Our MPP’s year in review

It has been a year of new beginnings. A year ago, I was honoured to be elected by you to represent our community at Queen’s Park.  A little over a month later, I welcomed my first child into the world. In that time I have been working tirelessly at Queen’s Park and in our community for positive change.

I am proud to stand up for you, and now my son Aleksandar, who reminds me every day of why it is important to build a better future for all of us.

This past year, we’ve come together often at Town Halls I’ve hosted on fairer auto insurance, such as my bill that would have reduced premiums by a billion dollars, and on fighting the cuts to education, autism funding and this government’s bill that will now allow developers to build with little community input and benefits to neighbourhoods. We have connected at local events and meetings, parent-teachers councils, seniors’ groups and more. We’ve shared our ideas, voiced concerns, signed petitions, and I’ve brought them all to Queen’s Park. I am proud of what we’ve done together.

It is important that our students understand how important their role in our community is.  As such, I have created an annual Youth Community Leadership Award for ‘civic engagement’ which I have had the pleasure of giving to many students at the 30+ graduation ceremonies in our riding. My office and I also actively participate in the Humber River-Black Creek Youth Council, which now meets regularly to discuss issues within our province and city. These are our future leaders and I am very proud of doing what I can to encourage them.

The legislature has risen for the summer, I will continue to knock on doors, attend our local events and meetings, and assisting you when you need me. You can reach my office at 416-743-7272 or email at TRakocevic-CO@ndp.on.ca, and keep up to date by following me on Twitter at @RakocevicT and on Facebook. 

I wish you all a safe and happy summer!

New bill from Ontario Government gives even more power to developers

By the time you are reading this article, Doug Ford’s Conservatives will have passed yet another bill that will inflict long-term damage on the City of Toronto.

Bill 108 will bring back the planning powers of the OMB over local development, allow developers to threaten endangered species just by paying an extra fee, dramatically weaken heritage protection, and prevent municipalities from using inclusionary zoning bylaws to make sure new developments include affordable homes.

This bill will effectively reduce — and in some cases fully eliminate — community input into local planning decisions. At the same time, it will shortchange new residents, by choking off funding for parks, libraries, community centres, day-care spaces and other services that new neighbourhoods depend on.

The Ford government is giving his developer friends a huge gift, and making everyone else pay for it.

The developer-friendly bill is being rammed through Queen’s Park in less than a month, with only a single day of consultation at committee, giving residents of Ontario little time to respond or fully understand what it will mean.

On May 28, I presented the details of this bill to a packed crowd at St. Roch’s parish, where I was joined by panelists City Councillor Anthony Perruzza, former city councillor and current TRCA Board Member Maria Augimeri and Humber Summit Homeowner Association President Grant Evers. Residents were shocked to hear that the premier would prioritize developer profits over the rights of communities.

The topic on whether a community has say on what is built in their neighbourhood should not be a political one. It is not about right and left; it is about right and wrong.

If you want to help me pressure the conservative government to scrap Bill 108, email me at TRakocevic-CO @ndp.on.ca or call me at 416-743-7272.

Lower Auto Insurance Rates Act defeated by Conservatives

On April 18, 2019, my bill entitled “The Lower Automobile Insurance Rates Act” was debated at Queen’s Park and defeated by the Conservative Government.

Driving in Ontario means one must purchase auto insurance.  The most frustrating is that while Ontario drivers have the least accidents per capita, we pay some of the most expensive premiums in the country.  This is especially true for our community here, Humber River Black Creek.

I have fought this issue for many years, I hosted town halls, wrote articles and conducted research that demonstrated that the roads of our community do not have the highest rate of collisions or vehicular crime.

In late 2018, I hosted a local town hall at St. Basil-the-Great College School to bring details on an NDP Private Member’s Bill that would have treated all GTA postal codes as one when setting insurance rates.  This bill would have lowered auto insurance rates in our community, but was defeated by the Conservative Government.

My bill, the Lower Automobile Insurance Rates Act, was crafted in consultation with Dr. Fred Lazar of the Schulich School of Business, an economist and expert on auto insurance.  His widely publicized research demonstrated that Ontarians were overpaying insurance companies by an estimated $1 billion a year.

This bill would have reduced the excessive profit margin auto insurance companies seek when setting premiums, reduced their operating costs (which includes their marketing, commercials and legal fees when fighting against paying out claims), and increased transparency, especially in the area of setting rates based on postal code.  On April 3, I hosted a packed town hall update meeting at Driftwood Community Centre to share the details of my bill, and received strong support from those present.

Unfortunately, the Conservative Government voted down this bill with one Conservative Member of Provincial Parliament going as far to say, “What’s wrong with racking up profits?”

The issue of auto insurance reform is not going away, and I will continue to keep up the pressure because Ontario’s drivers deserve respect.