OHIP-funded physio now in Mississauga
Mississauga residents had legitimate issues with access to OHIP-funded physiotherapy services:
- How come I have to go outside Mississauga to get my physiotherapy when I could get physio close to me if I lived in Hamilton?
- In our retirement home, there’s an outfit that claims to be delivering physiotherapy services, but all we’re getting is five minutes of exercise classes;
- Can my aging parents get falls-prevention classes here in Mississauga?
Physiotherapy services and how they were delivered needed change, and got it. OHIP-funded physiotherapy is now available in Mississauga, including at 2300 Eglinton Avenue West, near the Credit Valley Valley Hospital and at the medical building at 6855 Meadowvale Town Centre Circle in Meadowvale . For more information, click here, or go to Issues > Physiotherapy on the menu. There is lots of information on the Ontario Ministry of Health web site.
A day for everyone to be Irish
A century ago, to be one of Canada’s visible minorities was to be Irish, or to be descended from the Irish. With fair and freckled skin, red hair, strange accents and a religion few understood and trusted, the Irish blazed the trail to today’s multiculturalism. Today, some 50 million people in North America are descended from the shipborne refugees from the successive potato crop failures of the Ireland of the mid-19th century.
As with most nations whose history is heavy with tragedy, the Irish have a well-developed culture of poetry, song and humour. Click here for my 2014 St. Patrick’s Day greeting on YouTube. This is the traditional Irish blessing.
A scam alert from a friend
Meadowvale Chartered Account Paul Keul from S+C Partners has been a regular presenter at the Mississauga Post-Budget breakfasts for years, providing an independent, tax practitioner’s view of the Ontario Budget. Paul sent me an e-mail with his personal experience dealing with a scam attempt by an individual purporting to be from the “CRA.” Click here to read the details, and be aware in case you get a phone call like Paul got. This is not from the Canada Revenue Agency. Circulate this posting to your friends too.
More nurses employed in Ontario
Every so often, our office receives questions containing assertions that don’t seem to mesh with reality. So we do our homework (as Mayor Hazel would say), and look up the facts before we get back to the residents who contacted us. One such assertion that doesn’t pass the truth test is the claim that Ontario nursing positions are somehow being cut. So we looked up the numbers.
|Employed in Nursing in Ontario||2003||2011||2012||2013||Change 2012-13||Change 2003-13|
|Registered Practical Nurses||25,739||31,419||32,850||35,286||7.4%||37.1%|
No question about it. Ontario kept its promise to hire more nurses.
Why would the Province not act compassionately?
In the years since he has been Managing Editor of the Mississauga News, I have dealt respectfully and professionally with Gerry Timbers, and in return, I have been treated fairly by our local paper. That’s not to say we agree; we sometimes don’t. And I met with Gerry to disagree strongly with the paper’s editorial on food cards in its January 8th issue.
I responded to the Mississauga News editorial, and I think my letter will be printed. Here is what I said in response:
Letter to the Editor
The editorial in the January 8 edition of the Mississauga News on food cards reads like a repetition of schoolyard hearsay. The talk radio shows and other media may be full of simplistic right-wing slogans. It’s said that for every complex and difficult problem, there is a solution that is simple, obvious and wrong! We expect our own newspaper to verify its facts before pronouncing judgment on Ontario’s response to the December ice storm.
Why should “not a cent of public money” have gone toward helping the poor, the elderly, or those on social assistance when the major damage most of them had suffered in the ice storm power outages was spoiled food? Governments set aside reserve funds for exactly such compassionate purposes. Your suggestion that only the private sector ought to have responded, and food banks with no idea who was or was not affected, nor any means of assessing who was or was not eligible ought to have been the distribution agents is unworkable PC Party rubbish!
The private sector contributed food cards only because the Province organized it, and leveraged public money with private funds. PC governments of the past didn’t respond during power outages when people needed help. Peel Region only had the grocery cards because the Province organized a response without precedent within days, and during the Christmas holidays at that. Take an editorial position that no good deed ought to go unpunished if you wish, but make it an original Mississauga one, and not a comment influenced by Tea Party slogans. Readers deserved better on this occasion.
The Mississauga ice storm reality
Enersource’s briefing is worth quoting. Here are some highlights. Mississauga’s first power outage was at 12:26 a.m. on Sunday December 22nd, when trees made contact with a 44kV primary line out of Churchill Meadows substation, taking 9,100 customers out of service. Trees and branches falling on primary and secondary wires, along with transformers failing caused more outages.
Enersource focused first on public safety, then on the biggest power outages. Damage was widespread, and extra crews and supervisors were called in. By Monday December 23rd at 3:30 p.m., there were 12 areas without power affecting 500 customers. On Christmas Eve, additional trees broke, and there were 1,000 customers out of power for a time. For a few hours, some areas in Streetsville were without power. It was quickly restored.
Enersource crews continued to work 16-hour days through the Christmas break, and restored power to Mississauga homes during this time. From December 27th to 29th, available linemen were sent to Hydro One Brampton to assist with storm damage. Enersource estimates the cost for restoration and cleanup due to the ice storm at just more than $1 million.
To qualify for food cards
Eligible recipients for food cards had to live in areas that had been without power for 48 continuous hours. This does not appear to have been the case in Mississauga. As well, eligible recipients needed to have been of limited financial means, and to have lost food due to spoilage through the power outage.
Some things you may not know about Ontario’s economy
- Did you know that Ontario has never missed a deficit reduction target from the bottom of the recession to now on the way back to a balanced budget?
- Did you know that Ontario’s public service has the fewest people, and is the lowest-cost per capita in Canada?
- Did you know that no other state or province makes more motor vehicles than does Ontario, and that all the loans and guarantees the Province made to General Motors and Chrysler have been repaid in full, with interest?
I wrote an article that might interest you with some factual information just in case somebody repeats some of the usual nonsense from the latest open-mouth radio show. Read it by clicking here.
Just a brief note to thank you for your visit yesterday AND the Premier for choosing our school as one of her Accepting Schools Awards recipients. We are still on Cloud 9 here at St. Joe’s!!
We also pledge to continue our work to make our school community a safe, caring and inclusive place for all our family members!!
Food card and power restoration information
Here is some information you may want to forward to anyone you may know who needs it. Long before the December pre-Christmas winter ice storm, I had met with Enersource and discussed coordination of information and communications in the event of a power outage affecting Mississauga. Back in July, we were able to get information to residents about power restoration during the rain storm last summer. More importantly, Enersource learned some valuable lessons about making information available, and keeping their web site updated and able to deal with a surge of activity.
Mississauga residents were not as heavily hit by the pre-Christmas power outage as were those in Toronto. According to Enersource, no areas in Lisgar, Meadowvale and Streetsville were without power for 48 hours or more. Brampton had pockets where residents were without power for several days, and there was some extended power outage in Caledon.
MPPs were kept informed of the repair and restoration progress throughout the power outage. Here in western Mississauga, we had a few areas without power for periods of a few hours to a day in duration. The centre of Brampton was harder hit, with a longer power outage, and some areas of Brampton went without electricity for a few days as Enersource crews worked to restore service.
In Toronto, the Province and the private sector set up a food gift card program to assist residents who had been without power and had lost food due to spoilage. The gift card distribution was possible through the generosity of Ontario’s corporate sector, particularly grocery stores, working with the province to quickly deliver food aid to those most in need. Setting up a distribution system through Ontario Works offices during the Christmas holiday period, some $500,000 in food gift cards were distributed to more than 5,000 (mostly) Toronto families and individuals. This aimed to assist needy families to help replace food lost due to the ice storm. Additional cards continue to flow into 15 Ontario Works offices for distribution. I have asked the Province that some of these cards be held for distribution in Peel Region, pending meetings of both the Mississauga and Brampton City Councils this week.
How residents qualify for food cards for lost food
- You must live in an area that was without electricity for at least 48 hours;
- You will need government-issued identification to attest to your place of residence;
- You must sign a written declaration that you do not have the means or insurance coverage to replace the lost food;
- The card distribution will be handled by the Region of Peel, pending decisions on how to handle the distribution by the cities of Brampton and Mississauga.
To date, more than 12,000 gift cards have been distributed, mostly in the City of Toronto, which was hardest hit by the ice storm. Corporate donors for this initiative include Loblaw, Shoppers Drug Mart, Metro, Sobeys, Bruce Power, Costco, Northland Power, Louie Coppa Family, CUPE Local 416 and the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
Residents in areas without power for 48 hours or more, and who may have had food spoiled if they were without power for some time should first contact their insurance companies to find out about their existing home owner’s policy for coverage and compensation for lost food.
In Mississauga, the Ontario Works office is located at 7120 Hurontario Street, just north of Derry Road. Click here for a map. The phone number is (905) 793-9200. The two city councils will issue further information after they have met this week.
New Year’s Day 2014 skate with Bob, Brad and George
It’s has been a Christmas where Lisgar, Meadowvale and Streetsville have lost many lovely and stately trees. Fortunately, our power outages were short in duration. Enersource Hydro Mississauga was prompt with both information and service. By New Year’s Day, the days are getting longer with each sunset. Lots of kids and/or grandkids blew off some steam, got some exercise and tried out their new Christmas skates in western Mississauga’s annual New Year’s Free Skate.
The Streetsville government team: me, MP Brad Butt and Councillor George Carlson continued our tradition of the annual New Year’s Day free skate at Vic Johnston Arena in Streetsville.
We raised some money and food for the Eden Food Bank, and got to see our neighbours for a while. Brad and I took people for a spin around the rink, and George, sporting his #11 Mississauga St. Mike’s Majors (adapted for the city) chatted outside the ice surface area. Have a happy 2014 everyone. Thanks to the few hundred people who came out to skate or watch the kids enjoy the ice.
A true ‘bucket-list’ Christmas memory
In a melee in front of my net, surrounded by ex-Leafs Mark Osborne and Gary Leeman, a wrister from the left circle is headed for the top left corner of the net, except — I stuck out my trapper hand, and picked that Dmitri Mironov wrist shot out of the air! Not a figment of a winter reverie, this actually happened!
Let’s start at the beginning.
Back last April, the gang at Vic Johnston Arena invited me to both drop the opening puck at the Ontario Midget-A championships, held in Streetsville, and also to come out with my equipment, and take some warm-up shots prior to the opening game. The host team was the Lorne Park Ojibway, where I met Lorne Park Hockey Association President Mike Doyle. I met ‘my team,’ after I had changed in the referees’ room, and gave them a locker room pep talk.
Following the singing of the national anthem, MP Brad Butt, Ward 11 Councillor George Carlson and I brought our respective greetings, I in full equipment. I shook hands with the players on both teams. Then they rolled back the red carpets, and warm-ups began. I took two rounds of warmup shots shots with each of the two teams in the tournament’s opening game.
Warm-up meant that taking shots from 17-year-olds was little more than an artillery barrage from the blue line. If you’re standing in the right place, legs together, knees bent, and stick on the ice, you’ll stop the puck with scarcely a move. And having a lifelong fondness for throwing a baseball, anybody who’s ever shot on me will tell you that there is no doubt I have a left hand that will get to anything, anywhere near it.
Psst… here are the goalie’s secrets
Young goaltenders can depend on having the reflexes of a striking viper. With age, goaltenders mature well: we are less prone to injury, and as technique augments our reflexes, there’s a ‘sweet spot’ between the mid-20s and mid-30s where, if you stay in condition, you play with the best of both worlds — reflexes to get to the play or the puck, and the wisdom of having learned the patterns in front of you so that you often know what the shooter is going to do before he’s made up his own mind, or thought he has anyway. Challenge the shooter, use your body well, and you’ll maneuver him into a low-percentage chance on net.
After the mid-30s, a mature goaltender learns the ‘piece-of-plywood’ style, which means you play the pattern, and try and be in the right place so that the puck can simply hit you. And if you stay in condition, you ‘degrade’ gently. I have been such a mature goaltender for a generation now.
Mike and I hit it off during the Ontario Midget-A championships in spring 2013, and he said he’d get back to me about being a special guest goalie later in the year. True to his word, he called my office in November, and my Executive Assistant told him he was nearly certain that an invitation to play goal in a charity game was one I’d be all over.
So back to the Toys-for-Tots game
Iceland, Rink #1, Friday December 13 just before 6:00 p.m. — I found Mike, who’d busted up his legs in a household accidental fall down the stairs. I said hello, he introduced me to a few of the organizers and players, and told me where our dressing rooms were. The two sides: the Lorne Park Hockey Association old-timers and invitees versus the Toronto Maple Leaf Old-Timers. Which ones, you ask? How about Darryl Sittler, Mark Osborne, Gary Leeman, Tom Fergus, Dmitri Mironov, Kevin Maguire, Dan Daoust, Rick Nattress and Dave McLwain. The special guest referee was former Leaf Jack Valiquette. Former Oiler Wayne Cowley and former Leaf Peter Ing played goal.
Spectators wanting to see the ex-Leafs whose jerseys they may have worn in the 70s, 80s and 90s could either bring a new unwrapped toy or donate at least $10 to the cause.
I went to the car, grabbed my sticks and hoisted my pads and bag over my shoulder, and trudged into the room. I realized how much effort had gone into this annual fund-raiser when I saw a tub of iced soft drinks and some sandwiches on the table for the players, and luxury-of-luxuries, rolls of black, white and clear hockey tape. They sure don’t do this for your normal weekend pick-up game.
Fortunately, there were two goalies for us (i.e. Lorne Park): me and a sponsor named Brent Wettlaufer. As I have discovered playing for the Queen’s Park team, the Ontario Legiskaters, being able to play a ten-minute shift in goal in an up-tempo game is a godsend for us ‘mature’ goalies. Both of us would certainly need the bench time on that Friday evening. They had brought me a lovely deep-green jersey for the game, but God in heaven, it was a size triple-XL! Even with all my equipment on, you could fit at least two of me in that tent! So, soccer-style, I wore my red Legiskaters jersey for the game. Our side was in dark green, and the ex-Leafs wore their road whites, so the contrast was maintained. Besides, under arena light, any red-green colour-blind male (like me for instance) would struggle to tell the difference anyway.
Now for the past month, I had been struggling with the tough-to-get-rid-of cold bug that had been infesting the Legislature, and a lot of other places. It’s the one with the cough that won’t go away. So it had been about six weeks since I’d been on the ice, an unusually long time for this goalie, in whom the love of the game remains constant. This would come back to bite me in the first few minutes of action. After Darryl Sittler (age 63), I was the oldest guy on the ice.
Surprise! Guess who’s bringing Ontario’s greetings?
There is quite a protocol if you want to play the Maple Leaf Old-Timers! There has to be a warm-up time followed by a flood. Then three running-time 15-minute periods (stop-time in the last minute), each followed by a flood. Makes sense when you figure there aren’t many of the ex-Leafs, and they need to sit down for a few minutes between periods. Both our goalies, being north of age 50, felt likewise.
Following the warm-up and the flood, they rolled out the red carpet for the (mercifully-brief) VIP greetings. I’d walked up earlier to say hi to Peel Regional Police Chief Jennifer Evans. Mississauga South MP Stella Ambrose was there with the federal Minister of Labour bringing the Prime Minister’s greetings. Her jaw dropped when I strode up in my goalie gear. Both teams were introduced onto the ice, and I skated up from the blue line to bring the Premier’s greetings and my short pep talk to the crowd.
And then the puck dropped to start the game. Who won? C’mon, who do you think? The ex-Leafs never had to turn up their game past cruising speed with the usual tape-to-tape passing. Referee ‘Black-Jack’ Valiquette had to award some dubious penalty shots to Lorne Park, and add some unseen goals to our total to even things up, but we calculated the final score was about 12-6.
As the starting goalie, I had some rust to shake off my game. The first goal bounced in off my defenseman, and the next two were stoppable shots over my blocker. I had let in three during my half of the first period. Brent fared equally, and it was 6-1 after one period. I began to get into my ‘groove,’ did the second half of the second period, and finished the game with the last half of the third. Three times, I had a successful poke-check of either a centring pass or a shooter (can’t remember whom) in front of the net. My second period total was one against. I was chatting with Gary Leeman after the second, and I mentioned to him that my goal that night was to have a save percentage above .500. He said, “Oh really, I’ll tell the rest of the guys.” I wasn’t sure whether that meant they were just going to shoot straight at me, or whether I’d have to earn each save. I recall they got one on me in my half of the third, and though I wasn’t keeping a mental shot count, I was well north of the .500 mark in the game’s save percentage.
Then came the scramble in front of the net with two white jerseys screening me, and Mironov’s shot coming through traffic. I stuck out my hand somewhere close to the zone where decades of playing that very pattern said a shot would come through. I felt something in the glove and squeezed. The whistle blew, and I had an honest-to-goodness, bucket-list, grade-A glove save off a solid ex-Leaf defensemen with two other former Leaf stars looking for anything resembling a rebound in my crease. Sorry guys, no such luck! Of such stuff, the memories of a lifetime are made.
And as time wound down, three of the ex-Leafs bore down on me, two right in front of the net all alone, expecting the centring pass perfectly telegraphed by the body language of the left winger curling around my defenseman. I saw his wrists cock, and looked to the centring zone just above the crease with the two expecting Leaf forwards positioned to my left, ready to one-time the pass into what I was going to leave as the proverbial ‘yawning cage.’ I didn’t think I was going to catch up to a one-timer roofed into the upper reaches of the net, so I focused on the pass. Guess right, and you’re a hero; guess wrong and you’re a bum. I got to the puck, coming right-to-left in front of me, with my outstretched stick, and poked it forward, right past the two Leaf attackers, and onto the stick of one of my frantically retreating defense. Now that was my favourite save of the night.
And for the kids…
The game raised both plenty of toys and generous donations for the Peel Regional Police Toys-for-Tots program. It’s just one of the very many ways the Peel Police have, through the decades, stayed connected to the community on a grass roots level the way few other law enforcement agencies ever have. Part of the reason Mississauga has stayed Canada’s (and therefore the world’s) safest city for more than a decade is because people perceive the Peel Police as people we both know and trust. Officers are seen outside their duty hours, doing things that help the most vulnerable in society. Chief Evans is my third Chief in the years I have been elected. This commitment to community has always come from the top.
MGA International was this year’s title sponsor, and Bert’s Sports provided the uniforms. Everything consumed during the game was fully sponsored, which meant every dollar collected went straight to the Toys-for-Tots program. If they invite me back next year, I will promote the game up here in Mississauga’s northwest corner, in Lisgar, Meadowvale and Streetsville, and get some of our local folks to go to Iceland and see the game themselves.
Merry Christmas to everyone, and all the best for 2014.