My son’s daycare is close to where I live in Toronto-Danforth.  Recently when I picked him up after work, one of the centre’s energetic and dedicated  staff asked me to sign a petition protesting the City of Toronto’s proposed cuts to funding for childcare—and  I gladly added my name to the petition.

 

The City is proposing deep cuts despite the fact that 4 out of 5 children in Ontario are already left out of licensed childcare, and despite the known positive economic and social impacts of high quality early childhood education and care.

 

Unfortunately, funding cuts to child care are not new –shortly after becoming Prime Minister, Stephen Harper eliminated the National Childcare Program, cutting 5 billion dollars in funding.  Funding problems are a serious problem across the country.

 

Not only is this bad social policy, it is bad economic policy!

 

Studies have shown that investing in early childhood education and care:

  • improves economic competitiveness;
  • results in high economic and social returns such as increased adult productivity;
  • supports women’s education, training, and participation in the workforce; and
  • contributes to strong local economies through local job creation and spending.

 

The provinces have a key role to play in ensuring availability, affordability, and quality in childcare. But the federal government also needs to step up to the plate.  A Canada-wide childcare and early learning program is long overdue and has to become one our top priorities as a nation.  We need to invest in infrastructure in communities like Toronto-Danforth to support the growth of child care spaces and ensure there’s more availability.

I know firsthand how difficult it can be to find affordable child care. If given the opportunity to represent my community of Toronto-Danforth in Parliament I will fight to ensure that the federal government works cooperatively with other levels of government to put our children and our communities first. Canada deserves to reap the economic benefits that come with smart investments in early childhood learning and so do our kids.

MEDIA RELEASE
For Immediate Release
December 11, 2011
Activist Lawyer Justin Duncan bids for NDP nomination in Toronto-Danforth
Local champion for change hopes to move from the Courtroom to Parliament
TORONTO – Longtime environmental advocate and public interest lawyer Justin Duncan announced today that he is seeking the nomination for the New Democratic Party in Toronto-Danforth. Duncan lives in the riding and has been an active champion for positive change.
“As a lawyer with Canada’s leading environmental law organization, I have been a champion for change both in and out of the courtroom,” said Duncan. “Now I feel it is time to take my advocacy skills and focus my energy on becoming a champion for my community politically.”
Support is rolling in from environmental advocates across the country, including Linda Duncan, Alberta’s lone NDP MP in Edmonton-Strathcona.  “I fully support Justin Duncan’s bid for the NDP nomination in Toronto-Danforth and look forward to working with him as a fellow MP,” said the unrelated Linda Duncan, Official Opposition Critic for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, and former NDP Environment Critic.
Duncan’s career has been dedicated to fighting to protect the health of communities.  His casework has included precedent-setting lawsuits that have protected endangered species, forced polluters to publicly report the messes they make, and a landmark lawsuit defending the rights of First Nation members that have seen their community devastated by industrial pollution.
“While there have been many victories to savor, one of the most satisfying cases in my career was defending the City of Toronto’s pesticide bylaw,” added Duncan. “It was a case that demonstrated the health of our communities can trump corporate interests – and it has had an impact in the area I live, and across the country.”
Endorsements for Duncan from community health leaders include Dr. James Brophy, University of Windsor, a workers’ health advocate and former Executive Director, Occupational Health Clinic for Ontario Workers.
“Justin Duncan has been an outstanding advocate for First Nations and promoting environmental rights,” said Brophy. “He is principled and committed to public health and human rights. I fully endorse his nomination.”
As an NDP nominee in Toronto-Danforth, Duncan is dedicated to improving access to education and childcare, strengthening public transit, increasing public housing, and ensuring immigration policy is fair.
“I will further Jack’s inspiring vision to build on the NDP’s successes on social justice, universal health care, public pensions and making sure no one is left behind,” said Duncan. “I believe that we can have greater equality, a more just society and a greener, healthier future for all Canadians.”
Duncan grew up in the Niagara region and has lived in Toronto for the past decade. He has a 4 year-old son who attends public school and daycare in Toronto-Danforth, and his favourite colour is orange.
For more information, please visit justinduncan.ca or contact:
Justin Duncan, cell: 647-865-9364, email: jd@justinduncan.ca

Since I decided to seek the NDP nomination in the Toronto-Danforth riding where I live and work, I’ve
been overwhelmed with the level of support I’ve received!

I am immersed in campaigning and it’s exciting already. Mostly it’s the encouragement I’m getting
from people that is making me determined. I know that I can be a strong advocate in Parliament for our
vibrant riding of Toronto-Danforth.

In the last week, a lot of people have asked me why I want to be a Member of Parliament. For me,
the answer is simple: I believe in my community and in working to make it a better place to live, work,
and play. I want government to act responsibly so that my son grows up in a Canada whose economic
growth is in harmony with the environment. I want to make Canada a country in which no one gets left
behind.

The principles I want to bring to Parliament are the same ones that brought me to become a lawyer
and work for Ecojustice – Canada’s leading not-for-profit environmental law organization. I believe it’s
important to stand up for what is fair and just. I’ve worked for almost a decade to enforce the law and
hold polluters to account. Canada has many environmental laws that are weak and poorly enforced.
I’d love a chance to help turn that around by working with other Members of Parliament in Ottawa. I’m
not just a single-issue candidate, though. I want people to know that I’m just as committed to fairness
and equity in other important issues for Toronto-Danforth– creating jobs, balancing the federal budget,
protecting public services and programs that Canadians rely on, and making targeted investments in our
economy to stimulate growth.

I am looking forward to spending the coming weeks getting to know more people in my community
and talking to them about the issues matter most. Jack Layton, our former Member of Parliament as
well as leader of the NDP, created a strong legacy of justice and fairness, and I want to do what I can to
bring hope and optimism to Parliament, standing up for the issues that matter most to the people in our
community.