• Mayor Tory: Denounce Toronto Police Violence Immediately
    *UPDATE* Five Councillors - Shelley Carroll, Mike Layton, Josh Matlow, Gordon Perks and Kristyn Wong-Tam - have signed a letter denouncing the violence and asking the Mayor to change course: https://www.cp24.com/news/city-councillors-call-on-tory-to-stop-extreme-show-of-force-when-dismantling-encampments-1.5521002 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The scenes that have unfolded across Toronto over the past month of forced evictions are seared into our collective consciousness. The photos and videos speak volumes of our shame. Armed and militarized police forces physically assaulting civilians in the name of "public safety". Weapons deployed to beat the unhoused and their supporters alike. Choke holds responsible for numerous deaths in the United States deployed right here in Toronto, caught on camera for the world to see. [1-4] The actions of Toronto Police in destroying the camps where people have fled both the housing crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic are reprehensible, and unless our elected leaders immediately denounce the violence, they make us all complicit. There is no universe in which it can be credibly claimed that paying people to assault our neighbours with weapons serves the cause of public safety. And yet that is exactly what Mayor Tory claimed this effort was about when confronted with images of the violence. [5] It is clear that the way public safety is delivered in Toronto must be completely reimagined. The first step on that road is for every elected leader in city government to go on the record unequivocally condemning the extreme police violence deployed in Alexandra Park, Trinity Bellwoods Park, and Lamport Stadium, and to put a halt to all further use of force against our unhoused neighbours. Housed or not, Toronto is our home. We all deserve to feel safe here. But it won't happen on its own. It's clear we can't count on the police to deliver that safety. It's up to us to demand it. A massive petition will show Mayor Tory and the Council that the entire city is fed up with the cycle of abuse and aggression - and with an election next year, that just might be enough to get them to start making some changes. Add your name today and spread the word. *Note* For more ways to help, check out the No Encampment Evictions Toolkit: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xc_P333h8UuoWyx970rxqNgw07BlUVzPZR2ncKq0eOs/edit Sources (note: some of these photos depict violence committed by our public servants and can be disturbing) 1) Photo of a dangerous "knee to neck" chokehold TPD claims they don't use: https://twitter.com/canto_general/status/1417958275774025736?s=20 2) Photo of TPD officer using a weapon to beat a person: https://twitter.com/lorrainelamchop/status/1418273031621906435 3) Several photos, including one of a TPD officer grabbing a person by the throat: https://twitter.com/ChrisYphoto/status/1418210773097230336?s=20 4) Photo of TPD throwing a person to the ground to arrest them while racing to grab another onlooker: https://twitter.com/EVYSTADIUM/status/1418274967867871235 5) Vice: "Toronto Cops Say They Did 'Tremendous Job' After Beating People, Destroying Homeless Camp" - https://www.vice.com/en/article/z3xgza/toronto-cops-say-they-did-tremendous-job-after-beating-people-destroying-homeless-camp
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  • No pay cuts for Alberta nurses
    Nurses carried Alberta through the pandemic. But instead of rewarding them for their heroic efforts, Jason Kenney is threatening them with a 3% pay cut. [1] It’s a slap in the face. Nurses have worked flat out to care for us and our loved ones amidst this unprecedented health crisis, scrambling to keep up with surging COVID-19 case numbers, understaffed hospitals, and inadequate medical supplies. Add in the constant threat of contracting the virus, and it’s no wonder many nurses have been at the breaking point for months. [2] If you agree that we should support - not punish - our hard-working nurses after they’ve done so much to care for all of us - will you sign the petition calling on Kenney to pay Alberta nurses the wages they deserve? Sources [1] ​​https://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/alberta-nursing-union-says-government-wants-them-to-take-a-3-pay-cut [2] https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2021/07/08/barely-out-of-a-pandemic-heres-why-jason-kenneys-government-is-picking-a-fight-with-alberta-nurses.html
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  • Put another ferry on Route 5
    BC Ferries is failing in its goal of providing safe and efficient transportation on Route 5. Waiting in a hot parking lot for over an hour with pets, kids, or seniors is neither safe nor efficient. The Ministry of Transportation needs to do more to address this issue on behalf of the citizens on the Southern Gulf Islands.
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  • Change the Canadian anthem
    The Canadian anthem is very harmful to Indigenous people and any true efforts for reconciliation and decolonisation. It was created through a colonial lens that thrived on oppression and injustices. When we sing, "Our home and native land, we are harming the Indigenous people; the very people who should claim this land their home and native land. There is an opportunity to introduce changes to the anthem to make it inclusive, respectful and not causing any harm. Please join to make a change.
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  • STOP Corporations from Buying Up Single Family Homes
    There is a disturbing trend of hedge funds and corporations buying up large numbers of single family dwellings in the US, even whole subdivisions, to be used as rental units. Now, a developer is planning to invest 1 billion dollars to buy single family homes in Canada for investment purposes. As you know, owning your own home is not only every families dream, it is also the best route to accumulating wealth for retirement. If this trend continues, we will be a nation of renters with no equity in the end and reliant on the government for our well being in retirement years. This is a huge wealth transfer and will prevent families from having a stable future. Excerpt from Globe and Mail - June 13, 2021 A Toronto condo developer is buying hundreds of detached houses in Ontario, with the plan of renting them and profiting on the housing crisis ripping across the country. Core Development Group Ltd. is building a large-scale single-family home rental operation, an unproven business model in Canada, where the market is fragmented and individual investors lease a small number of their own properties for income. Institutional house rentals have become highly lucrative in the United States, with private-equity firms, pension funds and big companies throwing billions of dollars into the asset class. In Canada, deep-pocketed investors, as well as real estate investment trusts, have already acquired hundreds of apartment buildings to tap into the strong rental demand but have not moved into rental houses. Core founder Corey Hawtin and executive vice-president Faran Latafat questioned why there wasn’t a similar business in Canada, which has had a rental vacancy rate below 3 per cent since the turn of the century. “We were trying to answer the question: Why is nobody doing this in Canada? We could not come up with an objective answer to that. In Canada, it works as well or better than the U.S.,” said Ms. Latafat, Core’s president of single-family development. Core’s main business is condo development, and it has 14 projects in the Toronto region. Last fall, Mr. Hawtin raised $250-million from investors to buy approximately 400 properties, add basement apartments and turn the houses into two rental units. Core is targeting eight midsized cities in Ontario, and this year started buying properties in Kingston, St. Catharines, London, Barrie, Hamilton, Peterborough and Cambridge. It will soon start buying in Guelph. Its medium-term goal is to have a $1-billion portfolio of 4,000 rental units in Ontario, Quebec, B.C. and Atlantic Canada by 2026. Mr. Hawtin said Core’s rental units will provide affordable housing for families and residents who do not want to live in small apartments. If Core succeeds, it could spur major investors to follow suit. Ms. Latafat and Mr. Hawtin believe a major house rental business will flourish in Canada because of decades of low rental vacancy rates, desire for more space and high immigration. They also point out most of the country’s population is concentrated around a few job centres. As well, the pandemic’s real estate boom has priced even more residents out of the housing market with rentals as the only option. National home prices are 20 per cent above prepandemic levels, with values 30 to 50 per cent higher in parts of Ontario, B.C., Quebec and the Maritimes. The typical price of a detached house in Guelph and nearby Kitchener-Waterloo is now more than $800,000, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. That is about $200,000 more than a year ago. Economist David Rosenberg said an affordable rental house could become more attractive to a potential home buyer because house prices are so high. “The ratio of home prices to rental rates is so extreme that new entrants to residential real estate will gravitate to the rental market,” said Mr. Rosenberg, who leads Rosenberg Research & Associates, adding that if more potential buyers are forced to rent, that could eventually reduce competition in the residential real estate market and slow home price increases. Ms. Latafat said Core chose the eight Ontario cities because they all have strong local economies, are close to larger job centres, have growing populations and low housing vacancy rates. In Barrie and Guelph, the rental vacancy rate is closer to 2 per cent, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. data. Meanwhile, in the first year of the pandemic, rental rates have increased in the high single digits in Barrie, Guelph, London and St. Catharines, according to CMHC. “They have tight vacancies, like zero vacancies,” said Mr. Hawtin. “Immigration is growing, population is growing and buying a house or a condo has become less and less attainable. That is really compounding the rental demand in all of our marketplaces,” he said. So far this year, Core has spent $50-million on 75 properties, the executives said. Their two-bedroom basement apartments go for about $1,600 a month and a three-bedroom above-ground unit at about $2,100 a month. Those prices are higher than the average rental rate of $1,407 for a two-bedroom apartment in Ontario, according to CMHC data. Though Core’s rentals are newly renovated units in houses with gardens. Institutionalized family home rentals got their start south of the border, after the U.S. housing bubble burst in 2007 and companies bought thousands of houses at fire-sale prices. Companies and their investors now own swaths of U.S. neighbourhoods and make money on the rent, similar to apartment building owners. Toronto-based Tricon Residential, one of the largest operators of single family home rentals in the U.S., said Core’s decision to split the properties into two rental units makes sense given the price of houses in Canada. Full article - https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-condo-developer-to-buy-1-billion-worth-of-single-family-houses-in/
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  • Councillor Young: Apologize or Resign for Racist Comments
    Our communities have recently been rocked by the discovery of the bodies of 215 children at the Kamloops Residential Schools on Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc territories. The MMIWG Inquiry and TRC have both found that the legacy of Residential Schools across what is now known as Canada constitutes genocide. We need our political leaders to push us towards Reconciliation and Decolonization, not cast doubt on the harm caused by colonization. Source: Jimmy Thomson, Managing Editor at Capital Daily, https://twitter.com/jwsthomson/status/1403063112941506563
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  • Rename Dundas Public School to Stand Against Anti-Black Racism
    As students of Queen Alexandra Middle School and members of the community (which is the neighbouring institute of Dundas Public School), we firmly believe that Henry Dundas is not an appropriate representative of our community. By continuing to honour his memory, we celebrate histories of colonialism and enslavement that conflict with our shared values of tolerance and inclusion. Further, the name doesn’t reflect the diverse populations that make up our student bodies.
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  • Urge Fisheries Minister Jordan to stand strong on her decision.
    Over 100 polluting, pathogen-spreading Atlantic salmon farms have been situated along wild Pacific salmon migratory waters for over three decades. Since the arrival of these salmon farms, wild salmon returns have declined precipitously to near extinction levels. The 2019 and 2020 Fraser River sockeye runs have been the lowest in 100 years of counting, a mere few hundred thousand. Every spring, B.C.’s young wild salmon migrate north out of numerous coastal rivers to reach North Pacific waters. Their route takes them through hundreds of kilometers of narrow waterways between Vancouver Island and the BC mainland. Swimming past the Discovery Islands farms, they become infected with lice, PRV (Piscine orthoreovirus), and mouth rot (Tenacibaculum maritimum) - all life-threatening. Mowi (Norwegian), the world’s largest salmon farmer and the largest in BC, took the Minister to Court over her courageous December 2020 decision to prohibit the transfer of any new fish into the 19 Discovery Islands farms before they are to be closed in 2022. The Court supported Mowi’s case for an injunction to continue restocking their farms. Minister Jordan can still deny the permits for any new fish transfers. She needs to hear from Canadians across the country that she has public support to protect our wild salmon. Send your letter to Minister Jordan to stand up for wild Pacific salmon and not allow any restocking of the Discovery Islands salmon farms.
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  • Kamloops Indian Residential School (215 Bodies Found) - Call for Urgent Action
    Our communities are sharing in the collective grief of generations of children, women, men & 2SLGBTQQIA persons who have been stolen, abused and murdered. The bodies of 215 children were discovered buried on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School, adding to the growing list of 4,100 children previously identified by the TRC’s Missing Children’s Project, and the ongoing genocide against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA persons. We ask for the Government of Canada, as well as Provincial and Territorial Governments, to take swift and immediate action to support our communities.
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  • CPP Investments - Stop investing our money in Uyghur genocide
    The Chinese government is committing genocide against the Uyghurs in China. This reality has been recognized by Canada’s Parliament and the U.S. State Department. The evidence is overwhelming and growing. Uyghur forced labour is part of this genocide. CPP Investments invests our Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions in Chinese companies and multinational corporations doing business in China. The revenue earned from many of these investments is tainted by the forced labour of Uyghurs, either in the factories of these companies or their supply chains. Because China will not allow free and independent verification of labour conditions, the only way to avoid profiting from Uyghur forced labour is to divest from all Chinese companies and to divest from all multinational companies identified as using Uyghur forced labour in China. As part of their guiding principles, CPP Investments aims to “at all times meet or exceed the high ethical standards expected of us by the over 20 million CPP contributors and beneficiaries.” (1). We do not want our financial futures to be built on Uyghur forced labour, suffering and persecution. We therefore urge CPP Investments to live up to the high ethical standards expected of them by Canadians and immediately 1) to divest from all Chinese companies, and 2) to divest from all multinational companies identified as using Uyghur forced labour in China. 1. https://www.cppinvestments.com/about-us/our-guiding-principles, under Integrity, Item 1.
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  • Anti-Racism in ECE Ontario
    Supporting the needs of Ontario children and families: Ontario’s Early Learning Framework sets social justice as a milestone for preschool aged children [1] . With childcare being a foundational aspect of education it is essential anti-racism is included in this foundation. Mayor of Toronto, John Tory, stated that, “Anti-Black racism exists in Toronto,” [2] and in June of 2020 anti-Black racism was declared a public health crisis unanimously by the Toronto Board of Health [3]. For early childhood programs this means they must reflect this reality. According to census data, in the province of Ontario just about 30% of the population is racialized [4]. Regardless of population demographics all children benefit from educators who are trained in anti-racism. Research has shown that Black preschool children are monitored by teachers at a higher rate than white children [5]. Pre-service educators and care workers must be informed and knowledgeable of racialized experiences, the systems reproducing anti-Black racism and how to support Black and racialized children, families, and staff. The Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism suggests that “changes are needed to ensure that Black children and youth, including those who identify as queer and transgender, have access to the programs, protections, and supports that all children and youth need to grow up healthy, safe, and confident.” Early childhood programming must be ready to offer trauma-informed supports to Black children and youth. It is negligible to deny education and care workers in pre-service programs the researched-based knowledge surrounding anti-racism. Children have a right to be educated by people with anti-racism education: Black and Indigenous children are overrepresented in Ontario’s child welfare system not only in care, but also in decision to investigate [6]. Early Childhood Educators in Ontario contribute to this overrepresentation in investigations though their duty to report to Children’s Aid Society. Without anti-racism education and accountability, the sector will continue to contribute to the overrepresentation of Black and Indigenous families being investigated and separated by child welfare agencies. Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), every child has the right to be educated by someone who is knowledgeable of their cultural identity, language and values. Under the same article, children also have the right to be educated in preparation for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equity and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons with Indigenous origin (Article 29) [7]. Early education and care is the foundational structure in which society balances on. It is vital to prepare educators with understanding of children’s worlds and reality before they enter spaces where it is their responsibility to uphold children’s rights. Canada ratified the UNCRC in 1991 [8] and under the ratification, it is our responsibility to push the state parties to undertake the necessary changes to support children’s rights. Children start constructing understandings of race and racism by three months old: Research indicates that children start constructing their understanding of race at a very young age and reproduce social power dynamics through play [9]. Children not only interpret their realities based on information from society but they themselves are contributing to social constructs such as race and racism [10]. It is urgent that the adults within young people’s learning environments understand how conversations and movement around race and racism can come to be. Research shows that children as young as 3-months-old start showing racial preferences [11], and by the time children reach preschool negative racial biases have already started to form [12]. Research continues to showcase that anti-racist teaching must first stem from an educator’s understanding of systems of power that play into racism [13]. Without this research-based knowledge early educators may consider their work to be a good deed rather than a source of agency and social justice change. Early childhood educators are the gatekeepers of anti-racist information within the classroom. Educators and care workers must be guided in their pre-service education to feel a need of importance around anti-racist teaching and must feel equipped with this teaching. We are calling on all directors and chairs of early childhood pre-service programs, and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to ensure that anti-racism becomes a mandatory aspect of pre-service education for all early childhood educators in Ontario. Co-Signed: Community of Black Early Childhood Educators, Parents of Black Children, ANCHOR (formerly Vaughan African Canadian Association), Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario, Bhutila Karpoche, NDP Member of Provincial Parliament, Parkdale-High Park, Official Critic for the Early Years and Child Care, Arif Virani, Member of Parliament for Parkdale-High Park, Compass Early Learning and Care, Carolyn Ferns, Policy Coordinator, Ontario Coalition for Better Childcare, Early Years Professionals RISE UP T.O., Abigail Doris, Executive Coordinator, Toronto Community for Better Child Care, Laura Mae Lindo NDP Member of Provincial Parliament, Official Critic for Anti-Racism and Colleges and Universities, Ogho Ikhalo, Director of Women’s & Human Rights Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL), CRRC - Community Race Relations Committee of Peterborough, Child Care Now (Ottawa), Family Supports Institute Ontario, CUPE Local 2484, Afro Women and Youth Foundation, Queen Victoria P.S. Black Student Success Committee (QVBSSC), CUPE local 2204 - Child Care Workers of Eastern Ontario , ECE Power Ottawa, Fast & Female *For citations see AntiRacismECE.wixsite.com/Ontario
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  • Cancel Tokyo Olympics
    To bring all these people together while we are still in the grips of fighting the corona virus is irresponsible. The world is still not ahead in the fight to control this virus and would likely lead to a high transmission rate that would be especially unfair to the people of Tokyo. We can accommodate athletes and competition in a revised format in the future.
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