily realities of COVID-19. This weekend, at the Artists’ Garden, there will be another opportunity for an escape, as they host the National Arts Drive to Support Local Artists during COVID-19. There will be art displayed for the public to see, and residents are encouraged to either drive or walk by to see it for themselves! Participating artists will include Susan L. Brown and the North Toronto Group of Artists.
In another exciting piece of community news, The Stop has announced an incredible initiative called “St. Clair Supports the Stop.” This program will pay local restaurants along St. Clair Ave W, to provide meals for the Wychwood Open Door – operated by The Stop. Local business Cocoa Latte is leading the project forward, with the aim of both providing delicious and nutritious meals to those who need them, and at the same time injecting much needed business into our local restaurant sector.
This is a very interesting and innovative approach to battling the challenges of COVID-19 and I’m happy to extend my sincere appreciation to everyone who has been involved with this project up to this point! If you’re interested in finding out more, or donating to The Stop – click here!
Tomorrow, I am happy to share that there will be another community food table being set up at St. Matthew’s United Church at Rushton and St. Clair. This will be the 5th week of the food table, where residents who are able to, are encouraged to donate food, and residents who are in need can take food for free. If you’re interested in volunteering with the community food table, please sign up here.
I would also like to share with you an little note from our friends at The Linden School, who have written are article "Young, Black and Phenomenal: MPP Jill Andrew inspired by Linden students’ spoken word poetry" about my visit with them recently. You can read the aritcle here.
Finally today, as we move into another weekend, I must remind everyone that COVID-19 is still active in our community and that we all must be cautious in our actions to ensure that we are not helping it spread. That means that we continue to wear our masks in public when possible, wash our hands frequently, and make sure to check in on those in our lives who might need support. Our community has done a wonderful job rallying around each other in this very difficult moment – and let’s keep that up.
Stay safe everyone,
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."
News and Updates
Here are today’s new developments:
- The federal government announced it will provide $14 billion to the provinces and territories to help them reopen their economies safely, an amount Doug Ford said will not be enough to cover the impact of COVID-19 to Ontario, the cost of which he pegged at $23 billion.
- Ford said he does not support paid sick days during his press conference today, a doubling down on his government’s slashing of paid sick days for workers upon taking office – Andrea Horwath said Ford’s refusal to support paid sick days is callous, and puts Ontarians in an unsafe position. Further, it could contribute to a second wave of the coronavirus in Ontario.
- Dismal job numbers in Ontario for the month of May were revealed in this month’s Statistics Canada Labour Force survey. MPP Catherine Fife, said Ontario remains in economic free-fall while the rest of the country begins to rebound from the shock of COVID-19. “While other provinces have stepped up to protect jobs, support businesses and ban commercial evictions, Doug Ford has sat on his hands,” Fife said.
- Ford said he will announce details regarding "stage two" of the province's economic reopening early next week - this is despite the fact that the average number of new cases of COVID-19 daily has trended upward for the past week.
Solutions we’re pushing for:
- I am calling on the government to take over direct management of long-term care homes operated by Sienna, a company that runs 37 long-term care homes in the province. Disturbing reports and data reveal that Sienna homes have had some of Ontario’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreaks.
- MPP Mike Mantha, said the Premier's misleading announcement, made earlier this week, for Broadband funding in the north was a re-announcement of funding pledged in 2019 — an amount the Ford government has still only invested a fraction of. “The re-announcement shows Ford is failing to invest in broadband during the pandemic, when families need it most,” Mantha said, calling for $1 billion to be invested in broadband, and for the government to deliver high-speed internet to rural and northern communities that need it now.