Supervised Injection Services (SIS) are a critical piece in both saving lives and reducing the city-wide impacts of the opioid crisis that is gripping cities across North America, including Toronto. I support expanding SIS, as well as increasing their hours of operation, to better meet the needs of residents who are living with addiction. Without SIS, vulnerable users will turn to injecting alone in secluded areas. That risks adding to the thousands of people who have lost their lives to preventable overdoses in Ontario.Read more →
August 7, 2018
I stand with Toronto's diverse communities in rejecting hate and division. News of an anti-Islamic event being planned for Nathan Phillips Square on Saturday, August 11 is a disappointing reminder that, as far as we have come as a society, many still cling to violent prejudice. We must continue to come together in the spirit of cooperation and pluralism to show strength and solidarity with those being targeted.Read more →
Yesterday’s announcement that the Ford government will be unilaterally cutting Toronto’s City Council in half is deeply unsettling. It’s been under two months since the provincial election and already Ford is abusing his powers against Toronto’s democratic structure. It was not part of his campaign platform when he ran to be Premier and I have no doubt that this is only the beginning of his work to reshape Ontario in his own image.
Toronto’s residents deserve a say in how their municipal government is organized. After the multi-year extensive ward boundary consultation process which ended in 2016, Toronto residents expressed their desire to have a City Council that more effectively represented the population growth that intensified under Ontario’s own planning growth policies. The resulting 47-ward structure recommended by the external consultants was endorsed by City Council and upheld at the Ontario Municipal Board and the Ontario Superior Court. As a city, we invested time, money, and public consultation to arrive at the new ward boundaries before us. Now Ford wants to repeat a failed “mega city” experiment from the past.
Toronto, like cities across Ontario is struggling. With an opioid and mental health crisis, a shelter system at capacity, a lack of deeply affordable housing, and increasingly gun violence in our neighbourhoods, Toronto needs adequate social services and investments to address complex problems and the communities at the centre of these challenges need better, local representation, not less. The best of what Ontario is today was not built on decrees in opposition to local government. Modest neighbourhoods, often times poor and isolated will be the earliest casualties in this reduced council gerrymandering. We can not let this happen.
At Mayor Tory’s press conference today, he too objected to Ford’s process and offered to host a “referendum” as a rebuttal. For someone who wants a “strong mayor” system, his response was disappointedly meek. We need leaders to rise up with residents to defend our democracy.
In the 1990s, 76% of residents objected Mike Harris’ megacity and that referendum did not stop amalgamation. His promised savings and effective government never materialized. Instead, transit planning became deadlocked, municipal programs stagnated and the cost of delivering essential city services became more expensive with less government accountability. Toronto has never fully recovered from this forced marriage.
Ford and his ilk may not like how Toronto governs itself today, but it is fundamentally undemocratic to impose this change unilaterally from the Premier’s chair upon our city. Make no mistake, will not helping Toronto govern ourselves better. He is not doing this across the province. This is about Ford politically targeting our city and region by weakening Toronto.
Three immediate actions you can take:
- Add your name to Progress Toronto’s Stop Ford petition: https://www.progresstoronto.ca/stopford
- Show up at Tonight's Rally: Stop Doug Ford: NO CUTS To Council https://www.facebook.com/events/234521980713455
- Contact the Premier’s Office to register dissatisfaction: 416-325-1941; email@example.com
Together we must resist Ford with a better vision for Toronto. This is a clear and destructive attack on Toronto, and the residents and communities will not sit by and do nothing. Both on the streets and in the courts, together we will fight for the integrity of our democracy and the residents of Toronto.
2018 Municipal Election Communication Rules for City Councillors
As you may already know, there is a municipal election coming up this fall on October 22, 2018. The recently amended Municipal Elections Act, 1996 ("Act") now requires municipalities to establish rules and procedures with respect to the use of municipal resources during the election period. To preserve the public trust and integrity of the elections process, the City’s Policy sets out provisions that address: (1) access to City facilities during an election period, (2) access to City resources during an election period, (3) access to City information during an election period, (4) attendance at City events during an election period, and (5) restrictions to services provided to Members of City Council beginning August 1 of an election year.
These rules stipulate that City Councillors are not permitted to send out communications to constituents after August 1st. These rules were recommended by City staff, as required by provincial legislation, and approved by City Council, in order to ensure that City resources are not used for election purposes.
This means that my office is not permitted to send out information in e-newsletters, or print newsletters, after this date. If there is an emergency, my office is permitted to communicate with constituents regarding this emergency. However, after August 1st, regular e-mail newsletters are not permitted.
To ensure that residents are notified of this rule, I will include this reminder in my email newsletters for the next number of weeks. Here are additional details with respect to these rules:
After August 1st, City Councillors are not permitted to:
- Send out email newsletters or print newsletters
- Host or organize meetings or events
For more information, click here.
Last night, our city was shaken to its core by a cowardly and unspeakable act of violence. My thoughts are with the families of those who are experiencing unimaginable loss, and to those who are in the hospital as a result. I wish them a swift and full recovery. My heartfelt gratitude is with the first responders and their life-saving efforts – Toronto police officers, firefighters and paramedics who rushed as quickly as possible to the scene following this horrific incident. To the medical staff in emergency rooms across Toronto, we too are indebted to your service.
We will come together as a city to grieve and process our pain, but we must also take action. Gun violence has become too commonplace. Guns are too readily available to too many. Yes, the issues of violence are complicated and will require political courage, but doing nothing will continue to put our communities at risk.
I anticipate our continued work with our Federal government in taking action on stricter gun control legislation. During my time in political office, I have advocated for the retention of the long-gun registry and its data, promoted the idea of regulating and banning bullets from our city limits and most recently for the strengthening of the new gun control legislation Bill C-71: An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms, which is currently before the Senate. We need stronger background checks, limitations on the sales of firearms and stronger regulations for a proper gun registry and around the transportation of a gun. These are important steps in keeping our communities safe.
We must also recognize the root causes of violence. Stronger gun control legislation is imperative, but so is action on its social determinants. Lack of mental health and addictions services, lack of deeply affordable housing, and lack of social supports all increase the likelihood of violence in our communities. We must also recognize the increasing relationship between social isolation and acts of violence. To create communities that are safe for all, we must address social inequity in all shapes and forms.
Torontonians are resilient and strong. Nothing has prepared us for yesterday's gun violence. In this time of grief, please know that you are not alone. Victim Services Toronto (416-808-7066) is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and provides immediate crisis response, intervention and prevention services which are responsive to the needs of individuals, families and communities affected by crime and sudden tragedies. Gerstein Centre (416-929-5200) provides crisis response as well, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Here is an extensive list of crisis resources.