WiTOPoli Weekly: Friday, December 4

A roundup of some of the latest news in women, Toronto, and/or politics this week. What stories did you read this week? Tell us in the comments.

  • Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau nominally rejected the Toronto island airport expansion in November. The Liberal government, Minister Garneau included, remains firmly against the expansion of the Toronto island airport.
  • A Toronto doctor is making the financial case for opening five supervised injection sites in Ontario – two in Ottawa and three in Toronto. Dr. Ahmed Bayoumi claims that these sites will save money and decrease the number of cases of HIV and hepatitis C. Ontario’s Health Minister Eric Hoskins says that requests for such sites must come from municipalities.
  • Municipal Affairs Minister Ted McMeekin confirms that Toronto is the only city in Ontario that is allowed to charge a land transfer tax and there is no planned legislation that would allow other cities and towns to bring in their own tax.
  • Many Syrian refugees who have been offered the opportunity to come to Canada are not prepared to move by the end of the year, but the government is still committed to their goal to resettle a total 25,000 refugees. It has been confirmed that, of the 3318 privately-sponsored refugees to settle in Ontario, 80 percent of them will reside in Toronto.
  • According to a Toronto Star Investigation, drivers seeking their A licence, which is required to drive a truck, have a better chance of passing the road test at rural DriveTest Centres. Following the publication of this information, Transportation Minister Steven DelDuca expressed his commitment to ensuring that all DriveTest Centres are held to the same testing standards.
  • The 2015 Ontario Association of Food Banks Report found that nearly 360,000 adults and children are using food banks across Ontario monthly. Precarious employment, low wages and lack of affordable housing are some of the identified factors that contribute to food insecurity.
  • The Quebec government is proposing a legislation that would require that all firearms in Quebec be registered. Bill 64, the Firearms Registration Act, would impose a fine ranging from $500 to $5000 for failing to register a gun.
  • Three Toronto taxi drivers began a hunger strike at city hall in protest against Uber, which will be covered under city by-laws.
  • As the criminal trial against Constable James Forcillo continues, Desmond Cole argues we need to disarm the police.

WiTOPoli Weekly: Friday, November 27th

A roundup of some of the latest news in women, Toronto, and/or politics this week. What stories did you read this week? Tell us in the comments.

 

 

WiTOPoli Weekly: Friday, October 2

 A roundup of some of the latest news in women, Toronto, and/or politics this week. What stories did you read this week? Tell us in the comments.

  • A Toronto police officer pleaded not guilty to the fatal shooting of 18-year old Sammy Yatim on a Dundas Streetcar in 2013. The trial is expected to last at least 8 weeks.
  • Tension rose during the Munk leaders’ debate on Canadian foreign policy when the three main party leaders debated over citizenship, refugees, security and the Keystone pipeline. Oxfam Canada’s Executive Director pointed out that women’s issues were excluded from the foreign policy discussion.
  • Excluded from another federal election debate, Green Party leader Elizabeth May uses Twitterto participate in the Munk foreign policy debate.
  • woman wearing a hijab was harassed in Montreal this week and reported in to police as a hate crime. In last week’s French language debate, Harper repeated his refrain that women should not be allowed to wear a niqab during citizenship ceremonies, even though the courts have already contested his stance.
  • The Ontario government is seeking to appeal property tax assessments. Mayor John Tory responds with the threat of increasing the rent on properties the city leases to the province.
  • City councillors voted on regulating Uber under city by-laws. Proposals include that the starting fare for taxis be reduced by $1 and that Uber refrain from operating until the regulations are amended. A report is expected this spring.

WiTOpoli Weekly: Friday, August 8

A roundup of some of the latest news in women, Toronto, and/or politics this week. What stories did you read this week? Tell us in the comments.

  • The Metro’s Matt Elliot has updated his colour-coded scorecard on Toronto city councillors’ voting records. Though the gist of the scorecard is to to illustrate which councillors vote more or less consistently with the mayor, it’s also a helpful overview of recent council issues.
  • Following a court hearing this week, two class-action lawsuits will move forward concerning the mistreatment of detainees during the Toronto G20.
  • A new pilot program aims to deliver health care services to Torontonians in multiple languages.
  • Brampton residents were appalled to find anti-immigration flyers in their mailboxes this week targeting the town’s Sikh community. The police are investigating but the flyers likely do not qualify as hate speech.
  • The Conservatives have been criticized for for appointing Dennis Savoie as the Canadian envoy to Vatican City, because of Savoie’s controversial comments about abortion, in which he compared abortion to the 9/11 tragedy. Despite the NDP’s request to withdraw the appointment, the Conservatives maintain that Savoie is entitled to his personal beliefs and promise not to open the abortion debate.

Ask Your Candidate: Youth

By: Lauren Simmons, with files from Ali Chatur

Electoral candidates often talk about making Toronto better for the “citizens of tomorrow”, but concrete action from City Council on issues that impact youth in Toronto can be hard to come by. While youth under 18 aren’t able to vote, those who we elect on their behalf will make many decisions that affect them. Here are few ways you can glean just how supportive of youth your potential City Councillors are. One on One 1. What do your candidates plan to do about youth homelessness? Recent evidence suggests that more and more young people in Toronto are using the city’s homeless shelters. This trend, coupled with the increase in need for youth-oriented mental health services and more support for LGBTQ youth in shelters in Toronto, presents a problem on which City Council can no longer remain inactive. Ask your candidates what they plan to do increase affordable housing and transition support for youth in Toronto, especially those with mental health concerns and those who are members of the LGBTQ community.

2. What are your candidates’ strategies for supporting youth who are immigrants or who belong to racialized groups? Data from the Ontario Trillium Foundation suggests that more than one-third of youth in Toronto are immigrants and more than half of youth are members of a racialized group. These young people are often underserved by the current settlement supports for newcomers, which are themselves underfunded and difficult to navigate. While we regularly see media coverage about youth violence (sometimes with racist undertones), we hear less about the degree of support City Council offers for youth activities and programs in racialized communities. Do your candidates have any specific ideas for supporting newcomer and/or racialized youth in your Ward? If so, how do they plan to fund and implement them?

3. What are your candidates’ views of lowering transit fares? Many young people travel on public transit to school and work. The young people we spoke to clearly emphasized the need for Council to work to keep fares low so that youth, many of whom are only able to find precarious or part-time employment, can afford to travel in Toronto. What do you the potential candidates in your ward think about the idea of low transit fares? Are they interested in lowering fares, keeping the status quo, or raising them to pay for improvements? If they propose to keep fares as they are or lower them, how do they intend to pay for services in the future?

4. What are your candidates’ views on the Youth Equity Strategy? Earlier this year, as a result of a motion from Councillor Josh Matlow, Council received the Youth Equity Strategy, which included 28 concrete suggestions to improve life for youth and to reduce violence amongst young people in Toronto. Among the suggestions are the creation of a “youth equity champion” position, to be appointed from within Council, and the creation of a city-wide committee to combat the problem, which would include members from all the other committees of council. The initiatives proposed by the Youth Equity Strategy do amount to additional budget expenditures, but they’re ones that youth in Toronto are clamouring for. Do your council candidates support the Youth Equity Strategy? Are the dedicated to working at Council to advocate on behalf of youth to see it through?

Council candidates should be voices for all Toronto’s marginalized citizens, but arguably no one needs to have Council on their side more than our youth. Ask the right questions to find out if your prospective Councillors are indeed onside.