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Horwath addresses caucus in Scarborough saying role of Official Opposition more important than ever

Posted on 19 September 2018 by admin

SCARBOROUGH — Andrea Horwath gathered the NDP caucus in Scarborough Friday, delivering a leader’s report in which she said the role of the Official Opposition in Ontario is as critical as it ever has been.

“Doug Ford has attacked the courts. He’s attacked democracy. Now, he’s attacking any person in Ontario who dares to disagree with him,” said Horwath.

“This week has been a stark reminder that the work we do together, with and for the people of Ontario, is more important that ever.”

The NDP caucus meeting in Scarborough comes following a controversial week of sitting of the legislature, called so Doug Ford could reintroduce a bill to meddle in Toronto’s municipal election. Ford’s original bill — written to exact revenge on political foes — was struck down by the court for violating the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In response, Ford reintroduced the bill, but added a suspension of those Charter rights using a notwithstanding clause.

Horwath said it’s up to New Democrats not only to stand up to Ford’s attack on people’s rights; but to push for the legislature to focus on the problems that have been going from bad to worse under Ford — like long waits for health care, neglected schools in need of repair, and job losses.

“Too many families are still facing painfully long wait times for the health care that they need, only to be moved onto a gurney in a hallway rather than a hospital bed,” said Horwath. “So many of our children’s schools need critical repairs, so kids are in sweltering classrooms with no air conditioning on hot days, and will be wearing their winter coats in freezing and drafty classrooms on cold days. Many even have water fountains that kids can’t drink from because of lead in the water. Meanwhile, an astronomical 80,000 jobs were lost in Ontario in August alone.

“But rather than improving health care, fixing crumbling schools or creating jobs, Doug Ford has dragged things backwards — from bad to worse.

“We know it doesn’t have to be this way, and so do the people of Ontario.”

On Friday afternoon, Horwath and the NDP caucus will hold a community event in Scarborough, hearing about the concerns, ideas and priorities from Scarborough residents and community leaders.

 

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Toronto police to no longer offer uniformed officers as crossing guard backfill

Posted on 07 September 2018 by admin

On the first day back to school, Toronto police say they will no longer have uniformed officers help fill in as crossing guards.

The move comes as part of the Action Plan: The Way Forward which was approved in 2017 and recommends transitioning the School Crossing Guard Program to the city of Toronto’s transportation service’s division.

“As part of this transition, starting this school year, TPS will no longer be providing uniform police officers to backfill for a school crossing guard who is not able to come to work,” a statement sent out by police Tuesday morning said.

 “TPS and the City of Toronto have worked together to develop an alternative to backfill absent school crossing guards.”

The statement said Neptune Security Services is taking over as a supporting backfill option for school crossing guards. It said the security guards will undergo the same screening process officers had too as well as the same training. They will also have to carry an identification card and wear a vest that clearly states they are a crossing guard.

The Action Plan: The Way Forward is a modernized policing model for the city that includes 32 recommendations accepted by the Toronto Police Services Board in February 2017.

 

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Conservative MP Maxime Bernier criticizes Trudeau for promoting ‘ever more’ diversity

Posted on 15 August 2018 by admin

OTTAWA—Conservative MP Maxime Bernier is taking issue with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s oft-repeated message of diversity in Canada, calling it a form of “radical multiculturalism.”

In a series of tweets published late Sunday in both French and English, Bernier says he believes promoting too much diversity could have the effect of dividing Canada into ‘little tribes’ that cause division, erode Canada’s identity and destroy what makes it a great country.

 “Having people live among us who reject basic Western values such as freedom, equality, tolerance and openness doesn’t make us strong. People who refuse to integrate into our society and want to live apart in their ghetto don’t make our society strong,” Bernier tweeted.

“Trudeau’s extreme multiculturalism and cult of diversity will divide us into little tribes that have less and less in common, apart from their dependence on government in Ottawa. These tribes become political clienteles to be bought with taxpayers (money) and special privileges.”

Since the 2015 election campaign, Trudeau has championed diversity as a key feature of what makes Canada strong and has repeated that message in many of his public speeches and comments.

On Monday, Bernier posted two more tweets insisting that he’s not against diversity in Canada, but rather “pushing for ever more of it.”

Bernier, who narrowly lost the leadership of the Conservative party last year, has been a vocal critic not only of the Trudeau government but of his own party’s position on supply management and was stripped of his role as an opposition critic in June.

In his latest tweet, Bernier says, “Something infinitely diverse has no core identity and ceases to exist.”

The comments have drawn sharp criticism from several partisans, including Liberal MP Marc Miller, who called on Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer to clarify whether the party supports Bernier’s views.

Conservative MP Michelle Rempel also took issue with Bernier’s comments. In her own series of tweets Sunday, she criticized both Trudeau for his government’s immigration policy and also “those who make claims that Canada is becoming a ghettoized state.”

“From a political perspective, it’s equally easy to say ‘diversity is our strength, #welcometocanada’ as it is to infer Canada’s pluralism has failed, if neither claim is backed up by data or policy,” Rempel wrote.

“I am so bone weary of watching both sides of this debate be watered down into politically correct, puerile, or flat-out wrong arguments just for political expediency’s sake. All of you who engage in this are cowards.”

 

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Ford’s first moves hurt the most vulnerable

Posted on 08 August 2018 by admin

QUEEN’S PARK – Official Opposition leader Andrea Horwath says that Doug Ford’s first actions in government have targeted vulnerable Ontarians.

“Seeing where Mr. Ford’s axe has fallen first, I’m growing more and more concerned about how Mr. Ford’s cuts will impact people’s daily lives,” said Horwath. “He’s targeted kids, those with mental health challenges, and people struggling in poverty. He’s chosen to drag Ontario backwards when it comes to taking care of the most vulnerable among us.”

Since being sworn in, Doug Ford has cut $100 million budgeted for school repairs, cut $330 million per year from funding for mental health services, cancelled the basic income pilot program, and made a 50 per cent cut to the scheduled social assistance rate increase.

“Doug Ford is taking things from bad to worse for people in Ontario – particularly those who are already struggling. Instead of prioritizing the needs of everyday Ontarians, Mr. Ford has is focused on helping insiders – including radical social conservatives that he has obviously made a lot of promises to. Cuts that hurt the most vulnerable among us hurt our province, and it has to stop.”

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Ford’s favours for social conservatives dragging Ontario backwards

Posted on 25 July 2018 by admin

Outdated sex ed curriculum leaves young people, queer youth in danger

QUEEN’S PARK – Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath says Premier Ford’s backroom deals with radical social conservatives are driving his political decisions, not concern for Ontario’s families and youth. During question period Tuesday, Horwath asked if LGBTQ+ youth would see themselves represented in the sex ed curriculum in classrooms this fall. Ford refused to answer.

“Ford’s decision to scrap the updated sexual health curriculum and drag Ontario back to 1998 is not about doing what’s right for students, or about listening to parents. It’s about doing favours for social conservatives, like Charles McVety and Tanya Granic Allen,” said Horwath.

“He is being driven by whatever far-right radical social conservatives want him to do, and the deals he made with them before the election. As a result, Ford is ignoring his responsibility to all of Ontario’s students, all of our young people, and all of our queer youth and LGBTQ families.”

While Ford’s Education minister announced during questions period yesterday that some updated sex ed topics would be kept in place, the Ford Conservatives overruled that later in the day, clarifying that teachers will be forced to use a health curriculum written before the existence of social media, smart phones, or legal same-sex marriage.

“The 1998 curriculum ignores consent, online safety, gender identity, and LGBTQ families. That’s the curriculum that Ford and his radical extremist friends are dragging our kids back to,” said Horwath.

“I have a simple question for the premier: Will same-sex relationships and LGBTQ families be included and reflected in the curriculum this fall? Or does he have to ask permission of radical extremists like Charles McVety and Tanya Granic Allen?”

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Government of Canada providing assistance to Toronto for asylum seeker housing

Posted on 18 July 2018 by admin

Ottawa, ON – Building on previous commitments to support Toronto and other municipalities facing temporary housing pressures, the federal government announced today that it will actively support Toronto through housing support for asylum seekers currently housed in two college dormitories.

With Toronto facing pressure to find housing for this cohort of individuals, in-depth discussion have resulted in strong collaboration between Toronto and the federal government to ensure this matter will be resolved in advance of the early August deadline, when the temporary dormitory housing facilities need to be vacated. Specific details will be forthcoming as plans advance.

The federal government also continues to work closely on the development of contingency plans with its provincial and municipal partners to reduce the pressures the influx of irregular border crossers has had on temporary housing in major cities such as Toronto.

Toronto has a long history of welcoming refugees and newcomers, and in recent months has accommodated many asylum claimants in an already strained shelter system.

Although the number of irregular border crossers in June dropped for the second month in a row, the lowest in the last year, the federal government continues to actively engage with its partners to develop contingency plans in order to support the municipalities in the provision of temporary housing.

On June 1, the Government of Canada pledged an initial $50 million to assist the provinces and municipalities that have borne the majority of costs associated with the recent influx. Of these funds, $11 million will be provided directly to the City of Toronto in the coming weeks. Direct funding was required after the Province of Ontario chose to withdraw from its jurisdictional responsibility around housing.

As part of the contingency planning activities, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and Canada Border Services Agency are increasing their capacity to provide temporary beds for those crossing near Roxham Road in St-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec.

In addition, a contract has been signed with the NAV Centre in Cornwall, Ontario, to provide additional temporary accommodations to asylum seekers should it be required.

These temporary accommodations will allow the government to better manage the flow of asylum seekers, helping reduce the strain placed on municipalities.

 

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NDP critical of which ministries Ford downgrades

Posted on 05 July 2018 by admin

Energy, Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, others to get part-time minister

QUEEN’S PARK –Today’s announcement that Doug Ford has downgraded the Ministry of Energy shows that he has decided to settle for the hydro system the way it is. The Ministry of Energy is now no longer its own portfolio – a decision that raises serious concerns for Ontario families and small businesses as the hot weather brings huge hydro bills and families brace for the coming 70 per cent increase to their bills due to the Wynne/Ford Hydro borrowing scheme.

“Doug Ford’s decision to make the Minister of Energy a part-time job is devastating for families who have been struggling for years to keep up with soaring hydro bills,” said NDP MPP-elect Sara Singh. “This decision shows that Mr. Ford is not planning to tackle the hydro mess that the Liberals left Ontarians in and leaves families who are already squeezed by sky-rocketing hydro bills to worry.

“The other government portfolios Ford is eliminating or collapsing give us all reason to worry about who will be hurt most by Ford’s across-the-board cuts.”

Ministries cut include Citizenship and Immigration and Research, Innovation and Science. Ministries collapsed into other portfolios or being overseen by a minister with other duties as well include, Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Energy, Francophone Affairs, Community and Social Services, Status of Women, Housing, International Trade, and Northern Development and Mines.

The critical files of Children, Community and Social Services, Women’s Issues and Anti-Racism have all been downgraded into a single ministry.

Andrea Horwath and the NDP have committed to be a constructive official Opposition – but to fight hard on people’s behalf when Ford’s cuts impact health care, education, transit and services people rely on, and when Ford’s moves make life more expensive.

The NDP is also highly critical of the decision to eliminate the full-time minister overseeing the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.

In Ontario, dozens of First Nations communities are under boil water advisories or orders, Indigenous communities often have poor access to basics like health care and First Nations schools are disadvantaged and underfunded. Indigenous youth suicide is an epidemic. Downgrading MIRR is a big step backwards – one that makes the future for First Nations and Métis children bleaker.

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Bitcoin too risky to go mainstream, central bank overseer says

Posted on 20 June 2018 by admin

LONDON—The Bank for International Settlements just told the crypto currency world it’s not ready for prime time — and as far as mainstream financial services go, may never be.

In a withering 24-page article released Sunday as part of its annual economic report, the BIS said Bitcoin and its ilk suffered from “a range of shortcomings” that would prevent crypto currencies from ever fulfilling the lofty expectations that prompted an explosion of interest — and investment — in the would-be asset class.

The BIS, an 88-year-old institution in Basel, Switzerland, that serves as a central bank for other central banks, said crypto currencies are too unstable, consume too much electricity, and are subject to too much manipulation and fraud to ever serve as bona fide mediums of exchange in the global economy. It cited the decentralized nature of crypto currencies — Bitcoin and its imitators are created, transacted, and accounted for on a distributed network of computers — as a fundamental flaw rather than a key strength.

In one of its most poignant findings, the BIS analyzed what it would take for the blockchain software underpinning Bitcoin to process the digital retail transactions currently handled by national payment systems. As the size of so many ledgers swell, the researchers found, it would eventually overwhelm everything from individual smartphones to servers.

“The associated communication volumes could bring the Internet to a halt,” the report said.

Researchers also said that the race by so-called Bitcoin miners to be the first to process transactions eats about the same amount of electricity as Switzerland does. “Put in the simplest terms, the quest for decentralized trust has quickly become an environmental disaster,” they said.

The BIS is weighing in at pivotal moment in the crypto currency story. Even as Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the New York Stock Exchange, and other institutions take steps to offer clients access to the new marketplace, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is cracking down on the offerings of new digital tokens, which it has found are rife with rip-offs. At the same time, cyber-attackers are hitting crypto exchanges regularly — just last week, Bitcoin nosedived after a South Korean exchange reported it was hacked.

The report may also revive concerns that for all its ingenuity, block chain transactions will get harder and harder to protect as it scales up. When this decentralized anonymous system was introduced in 2009, it quickly proved it could secure purchases by computer enthusiasts, networks of friends, as well as criminals in the digital black market, says a working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a non-profit organization in Cambridge, Mass. Yet with supporters pushing to make it a mass market platform utilized by companies and governments, it may become too expensive to secure, concludes Eric Budish, the paper’s author and an economics professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

The value of the cryptocurrency market has plunged 53 per cent this year to $280 billion (U.S.), according to CoinMarketCap.

The BIS did say that blockchain and its so-called distributed ledger technology did provide some benefits for the global financial system. The software can make sending cross-border payments more efficient, for example. And trade finance, the business of exports and imports that still relies on faxes and letters of credit, was indeed ripe for the improvements offered by Blockchain-related programs.

Still, the institution concluded that Bitcoin’s great breakthrough, the ability of one person to send something of value to someone else with the ease of an email, is also its Achilles heel. It’s simply too risky on a number of levels to try and run the global economy on a network with no centre.

“Trust can evaporate at any time because of the fragility of the decentralized consensus through which transactions are recorded,” the report concluded. “Not only does this call into question the finality of individual payments, it also means that a crypto currency can simply stop functioning, resulting in a complete loss of value.”

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2016-17 Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey released

Posted on 20 June 2018 by admin

New results will help to ensure that policies are focused on areas of concern

OTTAWA, June 12, 2018 /CNW/ – Timely and reliable data are critical to developing evidence-based policies and programs that will help Canadians reduce the risks of substance use. Today, Health Canada published the results of the 2016-2017 Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CSTADS).

The national survey—which measures tobacco, alcohol and drug use among Canadian students in grades 7 to 12 (secondary I to V in Quebec)—provides valuable information that will inform approaches to addressing complex health and social issues such as the problematic use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs, including opioids and cannabis.

The research was conducted on behalf of Health Canada by the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo. The survey collected responses from more than 52,000 students and is a representative sample of the more than 2 million students of this age group in Canada.

The Government of Canada continues to take action to address substance use issues among Canadians. This includes:

•          Continued enhancement of the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy;

•          Budget 2018 investments for a range of actions, over five years, to improve treatment, address stigma and expand the evidence base on problematic substance use;

•          Budget 2018 investments to enhance Canada’s Tobacco Strategy, a comprehensive, integrated and sustained tobacco control program aimed at reducing tobacco-related disease and death; and

•          Significant investments to ensure that Canadians have access to information to understand the health and safety risks of cannabis use.

Quotes

“The health of Canada’s youth is of great concern to us all. As a long-time advocate, I understand the challenges of encouraging youth to focus on good health. This survey helps us understand where we need to do more to support youth so that they can make healthier choices. It provides a solid foundation of evidence for our future policies and actions to address issues of substance use among young Canadians.”

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor

Minister of Health

“All Canadians—especially our youth—deserve the opportunity to achieve optimal health, and to have a say in their own wellness. This is why the health and well-being of youth is a priority for me. These survey results shed light on how we can help youth address their unique health challenges and live long, healthy lives.”

Dr. Theresa Tam

Chief Public Health Officer of Canada

 

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Statement by Ruby Sahota on Steel and Aluminum Tariffs Imposed by the United States of America

Posted on 13 June 2018 by admin

Ottawa, ON – As a Member of the Automotive Caucus and as a Member of Parliament for the city that is home to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, one of the largest automotive companies in North America, I will not stop fighting for the Canadian Automotive sector and the jobs it supports, especially here in Brampton. In response to the United States President’s decision to place tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, our government will impose dollar for dollar tariffs against imports of steel, aluminum, and other products from the US. We will challenge these illegal and counterproductive measures under NAFTA and at the WTO. Businesses in our community have spoken to me to express their concerns about these tariffs. We know that tariffs are not helpful to businesses and consumers on either side of the border. It will disrupt linked supply chains and impact both Canadian and US businesses. My door remains open to local businesses to discuss concerns you may have, and I invite you to submit feedback directly to the Government. The consultation will be open until June 15. The US is Canada’s close ally and friend, and these tariffs are an affront to the longstanding security partnership between Canada and the US. Our government continues to believe that common sense will prevail. We will always protect Canadian workers and Canadian interests and work to put an end to the US’ illegal and counterproductive tariffs.

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