Dear Friends and Neighbours,

It was great to see some of you at last night’s demonstration in Nathan Phillips Square! What a day it was, with actions happening at Queen’s Park as well as the “Defend Toronto” organizing meeting at Holy Trinity.  We had an impressive crowd down at the City Hall rally, where I was invited to speak alongside a number of other strong Toronto voices. Check out the crowd here.

Today Toronto City Council met for the third emergency session in six weeks in order to discuss and respond to provincial Bill 31 (otherwise known as Bill 5 + the ‘notwithstanding’ clause.) We successfully passed a number of motions in an effort to protect the freedoms of Torontonians as well as the fair and democratic nature of our election. I am pleased that my motion, asking Council to reject the bill and calling on the federal government to disallow Bill 31, was also passed.

The “Tipping Point”

However, in our questions to the City Clerk and City Solicitor, it was evident that there are still many unknowns about what happens next. The new legislation allows the Clerk to opt not to hold advance voting days, but this would be bad news for many Torontonians who don’t have the option to vote on Election Day. In particular, the City Clerk has said that she does not believe she will have enough time to conduct a fair and democratic election by October 22.  In her words, we have now reached “a tipping point.”

All this chaos lies at the feet of Premier Ford.

Now, it’s down to the federal government as the last line of defense for our rights and freedoms to disallow the use of S. 33 to override the Charter.  The City of Toronto has exercised all avenues in its power to oppose the province’s bullying tactics to disrupt our elections.

Stronger Together

I don’t believe that the issues before us are partisan ones. We are all impacted by the upheaval of our municipal elections, and we all have a stake in any decision that overrides our Charter rights.

I am reminded of Lilla Watson’s wise words:

“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

Ford’s chaos by design is meant to pull us apart. Instead, let’s pull together.

I invite you to come to my campaign launch this Saturday, September 15. This gathering is the perfect opportunity to meet some neighbours, engage with local politics, and exercise your democratic muscles.

661 St. Clair Ave. W.
(click here for map)
11 am – 2 pm: Campaign Launch
2 – 5 pm: Group Canvass

 

Looking forward to seeing you there!