January 2024 Newsletter
Happy New Year! Your Etobicoke–Lakeshore NDP Executive has many exciting local updates in this newsletter. From the Mimico spill to health care townhalls, we have many exciting ways for you to get involved in our work.
Mimico Spill Update: What is Ford Hiding?
In August of last year there was a fire at Brenntag Chemicals in North Etobicoke. This devastating fire are the resulting clean up contaminated the Mimico Creek with many complex and undisclosed chemicals. Residents want answers to understand what impacts these changes could have on local wildlife and their family's health and well-being. Unlike Doug Ford, Ontario NDP Leader Marit Stiles has visited Etobicoke–Lakeshore to hear from residents and local experts about what we do and do not know about the spill and its impacts. We want to thank Deputy Mayor Amber Morley and the Mimico Residents' Association for joining this event and making it successful.
There are many outstanding questions and the Ford government has failed to be transparent.
You Etobicoke–Lakeshore NDP Executive was unwilling to standby with Ford's lack of answers and took things into our own hands.
On December 19th 2023, we filed a Freedom of Information Request (FOI) to learn about what chemicals have contaminated the creek and what impacts those chemicals could have on people and the environment.
The Freedom of Information Act stipulates that in 30 days, FOI-requests are supposed to have a response from the specified Ministry indicating what the cost of providing the relevant documents would be.
As of writing , the Ministry of Environment has not provided us the response that is legally required in 30-days according to Ontario's Freedom of Information Act. We have not even been provided with a timeline as to when our response could be answered.
We are communicating with the Ontario NDP team who are interested in and supportive of our work advocating directly to the Ministry for answers.
We share this update so that you know what we are doing to fight for the answers our community wants and deserves. Stay tuned for future updates!
Call to Action: email City Hall calling for a budget that funds what matters most!
On Friday, there will be a key vote about the City of Toronto's budget. So much is at stake.
We are asking our community to call City Hall and demand investments in what matters most: housing, child care, transit, and mental health.
We have a script that you can use to call our City Councillor and the Mayor's Office.
Councillor Amber Morley can be reached at Councillor_Morley@Toronto.ca or 416-397-9273
Budget Committee Chair Councillor Shelley Carroll can be reached at Councillor_Carroll@Toronto.ca or 416-338-2650
Mayor Olivia Chow can be reached at Mayor_Chow@Toronto.ca or 416-397-CITY (2489)
Toronto’s budget is about our city’s priorities.
For too long, shelters, affordable housing, mental health, public transit, and social services have been starved of the funding they need.
I am writing to call on you to vote for a budget that reflects the needs of Torontonians.
The city’s upcoming budget is a chance to invest in what matters most. I know that many services, such as the Toronto Police, are slated to have an increase.
I know the city is working to fix a deficit, and choices must be made. I am asking you to choose to invest in the most important services for real community safety.
Shelters and deeply affordable housing
Mental health and new mental health first responder services
Public transit and climate action
Social services such as public health, recreational programming, and childcare
I know that well-funded interests are also pushing you for funding increases. But I hope you can listen to Torontonians over special interests. Fund our communities and deliver a budget that everyone in our city can be proud of.
Health Care Town Hall
Clogged ERs, inadequate home care, understaffed nursing homes, operations available in public hospitals are being offered at private clinics - at a higher cost to taxpayers! What’s the prescription for good healthcare in Ontario?
Clare Hacksel, Director, Federal NDP candidate for Toronto-Danforth, leader in healthcare and social services
France Gélinas, NDP MPP, Official Opposition Health Critic
Natalie Mehra, Executive Director, Ontario Health Coalition
Kingsley Kwok, President of Local 575, Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
Mon., January 29th • 7:30 to 9:00 pm
More cracks in Ford’s Greenbelt narrative as new evidence comes to light
Ontario NDP has revealed new evidence showing further involvement from the Premier’s Office in the Greenbelt scandal.
Emails obtained in response to a Freedom of Information request suggest a timeline that is inconsistent with the testimonies provided by Ryan Amato and Patrick Sackville under oath, and that the Premier’s office knew about the land swaps much earlier than they claimed.
Official Opposition NDP Leader Marit Stiles is calling for the Premier to start being transparent with Ontarians about what really happened.
“This e-mail shows that the Premier’s office was far more involved in the Greenbelt land removals than Mr. Ford claimed. The Conservatives are trying desperately to make this scandal go away, but it is becoming increasingly clear that they cannot hide from their corruption.
“With each new piece of evidence, we are seeing more cracks in the narrative that the Premier and his insiders have been trying to spin. But the truth is becoming clearer every day – Mr. Ford was not in the darkabout his government’s corrupt Greenbelt decisions.
“It’s time for the Conservatives to come clean about how they deceived Ontarians with this Greenbelt fiasco. If they don’t, I’m confident the RCMP will.”
- Patrick Sackville (former principal secretary and current chief of staff to the Premier) and Ryan Amato (former chief of staff to the former Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing) exchanged information including “list of criteria for removals” of 7,400 acres of the Greenbelt
- These emails were exchanged 10 days before the dates that Amato and Sackville provided to the Office of the Integrity Commissioner in a testimony made under oath
- Amato and Sackville used their personal emails to exchange information about public policy instead of their government emails
- Using personal email for conducting government business does not exempt one from the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, as outlined in the Auditor General’s special report on the Greenbelt land removals which saw recurring use of personal emails by government staff
Ford government to use taxpayer funds to retrofit US Conglomerates to also host ServiceOntario kiosks
The Ford Government is set to close over 11 standalone ServiceOntario outlets, part of a larger initiative to install kiosks in retail spaces as a replacement, moving them into Walmarts and Staples Canada stores. The retrofit costs for Walmart and Staples are reportedly covered at the expense of Ontario taxpayers. While Staples will fully own and operate the ServiceOntario locations, Walmart's arrangement differs, as the existing private owners of the two ServiceOntario locations in London South and Keswick will operate the kiosks within Walmart. The specifics of the financial arrangements between the government and the big-box chains are unclear, and there was no open bidding process.
The ServiceOntario locations being closed are privately owned small businesses, prompting questions about the government's priorities and decision-making. NDP Leader Marit Stiles raised concerns about the lack of transparency in the process, questioning why it wasn't subjected to a Request for Proposal. Stiles criticized potential secret deals with Walmart and Staples, diverting public funds to these companies while small Canadian-owned businesses struggle. She emphasized that the move could divert customers away from local businesses towards larger corporations.
Staples has been granted a sole-sourced deal, and the government asked the owners of the closing ServiceOntario locations to sign nondisclosure agreements. The Premier's Office highlighted improved accessibility hours and opportunities for impacted employees with Staples Canada. The government defended the move as a way to streamline operations and ensure cost-effective services. However, concerns persist about the impact on local businesses and the lack of transparency in the decision-making process.
Federal NDP Leadership renewal
The federal NDP is undergoing leadership changes in preparation for the upcoming election, with long-time national director Anne McGrath stepping down from her role. McGrath will now serve as principal secretary to NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh in the House of Commons, playing a larger role in overseeing the progress of the NDP's supply-and-confidence agreement with the Liberals. The agreement, established in March 2022 and set to expire in 2025, commits the Liberals to addressing key demands from the NDP in exchange for support on significant pieces of legislation, including potential expansion of drug coverage (pharmacare) for Canadians.
As the NDP national director, McGrath served as the party's CEO, managing operations at the party's headquarters and overseeing fundraising, staff hiring, and strategic planning. The role also involves building relationships within and outside the party, collaborating with the federal executive, provincial parties, labor, and the youth wing. Lucy Watson, a party stalwart with experience in the Canadian Federation of Students and various senior roles within the NDP, will assume McGrath's position. The party see's these staffing changes as essential for building momentum for the upcoming election, positioning it as a two-way race between the NDP and the Conservatives.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh expressed confidence in McGrath and Watson, emphasizing their experience and commitment in confronting the Conservatives and out-of-touch Liberal government. Singh critiqued Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre as not addressing the public's frustration and disappointment with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, asserting that Poilievre is not focused on helping families during challenging times.
Former Federal NDP leader Ed Broadbent passes away at 87
Former federal NDP leader and Broadbent Institute founder Ed Broadbent has passed away at 87. Recognized as a fierce advocate for ordinary Canadians, he served as a New Democrat MP for 21 years, including 14 as party leader from 1975 to 1989. Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh praised Broadbent's dedication to social democracy, emphasizing his commitment to building a Canada that serves everyone, not just the wealthy.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged Broadbent's impact on Canada, stating that the country is better off because of his commitment to helping others. Born in 1936, Broadbent held a PhD in political theory and is remembered for advocacy in areas such as justice, equal rights, and democracy. Trudeau expressed condolences to the Broadbent family and all Canadians mourning the loss of this visionary leader.
Brian Topp, chair of the board of directors for the Broadbent Institute, pledged to continue Ed Broadbent's work, describing him as an extraordinary parliamentarian and political leader with a deep passion for justice and equality. Broadbent's legacy includes efforts to end child poverty, eliminate income inequality, and advocate for women's rights. National NDP director Anne McGrath highlighted the widespread positive impact of Broadbent's activism, emphasizing his consistent willingness to help others.
Marit Stiles calls out Ford PCs to address healthcare crisis in Ontario
NDP leader Marit Stiles has urged Ontario Premier Doug Ford to urgently address the healthcare crisis in the province. During a press conference on January 11, 2024, Stiles emphasized that the closure of hundreds of ERs and urgent care centers last year due to staff shortages has led to people having to travel for medical assistance. Stiles identified the issue as a staffing crisis, stating that the loss of healthcare workers is occurring at an alarming rate, surpassing the province's recruitment efforts.
Stiles criticized the government's measures, asserting that they are insufficient to tackle the healthcare challenges faced by Ontario. She highlighted the widespread impact of the crisis on Ontarians and called on the Tories to collaborate with the NDP in recalling legislation to immediately reduce healthcare wait times. Stiles proposed specific actions, including dropping the appeal of a court ruling against the public sector wage restraint law, implementing nurse-patient ratios, and passing NDP legislation to limit healthcare staffing agency spending in larger municipalities to prevent nurse poaching and excessive pay.