This past weekend I had the opportunity to ring in the New Year with friends and community members at the East York New Year’s Levee. I took some time to reflect on the work I’ve been doing here in our riding, in Ottawa and with our government over 2016.
Over the past year, rain or shine, I’ve spent many mornings at subway and streetcar stops talking to constituents. I’ve heard directly from the residents of Toronto-Danforth in least 8 different town halls, a number of coffee and conversations, pop-up community offices, tax clinics, passport clinics and countless more private meetings. My office and I have handled more than 500 requests for help with federal services, as well as the cases of more than 30 applications for private sponsorship of refugees. I’ve knocked on hundreds of doors, attended community events in every corner of the riding, and now, after a week of rest, I’m ready to do it again. I have been enriched by my interactions with my neighbours, constituents and community leaders. I have volunteered with my community, I have prayed with many of you, I have shared meals with you and I have worked to ensure that you get great service from the federal government. I am prouder than ever to live in and work for Toronto-Danforth.
We’ve accomplished a lot for Toronto-Danforth this year. We’re investing in public transit to make it faster, greener and more effective at getting us to work. I’ve been a member of the Bike Caucus in Ottawa for the year, and I was heartened to see our investments in active transportation and bike recreation infrastructure. I’m proud we’re committing hundreds of millions of dollars to remediating the mouth of the Don River so we can use the potential of the Port Lands.
By doubling the number of Canada Summer Jobs we have in our community last year we supported local businesses and organizations. Just a few are Eastview Neighbourhood Community Centre, East York Strategy’s YOLO Summer Camp, St. John’s Mission, Riverside BIA, Crow’s Theatre, Newcomer Women’s Services, Massey Centre, South Riverdale Community Health Centre and East York Learning Experience. I’ve been working hard for our community.
We’re working to protect the rights of Trans people. We’re opening foreign markets to Canadian products. We’re protecting the environment through a comprehensive carbon pricing scheme. We’re using evidence and compassion to ensure that people struggling with opioid and other drug addictions have access to safe places to consume their substances and get the help they need. And we’re using the Canada Child Benefit to make sure that those families that need financial assistance most, get the highest amounts of federal dollars. There will be more work ahead of us, and I am always listening to your ideas and your concerns as we go forward.
Lastly, I am proud of the work I personally have done for Toronto-Danforth – and Canadians – in Ottawa. Sitting on the Heritage Committee, I have pushed the concerns of my constituents to make sure that the Chairman of the CRTC knows how Toronto-Danforth feels about Canadian content. I sponsored a study on Women and Girls in Sport, where we met with Olympians, Paralympians and other Canadians to learn how best the federal government can support more diversity in sport. I helped deliver a federal framework on Medical Aid in Dying while a member of the special joint committee put in place to study that subject. And, I have been the chair of the Food Policy Caucus for more than a year, working towards a food secure Canada with my colleagues.
It’s been a great year, and I am ready for 2017 with all its successes and challenges. Make sure you call or write me with your ideas, concerns or comments so I can keep representing you in the most effective ways possible.