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'It pissed me off': Grits react to NES Gaza promo
And Ford's birthday bashing
Presented by Ontario’s Universities
ABOVE THE FOLD
It’s a busy day with a jam-packed agenda — but first, stakeholders have their say on the Ford government’s legislation to overhaul home care. Meanwhile, the Muslim community and beyond react to NATE ERSKINE-SMITH’s Gaza promo.
“It pissed me off.”
That’s how one prominent Liberal and member of the Muslim community said they felt after receiving Erskine-Smith’s email blast that targeted some Muslim folks with a long list of the leadership contender’s advocacy for Palestinians.
Over the weekend, I spoke with eight folks from the Muslim community who are card-carrying Liberals. They said the promo was problematic because it seemed to capitalize on the complicated conflict in the Middle East and asked recipients to support Erskine-Smith’s bid for provincial leader. Some weren’t happy about the fact it came from his federal constit office staffer in Beaches-East York. They asked for anonymity out of fear of reprisals (with some noting that Erskine-Smith’s supporters are lashing out on social media).
“This is just disrespectful because you’re trying to gain support by targeting communities,” said one operative who lives in Erskine-Smith’s backyard in the east end of Toronto.
They said some of their fellow organizers are trying to downplay the situation — but they’re not buying it. “Someone told me: ‘When we’re doing a door-to-door canvass, depending on who you meet, you talk in their language, right?’ And for me, I’d rather lose than do something of that nature. I was expecting Nate to be of similar quality, but I was very much discouraged.”
Some didn’t like that, based on who out of their friends and family received it, the email appeared to be aimed at Muslims who live around Erskine-Smith’s riding, and Scarborough in particular.
“They are not being honest with their communication. That should be communicated to all party members — or it should not be communicated with anyone. If I’m not receiving your email, and then the other half of my family members are receiving it, and the same is happening with my friend circle, that basically means you are targeting who you’re sending that email out to,” said one source.
This politico had supported Erskine-Smith for MP and was initially backing him for Liberal leader, but was turned off by his strategic voting tactic with YASIR NAQVI. They’re now behind BONNIE CROMBIE.
For his part, Erskine-Smith believes the targeted emails are par for the course. His supporters echoed the sentiment.
“If sending targeted emails is unethical I guess I’m going to the deepest circle of Dante’s Inferno,” JAKE LANDAU said on social media.
What offended IMRAN MIAN, a former candidate for Mississauga—Erin Mills who is backing Erskine-Smith for leader: “The baseless attacks on his outreach efforts. Engaging with the Muslim community should be applauded, not criticized.” (Mian said he didn’t receive the email.)
Former party counsel JACK SIEGEL pointed out that the longtime federal MP has branded himself as someone who does politics differently. “To paraphrase BILL CLINTON, it all depends on how you define ‘differently,’” he quipped.
GRANNIES GRUMBLE OVER BILL 135
Stakeholders are having their say on Health Minister SYLVIA JONES’s Convenient Care at Home Act, which is chugging through the committee process.
The bill would make Ontario Health Teams responsible for home care services and establish a new organization — Ontario Health atHome — that would coordinate those home care services.
But advocates are worried it could create a conflict of interest “between the financial interests of service providers and the health care needs of the home care clients.”
That’s according to the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, which is concerned about the possibility of providers becoming responsible for coordinating care without the proper oversight mechanisms in place.
While the government’s goal is to have Ontario Health Teams in charge, the fact that private companies are part of those Teams is raising the alarm. “Health service providers have a vital and inherent self-interest in the financial viability and profitability of their services and operations,” the advocacy centre told the committee studying the legislation.
Dr. ANDREW PARK, president of the Ontario Medical Association, also weighed in, saying that it’s important to give autonomy to Health Teams and set standards for high-quality and equally-accessible home care. Accepting referrals and providing care 24/7 would also help reduce “avoidable” ER admissions.
Park pointed out that a major factor in hospital overcrowding is the “bottleneck” of alternate-level-of-care patients and that there’s “not enough” health care professionals to go around. Paying home care workers in particular a “wage that makes it abundantly clear how vital they are” would help address staffing shortages.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario said home care organizations are best positioned to coordinate care required by their clients, “provided there is accountability for quality care expenditures.”
A moment of levity: A band of grandmas in Ottawa voiced their opposition in song.
9:15 a.m.: Agriculture Minister LISA THOMPSON is in Waterdown with her federal counterpart, Ag Minister LAWRENCE MACAULAY, for an announcement.
Point of contention: Like Saskatchewan and Alberta’s Premiers, DOUG FORD is urging Canada’s Senators to expedite the passage of the Conservatives’ Bill C-234, which would take the carbon price off natural gas and propane used by farmers — and fly in the face of Environment Minister STEVEN GUILBEAULT’s pledge that there would be no more carbon-tax carve-outs under his watch (despite that possibility, Guilbeault says he’s not going anywhere).
9:30 a.m.: NDP Leader MARIT STILES is taking another stab at tightening up Ontario’s integrity rules. She’s in the Media Studio to tease forthcoming legislation, the Cleaning Up Corruption Act, alongside Democratic Reform critic CHRIS GLOVER.
10 a.m.: Health Minister SYLVIA JONES and Colleges and Universities Minister JILL DUNLOP are making an announcement in Toronto.
11 a.m. Ontario time: Energy Minister TODD SMITH heads to Regina, Saskatchewan for an announcement alongside SaskPower Minister DUSTIN DUNCAN and reps from SaskPower, Ontario Power Generation and subsidiary Laurentis Energy Partners.
11 a.m.: Transportation Minister PRABMEET SARKARIA is up in Renfrew.
12 p.m.: Back in the Media Studio, the Ontario Health Coalition’s NATALIE MEHRA and Democracy Watch’s DUFF CONACHER will talk about ex-health minister CHRISTINE ELLIOTT’s lobbying for Clearpoint Health Network, the biggest private surgical clinic chain in the country.
1 p.m.: Green Leader MIKE SCHREINER follows, to pitch his party’s proposal to combat price gouging by major grocery chains. Also on hand: AISLINN CLANCY, the Greens deputy leader and Kitchener Centre candidate.
FUNDRAISING WATCH — 6 p.m.: Solicitor General MICHAEL KERZNER is headlining a $500-a-head fundraiser in Toronto. Invite.
ON THE ORDER PAPER
First up: MPPs get right into it with Question Period around 10:30 a.m.
After the morning debate, a couple of deferred votes: On the PCs latest anti-carbon-tax motion calling on the feds to exempt other home-heating fuels. And on the NDP’s private member’s Bill 40, to beef up penalties for careless drivers who harm pedestrians, cyclists, workers and other vulnerable road users.
Later on, it’s Oppo Day Motion #5: MARIT STILES will move her (non-binding but symbolic) motion calling on the government to implement the NDP’s pitch to cut emissions and energy bills by subsidizing the cost of heat pumps and other energy-saving retrofits.
ON THE COMMITTEE CIRCUIT — 12:30 p.m.: The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs meets for a closed-door briefing from the acting Auditor General re: their audit of the Real Estate Council of Ontario. At 1:45 p.m.: Testimony from Deputy Public and Business Service Delivery Minister RENU KULENDRAN and other officials, ditto Real Estate Council CEO MICHAEL BEARD.
COCKTAIL CHATTER — Fancy a side of bacon with your policy chatter? Ontario Pork producers are hosting a lunch reception in Room 228. In the evening, the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario takes over, and in the Dining Room, it’s the Economic Developers Council of Ontario’s reception.
— IT’S A DEAL: The Ontario Nurses’ Association and Home and Community Care Support Services have inked a tentative agreement, which goes for a ratification vote on Thursday. Details are scant for now. It’s “not all that we had hoped for,” said ONA president ERIN ARISS, but “this is just the start of making up for the financial ground our members have lost over the past decade and reclaiming respect for the incredible work our members do.”
— GRIMSBY GRAB: “A town in the Niagara Region is poised to urge the Ford government to stick with its controversial decision to remove two sites from the Greenbelt and make it easier for municipalities to open up other protected farmland for development.” CBC has the story.
— BONNIE BACKERS: It’s been a good-press weekend for BONNIE CROMBIE — and the timing couldn’t be better for the perceived frontrunner in the Liberal leadership race, as card-carrying Grits cast their ballots this coming weekend.
From the Globe’s John Ibbitson: “Despite the efforts of two challengers teaming up against her, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie is favoured to win the leadership of a revived Ontario Liberal Party on Dec. 2. Liberals across the country will be watching. The future of the party could be at stake.”
From the Star, an ed-board endorsement: “The Ontario Liberals — having failed badly in two successive elections — need a fresh start and a fresh face to put right what has gone wrong. That means picking a leader who can effectively challenge Premier DOUG FORD. It’s here where we think Crombie is the strongest candidate.”
Birthday bashing: Meanwhile, Crombie and rivals TED HSU, NATE ERSKINE-SMITH and YASIR NAQVI battled it out one last time on the debate stage ahead of the weekend vote. DOUG FORD, who’s turning 59 today, was their main target. CP has the highlight reel.
— BAD FAITH: “Only 4 of 13 landlords busted for bad faith evictions have paid the fines they owe,” CBC reports.
— FEDS FES: Over on the Hill, tomorrow’s mini-budget is expected to feature another policy aimed at addressing the housing crisis: “A measure designed to make it less lucrative for people to use their properties as short-term rentals, the Star has learned.”
A message from Ontario’s Universities
After a 10% tuition cut in 2019, four years of a tuition freeze, and pressure from inflation, Ontario’s universities are at a breaking point. Without ending the tuition freeze and providing additional government funding to universities, the programs and services that Ontario’s students rely on and deserve are at risk.
The time for government action is now. Find out more about how government, businesses, community partners and universities must work together to ensure that universities have the resources to continue to support students, lead innovation, and drive economic growth for Ontario here.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS
First in Observer — STAFFING UP — As we previously scooped, Housing Minister PAUL CALANDRA continues to shuffle staff. The latest: RICHARD OSITASHVILI is now acting as director of policy. He was previously a senior policy and strategic comms adviser to then-minister STEVE CLARK. BRANDON FALCONE is no longer listed as stakeholder and policy adviser.
PROMOTION — JULIANA VAN GAALEN goes from senior policy adviser to the Finance Minister, to deputy director of policy to Treasury Board President CAROLINE MULRONEY.
TRANSITION — Over in Colleges and Universities Minister JILL DUNLOP’s office, MATTHEW McGOVERN is now issues manager and public appointments adviser. McGovern was previously at Red Tape Reduction Minister PARM GILL’s office.
MEET THE PRESS — Queen’s Park alumni TRAVIS DHANRAJ is taking over the host’s chair at CBC News’s Canada Tonight.
Here are the new, renewed and amended registrations since Friday:
Sam MacMillan, Enterprise Canada: Ontario Federation of Agriculture
John Perenack, Fraser Macdonald and Jonathan Ricci, StrategyCorp: 7-Eleven
Mark Johnson, PAA Advisory | Conseils: Vale Canada Ltd
Yaron Gersh and Shawn Berezin, The CCS Group: ECRI
Jan O'Driscoll, Rubicon Strategy: Henvey Inlet Wind LP, Manulife
Davin Shinedling, Jenni Byrne + Associates: Slate Asset Management
🥳 HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Premier DOUG FORD…U.S. President JOE BIDEN.
🍽️ ON THE MENU: Wondering whether to pick up lunch or brown-bag it? BBQ chicken with potatoes and coleslaw is on special in the Quorum Cafe’s basement cafeteria.
⏳ COUNTDOWN: T-minus 10 days until the byelection in Kitchener Centre…12 days until the Liberal leadership contest…24 days until the House breaks for winter…138 days until the Premier has to call a byelection for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex.