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LIFE: Unsung heroes of Uni-Rose feted (Jan. 2020)

January 31st, 2020 · No Comments

MPP Bell hosts community appreciation celebration

Multi-generational activists Roy Bateman, Malina Fritz-Schwarts (on behalf of Allie Rougeot), Betty Robinson, and Zoe Keary-Matzner with MPP Jessica Bell. NICOLE STOFFMAN/GLEANER NEWS

By Nicole Stoffman

A ninety-seven-year-old named Betty Robinson and a thirteen-year-old named Zoe Keary-Matzner have more in common than you might think. Both are residents of the University-Rosedale riding, both are a little headstrong, and both have been recognized for the impact they are defiantly trying to make.

An annual Community Celebration at the Cecil Community Centre honoured Robinson, Keary-Matzner, and a host of other local activists for their work with a Middle Eastern-style buffet catered by the Free Times Café and a live jazz performance by Alex Seredenko. MPP Jessica Bell spoke about the issues each honoree is fighting for. Each one then joined Ms. Bell onstage to receive their certificate of recognition to sustained applause. 

“It’s a very decent and community-minded thing to do to eat dinner together and recognize these people are unsung heroes,” said Bell. “The people we are recognizing tonight don’t get quoted in the Toronto Star. They are the people that make a difference in their own small and special way.”

Robinson is currently the only remaining tenant at Davenhill Senior Living. All other residents moved out after a numbered company purchased the building that housed the seniors’ home and began to remove care services such as nursing and meals. Still able to live independently, Mrs. Robinson has hired her own caregivers and is visited daily by her daughter, Dianne.

MPP Bell, who is now fighting on Robinson’s behalf, explains what’s at stake.

“Private retirement homes should not be able to force residents out without a formal eviction process by suddenly cutting off the vital services that these seniors rely upon and pay for,” she says. 

If Robinson and Bell get their way, care services will be included in the Residential Tenancies Act.

The case also prompted Bell and her office to educate Davenhill residents about how eviction works in Ontario. A tenant can be evicted only if it is authorized by a hearing at the Landlord and Tenant Board. In the meantime, Davenhill has signed an ongoing tenancy agreement with Mrs. Robinson. 

Zoe Keary-Matzner is one of seven applicants suing the Government of Ontario for weakening the province’s climate targets, claiming their Charter Rights to life, liberty, and security of the person are being violated. 

“If we take action, it will set an example for other places around the world to take action as well,” explains Zoe.

Miss Keary-Matzner’s case is backed by Ecojustice in response to the Ford Government’s revised 2030 climate target under the Cap and Trade Cancellation Act, 2018. 

The case aims to compel Ontario to set a Greenhouse Gas Emissions reduction target in line with what science says will limit global warming to 1.5C by mid-century. This could mean raising Ontario’s new GHG reduction target of 30% below 2005 levels by 2030 to 45% below 2010 levels by 2030, as the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has suggested. 

Ecojustice is not, however, asking for a specific percentage when it comes to a revised emissions target in Ontario. 

Miss Keary-Matzner, along with Allie Rougeot and Roy Bateman, were recognized for their climate action leadership. These youth are among the very first to participate in the monthly Fridays for Future climate rallies at Queen’s Park, which have grown from hundreds to thousands in the space of a year. From the youngest to the most senior, our riding’s activists have shown tremendous courage. The Community Celebration was an opportunity to take a moment to honour the work that has been done. With five times more nominees than could be recognized, it surely won’t be the last.


An earlier version incorrectly identified Ms. Bell as MP Bell instead of MPP Bell. The Gleaner regrets the error.

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