By Goldie Ghamari, MPP for Carleton
I was extremely honoured to be a guest at the Royal Canadian Legion South Carleton Branch 314 recently. The Legion presented awards to 25 students from the area who were the winners in their annual Poster and Literary Contest, which is part of their Youth Education Program.
A number of the winners I met were from Manotick, Kars, North Gower, Riverside South, Findlay Creek and throughout the Carleton riding.
In the contest, students are challenged to exercise their creativity and submit a poster on the theme of Remembrance in either colour or black and white.
This is a contest to select the most suitable posters submitted by students in the Canadian school system.
The posters are judged at the local Branch and then at the Provincial level. The Provincial winners in the Primary, Junior, Intermediate and Senior categories will then be submitted to Ottawa for judging at the Legion National Foundation level.
A plaque was awarded to the first place winner in each category, and to the first place winners’ schools.
On notification of having been selected as a winner at the Legion National Foundation level, the artist agrees to the full and exclusive non-profit use of the art work by the Legion National Foundation and The Royal Canadian Legion for the period of one year, after which all rights for usage revert to the artist.
I was thoroughly impressed by the quality of the work the students produced, and the emotional depth of the artwork, poems and essays. Their work reflects the heroics and sacrifices of generations of Canadians who fought hard to make Canada the best country in the world. While the eras of world war are further in the mirror each and every year, contests like the Legion’s Youth Education Program bridges that widening gap and keeps the youth of today engaged in our history.
I am very proud of our winners, and also very proud of all students who took the time to participate in this wonderful contest.
High School Funding
Last month, I was at a community event in Riverside South, and I was surprised when a resident of the community asked me why the province was delaying the funding of the new public high school.
The Riverside South public high school had been approved in 2020. However, the opening of the school had been delayed due to COVID-19, which brought with it a shortage in skilled tradesmen and an increase in the cost of materials.
The resident said that the school board had informed parents that the delay was caused by the increase in the cost of the school. They also said the lack of funding could back the opening of the school up by yet another year. Unfortunately, no one from the school board reached out to me regarding this problem.
I contacted the Ministry of Education as soon as I found out about this issue. Within 24 hours, the updated funding for the new cost of the school was approved. The Riverside South public high school should be moving forward as planned.
Ontario Combats Hate to Create Safer Communities
The Ontario government is investing $25.5 million over two years to help address the rise of hate incidents against religious and minority groups. The new Anti-Hate Security and Prevention Grant will help faith-based and cultural organizations enhance or implement measures to ensure community spaces remain safe and secure.
The grant will provide up to $10,000 to help religious groups, Indigenous communities and cultural communities better protect and secure their facilities from hate-motivated incidents, graffiti, vandalism or other damage. Grant funding can be used for things such as building upgrades, enhancing locks, installing cameras, training staff, completing security assessments, introducing safer cybersecurity measures, hiring short-term professional security personnel and making repairs.
Since 2021, the government has allocated $40 million through the Ontario Grant to Support Anti-Hate Security Measures for Faith-Based and Cultural Organizations. The redesigned Anti-Hate Security and Prevention Grant will now cover the cost of additional prevention and capacity building measures, and allows for more organizations to apply.
Eligible organizations include:
- Religious and spiritual communities (e.g., mosques, synagogues, temples, churches, etc.)
- First Nations, Inuit, Métis, and urban Indigenous organizations
- Cultural groups (e.g., 2SLGBTQQIA+ groups, Black, Asian and other diverse organizations offering programs, workshops and ceremonies that promote their communities’ cultures)
- Applications for the Anti-Hate Security and Prevention Grant will open in summer 2023.
- Indigenous, Black, Muslim, Jewish and 2SLGBTQQIA+ communities have been among the most targeted groups of hate crimes in recent years. There were more than 1,500 police-reported hate crimes in Ontario in 2021.
- The Ontario Grant to Support Anti-Hate Security Measures for Faith-Based and Cultural Organizations provided funding to more than 1,200 faith-based and cultural organizations to protect communities against hate.
- Ontario invested an additional $1.6 million in the Anti-Racism Anti-Hate Grant to support 24 additional projects. Through this grant, the Province has supported a total of 82 community projects to increase public education and awareness of the impacts of racism and hate.
- The Ontario government is investing more than $1.5 million through the 2022-2024 Safer and Vital Communities Grant program. This funding will help 17 community-based, not-for-profit organizations and First Nations Chiefs and Band Councils, support projects that prevent online hate crime, human trafficking and fraud.
My office is open Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4 pm. If you require assistance on any matter, please contact me at any time. My staff and I will be happy to assist. Even if it’s not a provincial issue, I’ll make sure to connect you with the proper office.
Your voice at Queen’s Park
Featured Image: MPP Goldie Ghamari recognized the 25 winners in the Youth Education Program’s art and literary contest. Greg Newton photo