Reading the news is hard right now. It has been for a while. My heart goes out to our Ukrainian friends and neighbours – so many of whom have called Spadina—Fort York home for so long – and others who have been impacted by war and displacement themselves, or in generations past.
While we have to take care of ourselves as we take in our world, we can’t look away – and we must take action. I’m reminded of the journey my parents took from Vietnam, to Japan, and finally to Canada, and how our community wrapped their arms around us as newcomers to Toronto. For me, that was volunteering with the young women’s program at the St. Stephen’s Community House (now The Neighbourhood Group), running children’s programs at Scadding Court Community Centre, and connecting with inspiring women through the YWCA.
A vital lesson I learned during those early days was about access: who had opportunities and resources and who did not. I also learned how, through funding and policy choices, governments can control that access, and how decisions are made that can make it harder for people to get by, or that can set people up to thrive.
So on this International Women’s Day, I’m continuing my commitment to add women to politics. It was 21 years ago that I spent a few foundational days in Ottawa when we started Women in House at McGill University to talk about women’s place in Parliaments. Back then, as I know now, we need more women to lead in our communities. Our feminist recovery, our caring economy, the families here in Spadina—Fort York who are making it through every day – need it.
Out and about in SpaFY
- I’m so excited to announce my upcoming event! On March 24, I’ll be chatting with Hannah Sung, Sarah Polley, and Ausma Malik as part of Hannah’s At the End of the Day newsletter. It’s her first AtEotD event! We’re talking about what it’s like to be a woman in the public eye and how to make that a safe space. I hope you can join us!
- On February 17, Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca came to visit our riding and we had an amazing visit of the innovation cluster down on Queen’s Quay. The fabulous folks at Artscape Daniels Launchpad, OCAD University, and George Brown College School of Design toured us around and we talked about the importance of post-secondary education and the sector’s resilience, post-COVID. See more about our visit here.
- I’ve been making phone calls and knocking on doors, and I can’t tell you how amazing it’s been. I’ve talked to so many residents who are ready for change in our riding, and people who are ready to get out and vote. Folks are so engaged with the issues that matter, and on June 2, we’re going to turn that into change at Queen’s Park. I could use you’re help, if you’re up for it! We’re recruiting a diverse, fun team of volunteers, whether you live in SpaFY or not - sign up to volunteer with us.
SpaFY issues I’m watching
- Ontario Line: we continue to get more details about the construction plans for the Ontario Line transit project. I’m continuing to watch closely to see how these plans are being developed to minimize disruption to our neighbourhoods. I’m also interested to see what kinds of compensation programs will be developed for our local businesses. Transit is vital to our development as a city: we need it to make housing development attractive, to get people out of their cars, and to fight climate change. But the end results of having a new transit line can’t be at the expense of those who have to live and work through it for the next decade.
- Housing: I’m so pleased to be a part of the Ontario Liberal Party’s policy platform group on housing, transportation, and municipalities. Our squad has been working hard to learn from experts as we work towards addressing the housing crisis we’re facing in our province. Stay tuned for more about this in the weeks ahead!
- Childcare: Ontario is now the only province or territory in Canada without a childcare deal with the federal government. It’s shameful. I’m pleased that our party has announced that after the election, we’ll make that deal for $10/day childcare, and we’ll make the deal retroactive to January 1 of this year. This is how we build a feminist recovery from COVID.
I’m so excited for these upcoming 90 days leading up to the election, and I can’t make it to Queen’s Park without you. Please consider donating to my campaign. We’re raising funds to pay for a campaign office, for lawn signs, and for advertising, and every dollar helps! If you’ve given before, I hope you’ll consider giving again. And thanks for all that you contribute: this campaign is all about the people who are a part of it, and that includes you.
Happy International Women’s Day!