Jessica Bell MPP, University–Rosedale

Government of Ontario

May 2019 Newsletter - Together in the fight for our schools, public transit, housing, the environment, and more

Published on May 30, 2019

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Dear Friend,
 
This season, I’ve been standing up and speaking out against the Government’s cuts to the programs and services that build strong communities.

It seems like every day we are learning about a new funding cut that will make it harder for families to find affordable childcare, for people to get library books, for children to receive the instruction that they need to grow and thrive, and for those most vulnerable to access legal aid.

These cuts, combined with the Government’s hostile plan to take over the TTC and hand over our communities to developers, means coming together to organize is more important than ever.

Just this week we saw clear evidence of our collective power when the Government announced that the cuts to public health, child care and emergency medical services they tried to push through, with zero consultation, are going to be put on hold. 

My staff and I are committed to serving as your voice at Queen’s Park. We know that when we come together to fight for our neighbourhoods, our community, and our city, we can achieve great things.

Please get in touch if you have an issue or concern, or would like to get more involved in our work.


Jessica Bell 
MPP, University – Rosedale


Stop the Subway Upload

In April, the Government introduced legislation to upload all new TTC projects to the province – the first step in the Government’s plan to take over and privatize our transit system. At the same time, they have cancelled funding for TTC maintenance and repairs, a move that will cost the TTC and Toronto transit users $1.1 billion.
 
I held a press conference at Queen’s Park to expose the Government’s transit plan for what it is: a hostile takeover that will only lead to delays and broken promises for transit users. We also hosted a Transit Day of Action, where I joined commuters at Yonge and Bloor station to speak out against the upload.

I know that public transit works when it is well-funded and locally owned and operated. That’s why I introduced a motion in the Legislature to require the Ontario government to match local municipalities’ funding contributions to operating and maintaining local transit. I will continue to grill the Premier on his ill-conceived transit ideas, organize with local residents, and speak our message loud and clear: The TTC belongs to Toronto!


Protecting Our Community against Bill 108

The Government’s new housing plan is all about taking power away from our communities and handing it over to private developers and the old Ontario Municipal Board system.
 
The Government’s More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019 does nothing to increase affordable housing, or protect renters against illegal evictions. Instead, it weakens local decision-making, attacks protections for heritage buildings and the environment, and limits the City’s powers to collect funds from developers that are used to build schools and community centres.
 
I believe residents should have a voice in local decision-making. Recently, I held a Residents’ Association roundtable to connect directly with the associations in University—Rosedale and hear their concerns, with representation from Residents Associations in the Annex, Harbord Village, Huron-Sussex, Kensington Market, North Rosedale, and Moore Park. I encourage you to share your thoughts on this legislation, and I will continue to oppose this assault on local communities.


Fighting for Tenants' Rights and Affordable Housing

I believe that we need to build safe and affordable housing now – and not give free reign to private developers to build luxury towers. Part of housing affordability is protecting tenants from illegal evictions, especially in neighbourhoods impacted by renovictions and Airbnb.
 
I was honoured to host We’re Here to Stay: A community meeting on tenant issues in Kensington Market earlier this month. I was joined by Councillor Mike Layton and speakers from the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations, Friends of Kensington Market, Kensington-Bellwoods Community Legal Services, and ACORN Toronto, who shared inspiring stories and information about how to work together to protect tenants’ rights. Thank you to all who came out to the packed event. You can read about the event and the illegal evictions tenants are facing here.


Our Climate Emergency

Protecting the environment and addressing climate change are issues that I’ve pushed for progress on for years. On May 13, my colleagues presented a motion in the legislature to declare a Climate Emergency.  I had the opportunity to welcome climate activists and youth who were visiting Queen’s Park to show their support, and to speak in the L­egislature about the great existential threat our planet is facing. Click on the image below to watch the video. 
 
I will continue to support residents organizing on climate change, including attending Fridays for Future rallies at Queen’s Park.


Standing up for Schools

The Government has introduced a series of disastrous changes to our education system. These changes will increase class sizes, slash 10,000 teaching positions, delay school building repairs, and replace in-person instruction with e-learning modules.

In April, I joined student walkouts, participated in a neighbourhood rally for education, and led a community weekend canvas to build support for our collective fight against education cuts. I also joined my colleagues in calling on the government to reverse their harmful cuts, and work with students and educators instead of against them. The Government used their majority to vote down our motion and continue with the cuts to schools and services.

My team and I are currently visiting schools and working with West End Parents for Public Education Toronto to take action alongside parents and students, including supporting the School Walk Ins for Education event on June 6.

If you would like us to attend a staff, student or parent council meeting at your school, please contact 416-535-7206.


Keep in Touch

My team and I are here to help you. I would love to hear your concerns, priorities and what you think deserves attention in the legislature or in our community.

My community office is located at 719 Bloor Street West, Suite 103.

We are open 9:00 am – 4:30 pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and 11:00 am – 6:30 pm on Thursday.
 
Please call us for an appointment: 416-535-7206 or email: jbell-co@ndp.on.ca