of the Monthly Meeting held on August 09, 2010 at Queen’s Park
(Ameed) Mahboub (ITC)
J. O. Goldyn
Welcome Remarks by the chair.
Minutes of the previous meeting.
Presentation by Mr. Matias De Dovitis for City Councillor Antony
Presentation by Councilor Rob Ford a Mayoral Candidate
Presentation by George Smitherman a Mayoral Candidate
Remarks by the Chair:
Saras, chaired the meeting and declared the meeting open.
Bahrami moved a motion to approve the agenda of the meeting. Hassan Zerehi
seconded it. The motion was
Minutes of the previous meeting:
Tajdolati moved a motion to approve the minutes of the previous monthly
meeting held on July 12, 2010 Suleiman Guven, seconded it. The
motion was carried.
Saras sent a letter to Heritage Canada seeking some clarification under
Publication Assistance Program. Thomas
Saras met with officials of Heritage Canada in Ottawa. Next year the
program application will be in the website.
Effective immediately there is a program on September 2010
–Canada Business Innovation Fund for print periodicals.
NEPMCC would meet
officials of Revenue Ministry Ontario as well Revenue Canada on August 18
at 2:00 pm to seek clarification regarding HST for ethnic media. Members
interested in participating in the discussion were requested to contact
the office of the President of NEPMCC.
Dr. Lamba expressed
his desire to rejoin the organization. Mr. Saras brought the matter in the
table for discussion as a motion Srimal Abeyawardene seconded it. The
council unanimously opposed the return of Dr.Lamba as Ombudsman and or
Thomas Saras also
informed the council of a reference letter which was sought by Dr. Lamba
for his nomination of an Honorary Degree conferred by University of
Toronto for his contribution to community at large. Mr. Saras also brought
the matter to motion. The council unanimously voted against providing a
reference letter, as it could be interpreted as a service requested by
12 members are
invited to a trip to Turkey; they will recruit a diverse group of
journalists. Journalists and members were asked to contact the delegation
to know more about the trip.
CNE tickets along
with parking pass were distributed to members during the meeting. NEPMCC
has sponsored two shows at CNE this year celebrating the annual “Ethnic
Press Festival”. The shows
would take place the International Building “Hall B” of the Direct
Energy Centre on September 5 at 1:30pm 6:30 pm respectively. Members were
urged to attend the festival in support of the performers.
proposed to the council that NEPMCC would certify the circulation of
newspapers for auditing. He would propose one of the members of NEPMCC to
be the officer of oath, who would be authorized to certify the
suggested to members of doing community survey highlighting issues facing
their respective communities. There is government funding available for
doing community based research
Thomas Saras informed the council that payment has been made towards Word
on the Street Festival. Ahmed Shah Hotaki is in charge for the
the “Word on the Street Festival”
Presentation by Mr. Matias De Dovitis for City Councillor Antony
De Dovitas spoke of a federal program for Children’s Education savings
fund. The program called “The Canada Learning Bond. He educated the
members of the council as to how to avail the $500 grant from Government
was later helped by a representative of Working Women Community Centre to
highlight on some of the specifics of the program.
behalf of Working Women Community Centre Adriana
Beemans educated the members of NEPMCC on some of the program
were as follows:
If a child was born after December 31, 2003 the child is eligible
to get the $500 Canada Learning Bond plus an addition of $100 per year up
to age 15 if the child receives National Child Benefit Supplement.
Over time, the Canada Learning Bond could add up to $2000 in grant
money for child’s education after high school.
The process of opening an RESP account to get the $500 grant was
explained to the members of NEPMCC
Parent or primary
caregiver eligible for the National Child Benefit Supplement (ma81% of
Canada Learning Bonds have not been accessed. 415,518 eligible children
not enrolled across Ontario. Only 18.8% (78,481) children are enrolled.
There is a very low
awareness of Canada Learning Bond and Canada Education Savings Grant in
Community Centre would make an announcement on September 24, 2010 on a new
initiative to increase awareness of the program.
encouraged to convey this important message to its readers so that many
low income families are aware of the program.
Followed by the presentation many members participated in discussion with Mr.Matias de Dovitiis and the representative from Working Women Centre. They satisfactorily answered all questions and encouraged members to contact them if they needed any further information.
thanked them for their time and assured all possible help in raising
awareness of the Canada Learning Bond.
by Toronto City Councilor Rob Ford, a Mayoral candidate.
Ford thanked the council for giving time. Many members including Srimal
Abeyawardene Janus Raudkavi, William Doyle Marshall and others
participated in the discussion.
following are the highlights of his presentation and discussion.
Rob Ford began by giving a brief of his bio.
Rob Ford was first elected as councilor in 2000 representing Ward 2
in North Etobicoke.
In politics Rob Ford
takes the principle of accountability in business with the theme
“Customer is always right” in Public Sector and particularly in City
Hall. Customer service lacks in City Hall.
Toronto has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.
The City of Toronto’s budget has ballooned from $5.9 billion in
2000 to $9.2 billion in 2010 – plus a $2.4 billion capital budget.
The City is addicted to spending and the most important job for the
incoming Mayor will be to get the City’s finances in order.
Downsize Council from 44 to 22 Councillors. Toronto has 22 MPs, 22
MPPs and 22 School Trustees. It only needs 22 City Councilors.
Reducing Toronto City Council would make meetings more productive and save
taxpayers about $9 million in direct costs (salary, benefits, expense
accounts and staffing budgets.) Additional savings from a reduced burden
on City Hall staff would equal at least $6 million each year. There
are too many politicians and not enough accountability.
When Rob Ford is Mayor, he will reduce the politicians’ expense
accounts to $30,000 (saving over $1 million per year) so that tax dollars
are spent only on legitimate purposes
Garbage and other solid wastes must be collected on schedule,
without fail. The strike during the summer of 2009 put the health of
people and families in Toronto at risk.
The City must put in place solutions to make waste collection
reliable and affordable. Etobicoke, for example, uses contracted
providers and saves the city $2 million each year. By adopting the
same approach for the whole city, taxpayers will save about $20 million
each year and can have the confidence their garbage collectors won’t go
on unnecessary strikes.
Poor customer service frustrates city residents and businesses.
Too often, emails are ignored, telephone calls are not returned, staff are
unable to answer questions or help solve issues When Rob Ford is Mayor,
and excellent customer service will be the standard for all City Hall
Toronto residents should not have to pay $60 every year to register
their vehicle. It’s an unfair cash grab that hits families hard.
Rob Ford will push to eliminate the Vehicle Registration Tax at the first
City Council meeting after becoming Mayor.
People who buy and sell homes in Toronto must pay a new Land
Transfer Tax to City Hall on top of all the other charges associated with
buying or selling a home. This punishes people and families who live
in Toronto and makes the city less affordable for many people. This
tax is driving business, families, and people away from Toronto. Rob
Ford will move to abolish the Land Transfer Tax in his first year as Mayor
He distributed a fridge magnet with his contact details to all
members present at the meeting and encouraged everyone to call him to
discuss any rising issue the city is currently facing.
He said he is passionate for the job of Mayor and will work hard in
bringing accountability and good customer service in City Hall.
Saras on behalf of the members thanked Rob Ford, for his time and wished
him good with his campaign. There was brief picture taking opportunity
with the members following the roundtable discussions.
Presentation, by George Smitherman –
Thomas Saras, welcomed George Smitherman and invited him to address the
members of council. George Smtitherman thanked for the opportunity and
candidly addressed the members in the presentation and discussion. Srimal
Abeyawardene, William Doyle Marshall, Janus Raudkavi, Liz Philbert and
many other members participated in the discussion.
following are the highlights of the issue discussed.
Born and raised in Etobicoke, George has made downtown Toronto his
home for more than twenty years. Prior to holding elected office George
owned and operated his own retail business in the City of Toronto for a
George knows how to get things done at City Hall having served as
the chief of staff to former Toronto mayor, Barbara Hall. During his time
in this role, George represented the Mayor in Economic Development, City
Budget and the re-zoning for the Air Canada Centre and the adjacent
As Deputy Premier George Smitherman was a strong voice for the City
of Toronto at the Cabinet table helping Toronto secure a share of the
province's gasoline tax for transit, greater flexibility and independence
in managing its affairs through changes to the City of Toronto Act, an
historic investment in new buses, streetcars and subway cars for the City
of Toronto as well as billions in funding for public transit expansion
including the subway line to York University and beyond to York Region.
He emphasized on four critical issues during his address a)
Transit, b) Jobs, c) Fiscal Responsibility and Stability and d) Community
Safety and Services.
truth is that in order to fix the budget, we need to change the way things
are done at City Hall. We need to quit the short-sighted 'one step ahead'
approach when times call for a longer-term plan. We need to change a
culture that thinks it is acceptable to keep spending and expanding no
matter what the cost to people. Put simply, we have got to focus ourselves
and fit our budgets to our means. Not the other way around. As Mayor,
George will establish multi-year budgets to create administrative savings
and allow City agencies to plan. In addition to leading a line-by-line
review of the budget George Smitherman will work together with council to
wring out further savings. George will join the budget committee and lead
a transparent examination of Toronto’s priorities. He said by simply
reducing taxes and reducing mayoral budget is not enough for fiscal
stability but a sound policy is needed to improve the financial condition
with added services and economic growth.
While George would welcome innovative models and new approaches
including the greater use of public / private partnerships, he believes
the blind selling-off of assets like Toronto Hydro that have been paid for
by the city is a weak substitute for leadership.
· Transit- When it comes to transit, we need to have more than just catchy slogans. Torontonians need a practical program that delivers.
Riders’ Charter that will set out clear standards and benchmarks for
service, treatment of the public and notification of changes or
interruptions to service in a way that keeps the TTC accountable.
Smart cards: one card for all your fares, loaded up at your
convenience and payable by internet or ATM without having to wait in line
for a token machine that won’t take your coins and bills.
Virtually every major transit system in the world has moved to electronic
fare collection, and it works. Why is Toronto still using an outdated
token system? The TTC has been testing fare cards. It’s time to
require them to introduce them for all, with a deadline of 2014.
Everyone agrees the TTC needs to expand. And everyone knows we can
only afford so much at a time. We do need more subways, and we need LRTs.
It is time for politicians to stop bickering and set priorities. George
Smitherman proposes a responsible, two-phase transit expansion plan that
does just that
Toronto’s transit riders should expect service first. When George
Smitherman is Mayor, they will get a TTC that is smarter, more
comfortable, more courteous, integrated with the Greater Toronto Area—in
short, a system that actually gets people around town.
Community Safety, Services
and Job Creation-George is determined to lead a healthier community.
Building on the recreational renaissance, George Smitherman will consider
the integration of public health services with other City departments,
such as recreation, social development, social services and children’s
services. This could help bring more action to address many of the
underlying causes for illness and poor health.
As part of this integration of recreation and health, George
Smitherman will draw on some of the lessons he learned as Ontario Minister
of Health and reducing wait times. He will place greater emphasis on
getting public health staff out of the office and into the community,
including reintroducing school nurses, integrating public health nurses
with Community Health Centres and operating more storefront public health
As Toronto Mayor, George Smitherman will use the preparation for
the Pan Am Games in 2015 as a galvanizing force to get Torontonians to
live healthier, more active lives.
George Smitherman will continue to work to reduce gun-related
crimes. As Mayor, George Smitherman will establish an annual
Accountability Review and an annual summit for all key agencies involved
in reducing gun crime. These will maintain political focus on priority
actions, partnership, and initiatives. Participants will include The
Toronto Police Service, City agencies dealing with housing, youth and
social welfare groups, the Federal and Provincial governments, school
boards, Business Improvement Associations, neighbourhood groups and
associations, and community organizations with expertise in gang behaviour
and best practices in diversion strategies.
George Smitherman is proud of The Toronto Police Service and
the work they do. Community policing initiatives and programs such as
Toronto’s Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy, (TAVIS), have also been
highly successful, and George will support their continuation to reduce
violent crime in our city.
Saras on behalf of all the members thanked George Smitherman for his time
and wished him success in his campaign. Later all the members gathered for
pictures with the Mayoral Candidate.
Garcia reported to the council on the matter (crackdown on a Bangladeshi
media outlet in Bangladesh) brought to his notice in the previous meeting.
He gave a fair review of his understanding of the matter.
New Members: The
council welcomed the following member
– Tamil Mirror monthly newspaper
Adjournment: Srimal Abeyawardene, moved a motion to adjourn the meeting, Ahmed Shah Hotaki seconded it. The motion was carried. The chair adjourned the meeting at 10:30 pm. The next meeting would take place on September 13, 2010 at 6:00 pm committee room N# 2, Queen Park.
By Neel Nanda, Secretary General of the NEPMCC.