About two hundred people attended a memorial Tuesday, August 8th for the founder of downtown Toronto’s homeless memorial, Bonnie Briggs. It was held at the Church of the Holy Trinity, next to Eaton Centre. That church is the site of the Homeless Memorial, which Briggs, 64, founded in 1997.
Don’t be surprised if you get a sense of déjà vu as the mayor and Toronto city council wrap up the budget for 2017, this week. City council finalized the budget during a meeting scheduled for Feb. 14-15. On the chopping block for budget reductions are popular public services such as library hours, childcare and the potential closing of a men’s shelter in North York for people addressing substance-abuse. They’ve all faced similar threatened cuts in previous years.
A former street nurse says the City of Toronto doesn’t do enough to assist the homeless in cold weather.
For the past week, Toronto has faced its coldest temperatures in over two years, with three consecutive cold weather alerts. Once a cold weather alert is issued the city relaxes its shelter restrictions and takes in more homeless off the streets. The city also opens up a reserve of 172 shelter beds during extreme cold weather alerts to help ease crowding. However, street nurse Cathy Crowe believes city services in such emergencies fall short. “The city barely calls a cold weather alert,” Crowe said. “They have to be pressured through the use of media and lobby groups… Then, they finally add beds to an overcrowded system; they aren’t really beds, more or less cots.”
The re-elected MPP for Toronto Centre views his win Thursday night not as a victory, but as public service. Liberal Glen Murray handily reclaimed the riding with 25,075 votes in the provincial vote. That was over twice the number earned by his closest competitor, NDP candidate Cathy Crowe who polled 11,496 votes.
The Liberal party’s reign continues in Toronto Central, but for the newcomer PC candidate it’s about the long haul. The Liberal incumbent Glen Murray defeated Progressive Conservative Martin Abell in the provincial election, Thursday night, in Toronto Centre.
The only thing missing from Cathy Crowe’s victory party was the victory. In Thursday’s Toronto-Centre provincial by-election Crowe, a well known street nurse and star candidate for the NDP, earned 8,685 votes (31 per cent), nearly doubling the party’s previous performance in the riding but not enough to claim the Liberal stronghold.
Despite assurances from a ‘star’ Liberal candidate in this week’s provincial by-election, health care workers and residents of the Toronto Centre riding remained unconvinced that the Ontario government would step in to rescue Toronto Grace Hospital.