Category Archives: Being Jewish in Toronto

Provincial Election Primer 2014: St. Paul’s. Undecided? Read this! (updated)


The provincial election is coming up fast – On June 12th, 2014 and Ontarians have a very tough decision on their hands. Stuck with 3 underwhelming candidates for Premier of Ontario, the field would appear to be wide open as to who will win and whether the government will be a majority or a minority.

Expect another coalition government, propped up by the NDP again, but expect this time that PC leader Tim Hudak (if he’s still there and not replaced by Doug Ford) will actually force the Liberal government to add some Conservative goodies into the budget as Premier Kathleen Wynne did for the NDP every time.

But I wanted to take a look at the riding I live in, St. Paul’s, an affluent Toronto riding almost completely residential and includes both the mansions of Forest Hill and the multicultural neighbourhoods that straddle St. Clair Avenue west of Bathurst Street.

Thank you to the CBC for all of this data below;

The population in this riding from the 2006 census is 111,131, down 1.2% since the previous census taken in 2001.  Politically, Liberal Dr. Eric Hoskins has held this seat since beating PC Sue Ann Levy in a by-election in 2009 by 5,330 votes.  The seat had previously been Liberal, held by Michael Bryant since 1999.  Bryant relinquished his seat in May 2009 to lead Invest Toronto.  Bryant quit Invest Toronto after being charged in the death of bicycle courier Darcy Allan Sheppard in downtown Toronto (the courier you may recall grabbed a hold of Bryant’s car and was threatening him when Bryant sped away and Sheppard flew off his bike on the street where he died).

You could say this riding is somewhat of a Liberal strong hold, which is interesting considering this riding contains the second largest amount of wealth in all of Canada, and typically wealth = Conservative, and that south of St. Clair is very left-wing.  For this reason I am constantly amazed that there is no strong Conservative candidate in the area campaigning for the removal of Hoskins.

Take the last provincial election from 2011.  Dr. Hoskins easily won after garnering 25,052 votes, or 58.41% of the vote.  Second was PC Christine McGirr with only 8,971 votes, or 20.92%.  The NDP candidate David Hynes came in right behind McGirr with 7,121 votes, or 16.60% of the vote, and votes were given to the Green Party candidate, Judith Van Veldhuysen (1,172, 2.73%), the Libertarian candidate John Kittredge (332 votes, 0.77%), the Family Party candidate Mike Rita (88 votes, 0.21%) and these two parties;  SPO Keith Pinto (83 votes, 0.19%)
and NOH David Vallance (73 votes,  0.17%).

A Liberal landslide, and having just moved into the riding, I did not see or hear from or of McGirr at any point in the campaign, but did receive tons pricy, glossy flyers from Hoskins.  The same held true this year – more on that later.

Let’s take a closer look at the riding’s demographics, and compare the rate in the riding to the provincial average and the average in Canada.  Of note will be the extremely low unemployment, the above average number of seniors but what should really jump out at you is the average annual household income figure and the percentage of people in this riding with a post-secondary degree.  It’s outstanding and a really good reminder for kids to stay in school!

From 2006 census:

Unemployment Rate:

St. Paul’s 6.2%
Ontario 6.4%
Canada 6.6%

Seniors:

St. Paul’s 15.67%
Ontario 13.56%
Canada 13.71%

Home Owners:

St. Paul’s 20.11%
Ontario 26.61%
Canada 26.92%

Average Family Income:

St. Paul’s $166,814
Ontario $90,526
Canada $82,325

Post-Secondary Degrees:

St. Paul’s 48.41%
Ontario 33.54%
Canada 33.35%

This riding is pre-dominantly Jewish, followed by Philippino, then Caribbean, and Native Canadian.

 

The 2014 Candidates

Conservative Justine Deluce
Liberal Dr. Eric Hoskins
NDP Luke Savage
Green Josh Rachlis
Libertarian John Kittredge
Freedom Party of Ontario Mike Rita

So let’s take a closer look at the candidates:

Deluce, being the newcomer and with very little literature on the street and no buzz, she is the candidate people will vote for if they do not vote for Hoskins, so she is playing the come and find me game.  So I did.

Justine Deluce is bilingual, and is / was, the COO at Chestnut Park Real Estate, so she understands the challenges of running a business in a competitive environment, and she also must be perfectly aware of some key concerns for Ontarians – and the folks in St. Paul’s – of creating and maintaining jobs, and keeping the economy rolling.  If the “bubble” ever bursts, it’s the owners of these $2 million – $10 – million dollar homes who will need to create new businesses, downsize their homes and keep employing quality people and keeping the economy driving, so knowing this, Justine takes aim at pointless red tape which act as barriers to progress. 

Justine believes in fiscal responsibility, transparency and being accountable for the management of taxpayer dollars.  SCORE!
Being in real estate, Justine already has the proven experience of working in an industry where success is synonymous with trust, accountability and knowledge.  SCORE!
Fittingly, Justine served at Queen’s Park as a senior policy advisor for several Ministers in the Health and Long-Term Care and Citizenship, Culture and Recreation portfolios.  If you recall the demographics in the St. Paul’s riding, these were all key concerns among the community.Justine has volunteered and raised funds for a number of not-for-profit organizations in her community including, Project Sunshine, Home Horizon, the Royal Ontario Museum, The Power Plant Gallery and the True Patriot Love Foundation.  She has a particular interest in the issues of mental health, addictions and related research.Justine has a BA in French from the University of Western Ontario and an MBA from the University of Edinburgh. She also earned her Private Pilot’s Licence at an early age. She has lived in Toronto since 1987.
The current MPP is Dr. Eric Hoskins, and honestly, after living in the riding for 4-years and being as politically active as I am, I have yet to see Dr. Hoskins, except come election time.  I find his pamphlets to be self-promoting and rightly, he shy’s away from Kathleen Wynne  as much as possible.  The current, and 4th flyer received at my house is a letter-sized 4-page glossy with a full-size picture of the Doctor.  Without even having to open this, I can tell you what I will see inside;
Dr. Hoskins is a great guy.  He’s helped poor people overseas, he is involved in helping the poor and impoverished and he will have pictures of himself at events representing each and every demographic in our community.  There will be a picture of him at a synagogue, probably with Jewish men wearing kippot (because it’s the best way to distinguish these men from any other male, right?), and with a Philippino female, with a Jamaican man, and with seniors (usually women), children (all smiling of course) and with his family and probably one with Premier Wynne.  It’s his thing.  He’s a candidate for everyone!
But what has he accomplished in this community?  What has the last 3-years brought us, which would entice us to put an “x” by his name again?
I cannot think of anything, but according to his flyer he AND Premier Wynne have added nearly 500,000 net new jobs in Ontario.  Okay, but this riding has an unemployment rate at 2%, meaning this is just a statistic and otherwise unimportant.
Invested $295 million in a Youth Jobs Plan which has created over 11,000 jobs for the 2% unemployed in his riding where almost half of the people have a post-secondary degree and according to Statistics Canada live in a family with an average household income of almost $170,000.
Invested $15 billion in transit including the Eglinton LRT, which is an utter disaster just north of the St. Clair disaster which he watch unfold.  If Dr. Hoskins were to knock on doors and ask the community in HIS riding he would find out that people in HIS riding are fed up with the planning behind, the construction underway and the lack on direction given to the LRT – set to open in 2020, by the way – and are fed up with not being able to use their roads or leave their driveways without having to wait in a line-up of cars for 15 minutes.
Standing up for tenants and protecting their right to affordable rent in a riding where houses start at $1 million dollars, if they want to rent in this riding, they don’t need your “support”.
Standing up for seniors, and low-income residents by raising the minimum wage even though studies have shown that every cent increase in the minimum wage places small businesses in financial distress as already high property taxes, low community support and increasing costs across the board result in streets in his riding like Eglinton and St. Clair to be devoid of businesses which do not have the words “MASSAGE” glowing in neon come nightfall.  I guess it’s easier to buy a vote by offering more money to those in the community with the least.
Dr. Hoskins protects our environment in the riding of St. Paul’s because earlier this year the Liberal party put policies in place to end the use of coal to generate electricity.  So now every $10 million dollar house on the other side of Bathurst Street – the ones with the solar panels installed on them – are going to have to get rid of their coal fireplaces… Damn.  Too bad traffic gridlock on Eglinton an St. Clair have seen car emissions spike.
Dr. Hoskins vision includes this last item, “Responsible and sustainable community development with genuine community engagement”.  I’m not sure what that means, I mean, I do, but in reality, it’s a throwaway line saying very little.  Personally, I’d like to actually see Dr. Hoskins in the community other than at photo opportunities and I would like to see a political flyer tailored to the community – with successes for the community – and not a self-promoting piece of literature about his and Kathleen Wynne.
I think Dr. Hoskins has lost touch with what the job description is for a Member of Provincial Politics in the riding of St. Paul’s.  His policies are not aimed at the riding and none of his personal achievements warrants any votes for him from this riding, let alone the gift of representing our riding again for any length of time.
Sadly, I don’t think people in this riding take the time to see the damage done by the McGuinty / Wynne tandem.  They know the NDP are not right for Ontario (hello Bob Rae) and they compare Tim Hudek to Mike Harris because that is what the Liberals have to do in order to turn the attention away from their complete devastation of the province of Ontario.  Once a “have” province, now a “have not” province.
All things being considered, and with 3 underwhelming choices for Premier, think logically about what Ontarians did after Mike Harris cut, cleaned house and Ontario went on for years as a powerhouse.  They exercised their democratic right and voted in another party.
I think it’s time to exercise our democratic rights and send a very clear message to the Liberal Party in Ontario.
(Apologies to NDP candidate Luke Savage – he lost me when I saw he lives in the Annex – but he will get the left-vote but I have serious concerns that even with a Masters in political science, he cannot understand the complexities of this community and the way to handle the amount of wealth here without wanting to re-distribute it.)
Even bigger apology to Green Party candidate Josh Rachlis who commented below, and included a link to a song he wrote about St. Paul’s.  I strongly suggest you listen to the song and take a look at Josh’s platform.
The Green Party has always intrigued me because of the importance of keeping the planet healthy and keeping our food and water safe for consumption, however, I have always felt their policies were either poorly defined or an after thought.  After having a look at Josh’s platform, I no longer think that.
Aside from being very bright – I can pick that up just listening to Josh speak, I think if the playing field were even among parties, he would be right in the thick of things come election night.
The Green Platform includes:

1. Focus on your job by lowering payroll taxes for small businesses

2. Get you home faster by paying for the transit infrastructure we need

3. Invest in your home to help you save money by saving energy

4. Improve your children’s education by merging the public and separate school boards

5. Make good on our promises to address child poverty

6. Give young adults a chance to contribute to our world

7. Putting your food and water first by protecting farmland and water

8. Getting our fair share by making industry pay a fair price for our shared resources

9. Restore your confidence that our communities & natural heritage will not be damaged by development

I honestly have no idea what the first point entails and I worked at Revenue Canada (Canada Revenue Agency for 11 years, most of them handling payroll, and I believe the only reduction employers can make is to reduce the actual tax component of the payroll source deductions because a reduction in CPP reduces the amount employees have for retirement and a reduction in EI reduces the amount employees pay into the system, thus the amount they are able to take back out should they need to.

Numbers 2 and 3 are great, although a little vague, while number 4 is a brilliant idea to reduce costs and increase service.  Number 9 is also a great initiative.

So while I would like to see a little more detail in their platform, I believe the Green Party needs to take the next big step and either merge with an existing party, or force the issue and start getting candidates into parliament.

 

All-in-all, voting is your democratic right!  So get out there and vote!

Norwegian Cruise Lines Takes a Stand Against Racism. Tunisia No Longer a Port of Call.


Amazing.

Hats off to Norwegian Cruise Lines for their swift condemnation of the Tunisian Government for their last-minute decision to ban 20 Israeli travellers from disembarking the ship and entering Tunisia during a port of call.

Not was Norwegian Cruise Lines quick in their verbal condemnation, but they also notified the Tunisian government that they would no longer bring tourists to Tunisia on their cruises, as punishment for this narrow-minded clearly anti-Semitic decision.

Digging further, I discovered that they might be a visa situation in play here where visas are needed – or were needed – to allow Israelis to visit Tunisia and visa-versa, however, in this day and age, we are talking about 20 human beings who wanted to visit a country, shop in that country, and contribute to the economy of that country and if the government there can only see them as “Israeli” (and they could be Christian, Jewish or Arab Israeli) then they deserve the world’s scorn.

I do, however, wonder if this calls for a flotilla to Tunisia, or maybe the United Church of Canada, the largest Protestant church in Canada, who launched an official boycott of Israeli products because, “With these efforts, we join with many others striving to bring peace with justice to the Holy Land,” said United Church of Canada Moderator Gary Paterson. Maybe they want to boycott Tunisian products now because what’s fair is fair, right?

It’s not about the “Jewish people” but it’s about what is “fair”.

Here is a link to one of the many articles on this story.

http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/insideisrael/2014/March/Norwegian-Cruise-Line-Writes-Off-Tunisia/

Wordless Wednesday


When Hanukkah gets infiltrated by racists...

When Hanukkah gets infiltrated by racists…

Thursday Thirteen – My 13 Most Memorable Posts of my first 900 Posts.


So this is my 900th blog post here at The Urban Daddy.  

A lot has happened in the time it has taken me to write 900 posts here.  3 children, 8 years of marriage, a lot of education and thankfully, my writing has improved too.  I’ve noticed that people actually read stuff I have written and I’ve started a professional tax / management / social media blog which has just over 100 posts on it, so I won’t bore all of you with that kind of yucky stuff here.

This post was actually ready last Monday, but I decided to wait until Thursday so I could capitalize on the Thursday Thirteen theme, but along the way I got my ass thoroughly kicked by a flu which has been slowly rolling through our household.  My son Stewie started with it – received an anti-biotic – and still 5 weeks later coughs like a chain-smoker.  Then my wife and daughter got hit around the same time, Boo had horribly goopy and runny eyes and had trouble sleeping at night.  My wife, the woman who laughs off strep throat, had it and tried to rest where possible but both of them still cough and sniffle 4 weeks later.  

As for me… It killed me.  I’m on day 8, 5 of those days without a voice which has never happened to me before, and for three of those days my head is stuffed and I cannot hear out of my left ear.  It throws off my balance.  But the coughing is the worst and at times I felt like I was going to herniate another disc in my back.  I think my abs might be in better shape after this, to be honest, but I’ve been pretty useless for over a week – fever, chills, sweats, exhausted… I’m so done with being sick.

So instead of letting another day fly by, I am tossing up this post, which is a list of the 13 most memorable posts to me, on this blog.  I hope you will take some time and check back to some of the earlier ones to see how much has changed along the way.

So please sit back, turn the calendar back to 2004, and be prepared to read the 13 most memorable posts to this Urban Daddy of his first 900 posts.

1) This is my first post on this blog.  Have to start somewhere, right.

http://urbandaddy.wordpress.com/2004/02/28/what-happened-in-february-that-may-come-back-to-haunt-the-world-in-the-future/

2) Linus was born and we missed a major world tragedy in the process.  Had to write about it.

http://urbandaddy.wordpress.com/2004/12/28/we-had-a-baby-while-the-world-suffered/

3)  The re-birth of my blog and my first angry rant at the TTC and other stupidities.  I got great feedback on this post and it gave me confidence to be myself online, to blog smartly and continue to point out how much I detest stupidity.

http://urbandaddy.wordpress.com/2006/05/29/ttc-the-betterway/

4) My first Thursday Thirteen from way back in 2006.  (Loved the templates back then).

 http://urbandaddy.wordpress.com/2006/06/16/thursday-thirteen-i-hope/

5) Owie!!!  Our kitten arrived and back then it seemed like a great introduction to the family.  Now my kids look at that kitten, then look over at the adult-sized cat on the couch and wonder how that happened.  “Did Owie eat that little kitten?”

http://urbandaddy.wordpress.com/2006/06/21/whew/

6) I reposted this speech from the United Nations, an organization I believe is corrupt, useless and anti-Israel and by doing this I pretty much came out as being Jewish – something I had not really done before just because I didn’t feel like fielding comments from bigots and racists.  Since that powerful post, and I hope that you do read this post, I have posted more and more as a means to educate people and to continue to stand up for what is right, just and fair. 

http://urbandaddy.wordpress.com/2006/08/04/very-powerful-speech/

7) Child #2 Arrives!  Hello Stewie.

http://urbandaddy.wordpress.com/2006/10/09/its-a-boy/

8) First post about me…  I guess in always hiding behind a name, it was easy to never post about myself, but this post changed everything.  Since this post, I even got a name; Warren.

http://urbandaddy.wordpress.com/2006/11/02/thursday-thirteen-8/

9) I posted about the day I completed my graduate school for my MBA which I started 3 days after Linus was born.  Work… School… Children.  Exhaustion.  It was a great ride, a ton of work and an opportunity to finally leave the government for the private sector.  I owe my wife and family a ton of gratitude for putting up with me studying while at the cottage, late nights at the kitchen table and for being downright cranky and surely during the process.  I also got a ton of A’s and a couple A+’s which I had never achieved before so that was sweet too.

http://urbandaddy.wordpress.com/2007/12/18/i-am-so-done/

10) This was my first “overheard on a Monday” post where I realized after a couple years that if I arrived at the office before 7:30am, that I could listen to my two neighbours talk about their weekends.  I used to tune them out and get right to work until one day I realized they were talking nonsense, something about double-reverse osmosis, so I called them on it – brought in my wife the chemistry teacher to back me up, and from there I had gems for my blog like no one else.  These are must read posts, as well.

http://urbandaddy.wordpress.com/2008/06/17/overheard-on-a-monday-returns/

11) The First Urban Daddy Official Canadian Coffee Shop Rankings.  I’m on year 4 currently and have received feedback and Twitter love from all the main chains, Country Style, Starbucks Canada, Java Joes, Tim Hortons and Timothy’s.

http://urbandaddy.wordpress.com/2009/01/14/urban-daddys-coffee-shop-rankings-2009/

12) Boo is born!  Insert huge sigh of relief that this one is a girl, and please book the vasectomy appointment…

http://urbandaddy.wordpress.com/2009/11/27/its-a-girl/

13) My absolutely most popular post ever.  On the Ontario election.  My views on this post were 10000% more than any other post, and some of my comments were tweeted along the live election feed of CP24.  I felt engaged.  Now, however, that total mocks me, as I get closer and closer to it, but it will be a long time before I can reach it again.

http://urbandaddy.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/undecided-not-sure-who-to-vote-for-in-the-ontario-election-you-must-read-this/

Thank you for being along for the first 900, and I look forward to many more posts and some great comments and contributions from all of you.

Honourable mentions:

My many posts on the Canadian Live-in Caregiver Program.

My series of posts on IVF, highlighted below for their critical importance in this day and age;

http://urbandaddy.wordpress.com/2011/09/27/why-is-in-vitro-fertilization-not-an-issue-in-the-2011-ontario-provincial-election/

http://urbandaddy.wordpress.com/2011/09/30/so-why-the-interest-in-ivf/ 

http://urbandaddy.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/for-liberal-health-minister-deb-matthews-an-ivf-true-and-false/

http://urbandaddy.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/in-vitro-fertilization-funding-saves-taxpayers-money-why-does-only-quebec-get-it/

http://urbandaddy.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/ivf-part-2-provincial-funding-of-ivf-and-infertility-are-needed-addressing-reader-emails/

http://urbandaddy.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/ivf-funding-in-canada-infertility-impact-on-grandparents/

A little about Yom Kippur: Wishing you an easy fast.


Kol Nidrei prayer of Yom Kippur

Kol Nidrei prayer of Yom Kippur.

If you are observing Yom Kippur, I wish you an easy fast, and if you are seeing this after the day has finished, then may you be inscribed in the book of life for another year.

Note:  This is a scheduled post done before the day… I’m probably still in synagogue starting to get hungry while asking for forgiveness.

So what does this all mean???

Let’s start with the traditional greeting for Yom Kippur;

gamar hatimah tovah” — “A good completion to your inscription (in the book of life).”

gamar tov,” – “A good completion.”

shanah tovah” – “A good year.”

tzom kal” – ” Have an easy fast.”

Yom Kippur is probably the most important holiday of the Jewish year, and not a happy one, so saying Happy Yom Kippur is not applicable.

A little more about Yom Kippur:  This holiday is observed by the most amount of Jewish people, even those who do not observe the other customs or holidays and during this day, we refrain from work, we fast and attend synagogue services for the day.

The name “Yom Kippur” means “Day of Atonement,” and on this holiday we atone for the sins of the past year.  On Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year which arrives just before this holiday, G-d inscribes all of our names in the book of life and on Yom Kippur, the judgment entered in these books is sealed.  Yom Kippur is, essentially, the last appeal, or last chance to change G-d’s judgment, and to demonstrate repentance and make amends with those you have knowingly or unknowingly hurt or offended during the year.

Yom Kippur is a complete 25-hour fast beginning before sunset on the evening before Yom Kippur – called Kol Nidre – and ending after the sun goes down on the day of Yom Kippur. There are some lesser known restrictions on this day aside from work and eating / drinking, such as wearing cosmetics or deodorants, wearing leather shoes – canvas sneakers are very common – and engaging in sexual relations are all prohibited on Yom Kippur.

As always, any of these restrictions can be lifted where a threat to life or health is involved. In fact, children under the age of 13 and women who are in childbirth or are breastfeeding are not permitted to fast, even if they want to. Older children are permitted to fast, but are permitted to break the fast if they feel the need to do so.

Most of the holiday is spent in the synagogue, in prayer.  Services begin early in the morning and continue until about 3pm. People then usually go home for an afternoon nap and return around 5pm for the afternoon and evening services, which continue until sundown.  After sundown families and friends get together to break the fast and enjoy a meal together.

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