With candidates and their teams preparing to fan out across Toronto to campaign as part of the federal election called on Sunday, modelling data and experts are currently suggesting the riding of Davenport could be one of just a handful across Ontario to potentially flip parties.
Global News spoke with multiple political observers ahead of Sunday’s dissolution of parliament and all of them said Davenport, located just west of downtown Toronto and is roughly bounded by the north-south CN Rail line, Dovercourt Road, Ossington Avenue, Rogers Road and Eglinton Avenue West.
Stéphanie Chouinard, an assistant professor with the department of political science at the Royal Military College of Canada and at Queen’s University, quickly said “Davenport” when asked about what ridings in Toronto could be up for grabs.
“This is what the polls are showing at this time. Obviously in a campaign, even a short one, things can change, but what we’re seeing in the polls right now is that there will be some pretty tough fights for Conservatives in southern and northern Ontario but also Liberals in the GTA.”
The sentiment was backed by Jacob Robbins-Kanter, an assistant professor at Bishop’s University and a PhD candidate in political science at Queen’s University.
“I think there are some potential Liberal-to-NDP flips in Toronto like Davenport, which was a close race the last few elections,” he said.
The riding, which was a Liberal stronghold for 50 years, saw for the first time an NDP switch in 2011 with the election of former MP Andrew Cash. However, in the 2015 election, former financial executive Julie Dzerowicz won the riding back for the Liberals by 1,441 votes (a 1.9-per-cent difference between her and Cash). In 2019, the pair faced off again and she won by 1,439 votes (a 2.7-per-cent difference this time around).
In Davenport, which is mostly composed of a working middle-class population with a large Portuguese community, affordability, housing, transit, the environment and seniors’ issues have all been raised by residents as concerns. Provincially, the riding is held by NDP MPP Marit Stiles.
On Saturday, community members rallied on Queen Street West near Dufferin Street to save a Canada Post office from being sold off by the federal Crown corporation. While the parcel of land isn’t huge, the potential sale has raised serious concerns it will eliminate another opportunity to bring highly sought-after affordable housing should the property be sold to a developer.
“One of the things governments are doing is selling assets like that to fill holes and whether or not it’s a Crown corporation, it’s still a federal corporation,” Alejandra Bravo, the NDP candidate in Davenport, told Global News before parliament was dissolved.
“I think that public land is as important as water … keeping, retaining those assets, we can actually develop them and build them to have affordable housing.”
Bravo suggested when the issue first arose, Dzerowicz didn’t take a strong enough stand to fight to stop the property.
While she’s the director of leadership and training at the Broadbent Institute, Bravo isn’t a stranger to politics, having unsuccessfully run for Toronto city council before.
She said the sale of the post office is an example of the broader issue of affordability — something she called a top priority for her. Alongside housing, she pointed to other day-to-day things like high prices for internet and cellphones — things under federal jurisdiction that, in an age of remote work and learning, must be treated like essentials.
The other signature issue for her, Bravo said, is climate change.
Should she be elected, Bravo said she wants to work on addressing broader inequality, such as anti-Black racism, issues facing Indigenous peoples, transit, pharmacare, dental care, COVID-19 recovering and restructuring how corporations receive financial investments from the federal government.
“There’s a feeling that in the riding, and maybe across Canada as well, that we need to make different political choices if we want better policy outcomes,” she said, pointing to NDP efforts to strengthen pandemic supports as examples of how the party works.
“In a time of economic crisis and health crisis, I hope people will ask themselves who’s really on their side.”
When it comes to the postal office site, Dzerowicz — who is seeking a third term as the community’s member of parliament — touted efforts to protect the property from development.
She said when she and her staff researched the matter, they discovered there isn’t a process in place to factor in affordable housing when federal government agencies sell off lands.
“We desperately need it,” Dzerowicz told Global News ahead of the end of the 43rd parliament, referring to the property and her push to stop its sale.
She said she’s called on Canada Post to stop the sale of the property in hopes a community trust can come together.
Dzerowicz said she called on the minister who oversees the portfolio to halt all sales of federal lands. While it doesn’t appear the federal government actually stopped the disposal of the property prior to parliament dissolving, she said she believes if the Liberals are re-elected that they will “take this issue very seriously.”
Like Bravo, Dzerowicz said housing is at a crisis level and that it is something she continues to push for action on — especially spaces for artists and creative workers.
“Not only the federal government, but I think the provincial and municipal governments, we all three have not done enough to address housing affordability in this country,” she said.
Other issues she said she’s heard from voters on are COVID-19 recovery, economic growth and jobs, and Indigenous issues — something she conceded the federal government needs to move faster on.
When it came to Dzerowicz’s record, she highlighted legislation she introduced that would see a guaranteed basic income for Canadians. However, that bill would need to be reintroduced due to the dissolution of parliament. She also touted the investments in transit, active transportation infrastructure, flooding mitigation measures and climate change measures.
Adrian Currie, a cycling advocate and a long-time Green Party of Canada volunteer, was nominated to represent the party in Davenport.
He said a “just” COVID-19 recovery as well as the environment and climate change are top priorities for him and took aim at all of the other major political parties for not doing enough to respond, especially in light of recent devastating forest fires across the country and stifling temperatures.
“The main thing is to focus on the environment, focus on social justice issues depending on where you live and choose a party who has the best plan to deal with that and as far as I’m concerned that’s the Green Party,” he told Global News ahead of Sunday’s election call while addressing recent party infighting involving leader Annamie Paul, calling it a “distraction” that’s done on purpose.
“If you’re worried about the environment, if you’re worried about leaving a planet for your children and your grandchildren to inhabit, vote Green Party — it’s a no-brainer.”
He went on to cite examples of how the Green Party would end new pipeline projects, oil subsidies, retraining initiatives for workers in the industry, and push for a national electricity corridor.
Currie also echoed comments made by Bravo and Dzerowicz about the need for the federal government to do more on responding to issues facing Indigenous communities, affordable housing and transit.
Meanwhile, Tara Dos Remedios was nominated to serve as the candidate for the People’s Party of Canada in the riding. At the time of publication, the Conservative Party of Canada didn’t have a candidate nominated to run in Davenport.
Election day is set for Sept. 20.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Canadian literary figures double down on free speech following Salman Rushdie attack – CTV News
Canadian writers, publishers and literary figures doubled down on the right to freedom of thought and expression on Saturday, one day after an attack on award-winning author Salman Rushdie that left him hospitalized and on a ventilator.
Rushdie, whose 1988 novel “The Satanic Verses” drew death threats from Iran’s leaders in the 1980s, was stabbed in the neck and abdomen Friday by a man who rushed the stage as the author was about to give a lecture in western New York.
Louise Dennys, executive vice-president and publisher of Penguin Random House Canada, has published and edited Rushdie’s writing for over 30 years. She condemned the attack on her longtime friend and colleague as “cowardly” and “reprehensible in every way.”
“He is without doubt one of the greatest proponents of freedom of thought and speech and debate and discussion in the world today,” Dennys said in a telephone interview. “I have hopes of his recovery. He’s a great warrior and fighter, and I hope he is fighting back.”
Rushdie, a native of India who has since lived in Britain and the U.S., is known for his surreal and satirical prose style. “The Satanic Verses” was regarded by many Muslims as blasphemous for its dream sequence based on the life of the Prophet Muhammad, among other objections. The book had already been banned and burned in India, Pakistan and elsewhere before Iran’s Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a 1989 fatwa, or edict, calling for Rushdie’s death.
Investigators were working to determine whether the attacker, born a decade after the publication of “The Satanic Verses,” acted alone. Police said the motive for Friday’s attack was unclear.
After the publication of “The Satanic Verses,” often-violent protests erupted across the Muslim world against Rushdie. At least 45 people were killed in riots over the book, including 12 people in Rushdie’s hometown of Mumbai. In 1991, a Japanese translator of the book was stabbed to death and an Italian translator survived a knife attack. In 1993, the book’s Norwegian publisher was shot three times and survived.
The death threats prompted Rushdie to go into hiding under a British government protection program, though he cautiously resumed public appearances after nine years of seclusion, maintaining his outspoken criticism of religious extremism overall.
“We all depend on the storytelling, power and imagination of writers. He came out of hiding because he realized he wanted to play a role in the world we live in, defending those rights,” said Dennys.
“He couldn’t be silenced by fear, and I think that point is something he will continue to make if, as we all hope, he survives,” she said.
Dennys said the attack is already having the opposite effect of its suspected intentions given the outpouring of support from the international literary community, as well as activists and government officials, who cited Rushdie’s courage for his longtime free speech advocacy despite risks to his own safety.
“It’s brought everyone together to realize how precious and fragile our freedoms are and how important it is to speak up for them,” Dennys said.
The president of PEN Canada, an organization defending authors’ freedom of expression, condemned the “savage attack” on their “friend and colleague” Rushdie, who is a member.
Canadian writer John Ralston Saul, who has known Rushdie since the 1990s, said the author was always aware that someone might attack him but he chose to live publicly in order to speak out against those trying to silence free expression and debate.
“(Rushdie’s) work and whole life are a reminder of what the life of the public writer is in reality,” he said. “This would be the worst possible time to give in or show any sense that we must be more careful with our words. We’re not really writers if we give in to that kind of threat.”
Rushdie’s alleged attacker, Hadi Matar, was arrested after the attack at the Chautauqua Institution, a non-profit education and retreat centre. Matar’s lawyer entered a not guilty plea in a New York court on Saturday to charges of attempted murder and assault.
After the attack, some longtime visitors to the centre questioned why there wasn’t tighter security for the event, given the threats against Rushdie and a bounty on his head offering more than US$3 million to anyone who killed him.
Saul, who spoke at the Chautauqua Institution years before Rushdie’s attack, said it has an “open tradition” of debate, free expression and anti-violence going back over 100 years.
“It’s one of the freest places to take advantage of our belief in freedom,” he said.
Director of the Toronto International Festival of Authors Roland Gulliver tweeted Saturday that literary festivals and book events are “spaces of expression, to tell your stories in friendship, safety and respect.”
“To see this so violently broken is incredibly shocking,” he wrote.
Expressions of sympathy came from the political realm as well, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemning the attack as a “cowardly … strike against freedom of expression.”
“No one should be threatened or harmed on the basis of what they have written,” read a statement posted to Trudeau’s official Twitter account. “I’m wishing him a speedy recovery.”
The 75-year-old Rushdie suffered a damaged liver, severed nerves in his arm and is likely to lose an eye as a result of the attack, Rushdie’s agent Andrew Wylie said Friday evening.
A physician who witnessed the attack and was among those who rushed to help described Rushdie’s wounds as “serious but recoverable.”
With files from the Associated Press. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 13, 2022.
What you need to know about Canada's divisive ArriveCAN app – CBC News
Ottawa is making plans to expand the capabilities of its ArriveCAN app even as criticism continues to mount over the mandatory online data-entry system for travellers entering the country.
Earlier this week, Transport Canada gave an update on its plans to improve the app, including by adding an optional, online advance CBSA declaration feature for people going to the Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Billy Bishop Toronto City, Ottawa, Québec City and Halifax international airports.
The feature, which Transport Canada says cuts the amount of time travellers spend at a Canada Border Services Agency kiosk by a third, is currently only available to those passing through Toronto Pearson, Vancouver or Montreal-Trudeau international airports.
“With the thousands of travellers arriving in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal airports each day, the use of the optional advance CBSA declaration has the potential to save hours in wait time,” according to Transport Canada’s release.
With Ottawa signalling no plans to do away with the app, here’s a refresher on how it works, why it’s in place — and who’s for and against its continued use.
Why was it put in place?
Though the app was introduced earlier in the pandemic, the version of ArriveCAN people are familiar with today launched in July 2021, when Canada began easing public health restrictions on people coming into Canada. Fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents crossing the border were no longer required to quarantine upon their return.
But Canada still wanted a way to account for people’s vaccination statuses and COVID-19 results from a recent test. The app allowed travellers to take a photo or upload a snapshot of their vaccine documentation into the app before going through customs.
How does it work today?
Canada has lifted most of its travel restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers, including the need for domestic travellers to show proof of vaccination while travelling by train or plane.
But regardless of vaccination status, all travellers coming into Canada are required to submit their information to the ArriveCAN app — or the website version if they don’t have a smartphone — up to 72 hours before entering Canada.
When travellers finish inputting their information, they’re emailed a receipt to show a Canadian border officer upon arrival, along with their COVID-19 test results and any vaccination documents.
The app has not been without its issues. Last month, Public Safety Canada acknowledged a glitch incorrectly informed some travellers to quarantine when in fact they didn’t have to.
What are the potential penalties for non-compliance?
Travellers who fail to provide the required information won’t be denied entry but may face a 14-day quarantine, the need to take a COVID-19 test on arrival and a followup test eight days later.
They may also be fined $5,000 and face “additional delays at the border for public health questioning,” according to Canada’s main ArriveCAN information page.
In anyone exempt from using ArriveCAN?
Yes, including people who can’t access the app or website because of cognitive or physical impairments.
Instead, they may provide the information verbally at the border or by completing a paper form.
The exemption also applies to people who can’t fill out the information online because of a natural disaster, censorship, lack of access to internet or an ArriveCAN outage.
There is a degree of leeway for some people at land border crossings too.
As of May 24, “to allow for more flexibility,” the Canada Border Services Agency began letting fully vaccinated Canadian land travellers off with a warning the first time they neglect to fill out the app if they had no prior history of non-compliance.
The union representing border workers told CBC News last month that between 30 and 40 per cent of travellers entering into Canada in Windsor, Ont., weren’t completing the app before arriving.
Who’s against it?
Border city mayors have said the app is a barrier for tourists looking to enter Canada, and for trade.
Other politicians — including Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidates Jean Charest, Pierre Poilievre, Leslyn Lewis and Scott Aitchison — have called for the app to be scrapped, saying it creates headaches for some travellers and and contributes to delays at airports.
In a tweet last month, Poilievre called on Canada to “stop forcing ArriveCAN on people” and “restore sanity to our airports.” The tweet included video, which CBC News has not verified, of an elderly person without a cell phone calling the app “bureaucracy run amok” while at a Toronto airport.
This is how stupid things have gotten with this Liberal government.<br><br>Rules for the sake of rules. Rules that don’t make sense. Rules that leave people upset and angry.<br><br>Stop forcing ArriveCan on people. Restore sanity to our airports. <a href=”https://t.co/hUepm7fhJC”>https://t.co/hUepm7fhJC</a>
Lewis more recently called the app a “surveillance experiment” that needs to end.
This terrible ArriveCan App surveillance experiment needs to end. The government cannot continue to infringe on the rights and freedoms of Canadians. <a href=”https://t.co/5rcDHOtzHi”>https://t.co/5rcDHOtzHi</a>
Who wants the app to stay?
MP Taylor Bachrach, the New Democrats’ transport critic, said ArriveCAN continues to play “an important role” in helping screen international arrivals for new variants and for verifying that visitors to Canada are fully vaccinated to protect the country’s health care system.
“But the government must make the app work as intended so it can reduce wait times at airports and border crossings as promised,” Bachrach said in a statement.
The government also needs to better address people who can’t use the online app for accessibility reasons, he added.
“It is totally inappropriate for customs agents to be acting as IT technicians as they troubleshoot travellers’ technology challenges” he said.
Green Party MP Elizabeth May said she has found the app helpful and easy to use during her travels.
“The recent glitch, on the other hand, demonstrates a serious problem in terms of privacy breaches,” she said in a statement.
What does the government have to say about it?
In its release earlier this week, Transport Canada said 1,600 security screening officers with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority have been hired across Canada since April, while 30 new customs inspection kiosks have been recently added at Toronto Pearson International Airport.
In its own statement to CBC News, the CBSA said 99.53 per cent of air travellers used ArrivedCAN in the week ending July 17, according to the most recently available data.
Millions of people have used the app without issue, the spokesperson added.
“Without ArriveCAN, processing times for travellers would increase significantly, as these public health functions would need to be completed manually for each traveller by CBSA officers at the port of entry.”
Medical assistance in dying given to 10K Canadians in 2021 – CTV News
More Canadians are ending their lives with a medically-assisted death, says the third federal annual report on medical assistance in dying (MAID). Data shows that 10,064 people died in 2021 with medical aid, an increase of 32 per cent over 2020.
The report says that 3.3 per cent of all deaths in Canada in 2021 were assisted deaths. On a provincial level, the rate was higher in provinces such as Quebec, at 4.7 per cent, and British Columbia, at 4.8 per cent.
“It is rising remarkably fast,” University of Toronto law professor Trudo Lemmens, who was a member of the Council of Canadian Academies Expert Panel on Medical Assistance in Dying, wrote in an email to CTV News. He noted that some regions in the country have quickly matched or surpassed rates in Belgium and the Netherlands, where the practice has been in place for over two decades.
Advocates say it isn’t surprising because Canadians are growing more comfortable with MAID and some expect the rising rates may level off.
“The…. expectation has always been it (the rate) will be something around four to five per cent, (as in) Europe. We will probably, in the end, saw off at around the same rate,” said Dr. Jean Marmoreo, a family physician and MAID provider in Toronto.
The report uses data collected from files submitted by doctors, nurse practitioners and pharmacists across the country involving written requests for MAID.
Among the findings:
- All provinces saw increases in MAID deaths, ranging from 1.2 per cent (Newfoundland & Labrador) to a high of 4.8 per cent (British Columbia);
- More men (52.3 per cent) than women (47.7 per cent) received MAID;
- The average age was 76.3 years;
- Sixty-five per cent of those provided with assisted death had cancer. Heart disease or strokes were cited in 19 per cent of cases, followed by chronic lung diseases (12 per cent) and neurological conditions like ALS (12 per cent);
- Just over two per cent of assisted deaths were offered to a newer group of patients: those with chronic illnesses but who were not dying of their condition, with new legislation in 2021 allowing expanded access to MAID.
Documents show that 81 per cent of written applications for MAID were approved.
Thirteen per cent of patients died before MAID could be provided, with almost two per cent withdrawing their application before the procedure was offered.
Four per cent of people who made written applications for medical assistance were rejected. The report says some were deemed ineligible because assessors felt the patient was not voluntarily applying for MAID. The majority of requests were denied because patients were deemed not mentally capable of making the decision.
But other countries with long-established programs reject far more assisted death requests, said Lemmens, citing data that shows 12 to 16 per cent of applicants in the Netherlands are told no.
“It ….may be an indication that restrictions (in my view safeguards) are weaker here than in the most liberal euthanasia regimes,” he wrote in his email to CTV News.
But Marmoreo, who has offered MAID since 2016, sees Canada’s low rejection rate differently.
“It is more like that the right cases are put forward,” she said.
“We have a very good screening process right from the get-go. So before people actually even make a formal request to have assisted dying, they have a lot of information that’s been given to them by the intake….here’s what’s involved in seeking an assisted death, you must meet these eligibility criteria.”
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