Spring is in the air! It’s been a busy five months for Liberals across Canada – we have a new Premier in Ontario, a new federal leader, and our neighbours on the west coast are fighting the good fight in a general election. What an exciting time to be a Liberal – you can feel the excitement and energy growing in the party from coast to coast to coast as we begin this new chapter.
April 8th marked the 42nd International Roma Day, an event observed in cities and countries across the world. Here in Toronto, the Roma Community Centre coordinated a day of celebration that included a free screening of Gypsy Caravan at the Revue Cinema in Roncesvalles. Organizers were pleased with the celebration, noting that there wasn’t an empty seat in the theatre.
“It was absolutely incredible to have such a display of meaningful support from our broader Canadian community,” said Roma Community Centre Executive Director Gina Csanyi-Robah. “This has been a truly amazing year for us as a Canadian Roma community, and we have so much to be thankful for.” Continue reading
Congrats to the 5,000 participants who laced up for Harry’s Spring Run-off in support of prostate cancer research and the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. High Park delivered a stunningly crisp and sunny Saturday, helping runners and walkers to generate $320 000 for the cause.
Both elite athletes and weekend joggers came together, competing in the 8K, 5K and a children’s race, all part of the 35-year-old event that has become an unofficial harbinger Continue reading
Donning vibrant traditional garb and liberal tees, Gerard Kennedy and the Parkdale—High Park Liberals Association joined former Etobicoke Centre MP and candidate-in-waiting Borys Wrzesnewskyj for the parade on Bloor West, to kickoff the annual celebration of the rich Ukrainian-Canadian culture.
“Ukrainian-Canadians have been an intrinsic presence within this great city for over 110 years. Their steadfast commitment to values of hard work and community support speaks to their vital importance,” said Gerard Kennedy, both a former parade marshall and awarded as a person of Ukrainian-Canadian heritage of distinction by the community.
Started in 1995, the festival has attracted thousands of local residents and tourists of all backgrounds.
Gerard Kennedy joined ”Give30” organizer and former FLA members Ziyaad Mia, numerous volunteers and many others for a special event in support of the Daily Bread Food Bank. Held on a bright Sunday afternoon in Brampton’s beautiful Hickory Wood Public School Park, the gathering added to the success of a summer fundraising campaign, which invited people of all faiths to contribute $1 a day throughout the holy month of Ramadan.
“Too many of our friends and neighbours are going without enough to eat, despite their best efforts. Give 30 during Ramadan is an extension of Muslim tradition that everyone can take part in, and make our whole community stronger,” said Kennedy. “Give 30’s goal of $30,000 is particularly welcome in the summer, when the ability of food banks to support Toronto’s hungry is usually reduced due to depleted resources.”
The campaign raised over $27,000.
It’s not every day that the tribulations of a punk rock band make international headlines, but over the past few weeks, the battle between all-girl punk band Pussy Riot and the Russian government has been capturing the attention of people worldwide.
The three Pussy Riot members — Maria Alekhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova — were arrested and sentenced to two years in prison after staging a “punk prayer” that lambasted Vladimir Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church inside a well-known Moscow cathedral.
The punk group’s brazen actions have attracted the support of people and organizations worldwide. Organizations such as Amnesty International have begun their own crusade in support of Pussy Riot. According to a CBC report, “Amnesty called the verdict ‘a bitter blow for freedom of expression’ in Russia, adding that it believes the decision was politically motivated.”
The story took another turn when it was reported on August 26th that two other members of the group fled Russia to evade charges and a probable prison sentence similar to that of their bandmates. That same day, Pussy Riot tweeted that their unidentified bandmates had fled Russia and were planning to recruit foreign feminists to continue protesting.
As the Pussy Riot story develops, groups from around the world — including Parkdale–High Park’s Russian community — continue to watch closely.
On August 31 Parkdale resident Kim Rivera received a deportation notice for September 20. She is to be sent back to the US and imprisoned for resisting the Iraq War. Gerard has championed the cause of Ms. Rivera and other American soldiers, and he attended a media conference for her as well as a candlelight vigil in Parkdale on September 5.
“From their first-hand, on-the-ground-experience, Kimberly and others agreed with Canada’s position of an unjust war, and fled to our country to get the recognition of their conscientious objection, which their homeland would not provide.” said Gerard, “Despite overwhelming support in Canadian public opinion for their cause, the Conservatives now want to send Kim back after five years here, to be made an example of.”
Gerard is joining with others in a non-partisan appeal to let Ms. Rivera—who now has two Canadian children and faces a likely 18-month sentence in military jail— to stay in this country on compassionate grounds. Please act today if you agree. Contact Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney and let him know that you want Kimberly Rivera to stay. You can contact him by:
- PHONE Minister’s Office: 613.954.1064 (9am–5pm)
- EMAIL http://resisters.ca/support-the-rivera-family/letter-to-jason-kenney/
- WRITE a letter to: 325 East Block, House of Commons, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Team PHP-Federal Liberals were breaking new ground on a sunny summer Saturday morning, attracting an audience of 175to the Movie Matinee for Mental Health.
After the screenings of Ryan and The Interventionists, a panel discussed the films as well as stigmas associated with mental health. The panel, moderated by Gerard Kennedy, included film directors Chris Landreth and Kat Cizek; the crisis team from St. Joseph’s hospital Constable Michael Zawerbny and Nurse Polly Goves; along with Dream Team representative Leslie Miller.
For more information on next events for the campaign to make Parkdale–High Park Canada’s first mental health stigma free zone, please visit our new website, stigmafreezone.ca.
Thank you to attendees, speakers, panelists and event organizers for taking an equal part in making this event so meaningful and worthwhile. Please visit here, here or here for more photos and comments from the film screenings and community discussion.
If you’d like to be a part of the ongoing efforts by the Mental Health Stigma Free Zone Initiative, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll gladly put you in touch with the team organizers.
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the newly rebuilt Jamie Bell Adventure Playground was unveiled to cheers and tears from a host of park enthusiasts on July 6th. Brought back to life by a committed group of volunteers under the direction of celebrity contractor Mike Holmes and landscape architect Janet Rosenborg, the beloved recreational area is all systems go for summer.
Resurrected in record time following an arson attack on March 17, the rejuvenated High Park centrepiece is a testament to the will of an involved neighbourhood. Residents joined forces with local businesses and community leaders, as well as with sponsors Canadian Tire and Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse to restore the playground, which has welcomed families since 1998.
“This has been an extraordinary experience,” said Gerard Kennedy, on site and hard at work for the volunteer push. “The people of Parkdale—High Park have come together and really shown what they’re made of. A local misfortune has become a community success story.”