WiTOpoli Weekly: Friday, October 23

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.

  • Justin Trudeau’s Liberty Party won a majority government on Monday, winning 39.5 percent of Canada’s votes and 184 seats in the House of Commons. Find a detailed breakdown of the 2015 federal election results here.
  • Take a look at how the 2015 federal election would have looked with proportional representation. Was this the last first-past-the-post election in Canada?
  • Sticking to his election promise, Prime Minister elect Justin Trudeau will appoint new cabinet with equal gender balance, which would be a federal first. Mr. Trudeau also proposed a new parental work plan, allowing new parents to take leaves up to 18 months combined with maternity benefits.
  • A record 88 female MPs were elected to Ottawa among 338 MPs, 50 of those women are Liberals. This is a 1% percent increase from the last federal election, for a total of 26%  women in the House of Commons. While the progress is good, more needs to be done to get women into politics.
  • MPP Yasir Naqvi announced Thursday that street checks will be eliminated in Ontario by the end of the Fall but details are still unclear.
  • The TO Prosperity plan, Toronto’s landmark Poverty Reduction Strategy took another step forward this week and the report will be sent to council for approval next month.
  • Bombardier informed TTC that it would be able to only provide 16 of the 23 new streetcars by the end of the year. TTC is getting increasingly frustrated with Bombardier and its inability to meet production deadlines, which may impact Bombardier’s ability to bid on future TTC contracts.

WiTOPoli Weekly: Friday, May 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.

  • Mayor Tory asked the civic appointments committee to review their recommendation to add 4 white men to the TTC commission. In the end, council decided to sub out one of the male appointments for Maureen Adamson, making her 1 of 2 women on the 11-person commission, which includes no visible minorities.
  • At this week’s city council meeting, Mike Layton’s motion to implement inclusionary zoning did not earn enough votes for debate but instead will be referred back to committee before returning to council. Inclusionary zoning would force new developments to set aside a certain number of unit for low income residents.
  • Tenants in Parkdale have been organizing against Swedish property company Akelius for the poor service and unfair rent increases they’ve been experiencing. As a Parkdale Legal Services rep explains “Akelius wants working class and immigrant tenants out of their buildings in Parkdale, that is clear.” Learn more about the challenges tenants face in this write-up on Landlord Licensing from Torontoist.
  • After Rachel Notley’s stunning win in Alberta this week, Equal Voice’s Nancy Peckford reflects on the many accomplishments of her historic campaign. Not only will the new Alberta government have the highest percentage of female representatives in Canadian history, but the campaign was focused on Notley’s ideas rather than her personal life, which is rare for a female candidate.
  • Despite nationwide protests last week and repeated concerns raised over privacy violations, Bill C-51 has been passed.
  • A new study released this week details the serious gender pay gap in Canada which is double than the global average.
  • The NDP will introduce a bill to end the tampon tax, piggybacking on the efforts of an online petition which has reached over 72,000 signatures.

WiTOpoli Weekly: December 5, 2014

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.

  • Tomorrow is the National Day for Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. This year, December 6th marks the 25th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam hosts a commemoration today from 12:00-1:00 pm in the Member’s Lounge at City Hall. We’ve also compiled a list of other memorials being held around the city as well as information on a postcard campaign from the Coalition for Gun Control, which was founded in the wake of the Montreal Massacre.
  • Justice Minister Peter MacKay was criticized for remarks he made earlier this week, claiming that the motivation for the Montreal Massacre was unknown. Both Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and NDP leader Thomas Mulcair were swift to point out that the shooting was clearly an act of gendered violence and needs to be recognized as such.
  • Twenty-five city councillors signed a letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne, urging her to challenge the constitutionality of Canada’s newly drafted prostitution laws (Bill C-36) at the Ontario Court of Appeals. The signatories expressed concern over the bill’s “danger to some of the most vulnerable women we represent”. The letter will be presented in council today marking the National Day for Remembrance.
  • Mayor John Tory was sworn in this week, unveiling his new Executive Committee and appointing Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong as Deputy Mayor. At the top of Tory’s agenda is his plan to relieve traffic congestion. Be sure to check out Neville Park’s Cheat Sheet on how to keep up with council meetings and upcoming dates to follow.
  • Kathryn Borel came forward this week, identifying herself as one of the original sources in the Toronto Star’s Jian Ghomeshi investigation. Borel reveals how her workplace harassment was repeatedly mishandled by the CBC and how it affected her career.
  • A grand jury declined to indict an NYC police officer this week after the death of an unarmed black man named Eric Garner, despite having video evidence of the officer choking Garner to death. Protesters have been gathering across the U.S., echoing many of sentiments that continue to be expressed in Ferguson following last week’s failed indictment in the Michael Brown case.
  • As a part of the launch of Project 97 this week, Toronto MPP Cheri DiNovo shared her own experience with sexual assault. The Project 97 site was launched by Rogers media in order order to promote “a year-long conversation about sexual assault, abuse and harassment”.
  • The Canadian Labour Congress released a study this week documenting the impact of intimate partner violence in the workplace. The stats reveal how violence affects employees’ work performance and their ability to maintain their job. Ontario is the only province where intimate partner violence is recognized as a workplace safety issue.
  • Maclean’s columnist Scott Gilmore questioned why more women weren’t pursuing political office when their voices are so badly needed. We encourage you to peruse these A+ responses from #cdnpoli voices such as Equal Voice, Lauren Dobson-Hughes, Jordan Owens, Jenn Jeffreys and Vass Bednar.


WiTOPoli Weekly: Friday, November 14

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.

  • Canadians united on social media to protest the arrival of “pick-up artist”Julien Blanc and urge Canada’s immigration minister to block him from entering the country. Blanc, who sells “dating” seminars around the world for up to $2500 a class, teaches men how to violate women through physical and emotional abuse including choking, drugging their drinks, and “just grabbing” them. More than 2,300 Canadians have signed the petition, and the hashtag #KeepJulienBlancOutofCanada has been used by an additional 1,400 people. Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration responded to the social media campaign, saying that he is “looking at all options and will consider using every tool at our disposal to protect the rule of law on Canadian soil.”
  • Two very powerful Canadian women met for the first time on November 5 in Ottawa. Canada’s Health Minister Rona Ambrose met with 15-year-old activist RachelParent, who has been challenging Ms. Ambrose to discuss the labelling of genetically modified food for over a year. Despite warm sentiments expressed by both women, Ms. Ambrose subsequently stated that she will not be moving towards mandatory labelling as there is currently no scientific evidence that proves GMOs are unhealthy for Canadians. Meanwhile, Ms. Parent held her own press conference on Parliament Hill with MP Murray Rankin, who has introduced a motion for mandatory GMO labelling.
  • Torontonians are gearing up for this year’s What Makes A Man 2014: The White Ribbon Conference. The conference is a two-day discussion focused on redefining masculinity and creating a healthier idea of manhood. The conference will feature special guest Terry Crews, an actor, former NFL player, author of ‘Manhood’, and proud feminist, as well as talks related to Success, Mental Health, Start-Up Culture, Boyhood to Manhood, and Violence Against Women. Jian Ghomeshi, Julien Blanc, and the recent allegations of sexual harassment on Parliament Hill have together sparked a much-needed national conversation on rape culture; the What Makes A Man conference aims to translate this conversation into positive, widespread, and grassroots change.
  • Trigger Warning: Toronto women have been urged to stay safe and be cautious after an attempted abduction in Toronto’s Little Portugal neighbourhood. On Sunday November 9th, a 27-year-old woman was walking in the College Street and Brock Avenue area when a man grabbed her from behind and held a metal hacksaw to her neck. Fortunately two men nearby heard her screams and came to her aid, but police have yet to identify the suspect.
  • Toronto Life has released its annual list of Toronto’s 50 Most InfluentialPeople. There are 15 women included in the list of 50, which is a dismal 30%. Here’s hoping to at least a 50% representation next year, ladies.

WiTOpoli Weekly: Friday, August 15th

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 new report from U of T’s Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance brings to light Toronto’s infrastructure funding shortfall, stating that $2.5 billion will be needed by 2020 to maintain existing assets.
  • Police Chief Bill Blair dropped threats of a lawsuit after accepting Councillor Doug Ford’s apology for accusing police of leaking a story to the Toronto Star that police were preparing to subpoena Mayor Rob Ford to testify as a witness in the extortion case against friend Alexander Lisi.
  • Maytree Foundation president Ratna Omidvar distinguished the Live-in Caregiver program from other Temporary Foreign Worker Programs, and called for the government to focus on strengthening it instead of scrapping it, arguing that live-in caregivers do not fill a temporary gap, but rather meet a long-term labour need.
  • Star columnist Judith Timson called Alison Redford’s departure from politics a “Disappointment to Women,” and asked whether the Alberta Premier was held to a different standard.
  • Former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci released a report on how Toronto police should deal with people in crisis, outlining 84 recommendations. Here are six.
  • After the recent shifts in the mayoral polls, The Star addressed questions about the polling process and its reliability.