Thursday, 30 May 2013

Me To We Style CEO speaks at GET event, June 19th

Oliver Madison, Founder and CEO of Me To We Style will be speaking at the Green Enterprise Toronto event of the season on June 19th, 2013.

The GET event notice describes Mr. Madison as follows:
"His career in social enterprise grew out of identifying a shift in consumer trends towards more eco-conscious lifestyle choices. Before founding Me to We Style in 2005 with Craig and Marc Kielburger, Oliver Madison was a principal at the Toronto-based corporate finance firm Octavian Capital and he also worked in corporate finance at Brown Borthers Hariman's New York office. His responsibilities in finance included advising principals of private and closely held public companies in mergers and acquisitions and analyzing potential investments for the firm. Oliver graduated cum laude from Harvard College with an A.B. in economics. He completed his Level III Chartered Financial Analyst (C.F.A.) exams in 2004."

Event details:
Wednesday June 19, 2013
7:00 - 7:30 networking
7:30 - 8:30 Oliver Madison, Q&A
8:30 - 9:30 more networking
215 Spadina Avenue (at Sullivan), Main Floor

Sunday, 12 May 2013

TorontotheBetter supports UofT Transition Year Programme against funding removal

With their Idle No More campaign Canada's First Nations have been successful in bringing to global attention the the shameful treatment of indigenous groups in Canada and around the world. Transition Year Programmes like the University of Toronto's were created to help First Nations students enjoy university educations in an environment where most national education systems, like ours, make it difficult for them to progress to post-secondary education. So, it is with shock and dismay that we have learned of the University of Toronto's decision to withdraw funding for the UofT programme. TorontotheBetter calls on readers of this blog to support the call to restore funding by submitting to the relevant decision-makers a letter of the kind suggested below.
On behalf of the TYP Preservation Alliance
We, the undersigned, are students, faculty, staff and allies who believe that Post-Secondary education should be accessible, affordable, and a reflection of the complex and multiple lived experiences of students, faculty and staff. We recognize that our current model of Post-secondary education underserves members of marginalized communities, such as African-Canadians, Aboriginal Peoples, LGBTQ students, members of the working class, persons with disabilities, and single parents or children of single parents. We recognize that The Transitional Year Program (TYP) is the University of Toronto's premier access and equity entrance program for adults without formal qualifications for admission. Founded in 1970, The Transitional Year Program is a model for supporting academic excellence, and equity and access in academia throughout Canada and North America. We are opposed to recent threats made by the University of Toronto’s Vice-President’s Office to TYP, including, but not limited to: the freezing and withholding of its current budget, non-renewal of staff contracts, a refusal to replace recently retired full time staff positions, a proposal to physically remove TYP from its current location (in an attempt to streamline with the Academic Bridging programme offered at Woodsworth College), and the slow but steady degradation of TYP’s autonomy. We call on the University of Toronto to uphold its commitment to access and equity ensuring the Transitional Year Programme as an autonomous program with concomitant funding, full time staffing and compensation, control over its admissions and curriculum, a distinct and separate physical space and a substantially increased expansion of its ability to engage with the most vulnerable of individuals and communities.
Please cut and paste this letter in support of TYP to:

Professor Cheryl Misak
Vice-President and Provost
Simcoe Hall, 27 Kings College Circle, room 225
Toronto, ON M5S 1A1 Canada.
Tel:416 -978-2122
Professor Meric Gertler
Office of the President
University of Toronto
27 King’s College Circle, Room 206
Toronto ON Canada
M5S 1A1
The Director of the
Transitional Year Program,
Francis Ahia at:

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Toronto Public Library blocks TorontotheBetter Poverty and Homelessness flier

Last Saturday's Get Up, Stand Up event at the University of Toronto featured noted activist  writer/journalist Chris Hedges and Micah White of Adbusters and Occupy Wall Street advocating for individuals and groups who make their voice heard and defend freedom of expression speech against corporate vested interests. Specifically, Hedges singled out whistle-blowing US soldier Bradley Manning and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for releasing information of public interest that its corporate custodians wanted hidden for their own reasons.The beneficiary of the event, which drew hundreds to UofT's |convocation Hall? None other than the venerable Toronto Public Library, staunch defenders of the public's right to know. Right? 

At TorontotheBetter we always thought so, but an event a week before Get Up, Stand Up makes us wonder. When distributing fliers for TorontotheBetter's May30 open public meeting and discussion of "Poverty and Homelessness" in the GTA, a TorontotheBetter representative was, after submitting our flier, to the relevant TPL manager, informed  that it was unacceptable. The reasons cited by the branch spokesperson were that the meeting was "political", explained as arguing for one side rather than both sides of an issue, and that our event partner, the Peel Poverty Action Group, had the word "action" in its title. Notwithstanding the prima facie idiocy of apparently requiring us to invite a spokesperson in favour of homelessness in order to make our event "non-political" and an apparent line in the TPL sand which says it's ok to believe something, but acting on your beliefs is going too far, we requested a copy of the TPL policy on which the manger's  decision to prohibit our flier was based.

Sure enough, the TPL poster policy prohbits postering for events that are "political". The unconditioned use of the word "political" in the policy makes the term so irresponsibily vacuous that, we would argue, middle-level managers and staff, to cover themselves against their seniors will inevitably err on the side of prohibiting anything the slightest bit controversial. And clearly they do, making TPL the home of the staid and the safe. Not exactly what activists like Chris Hedges and Micah White would want, I suspect.

Toronto Public Library's poster policy must change. TorontotheBetter calls on TPL members to make sure it does. At a time when Canada's federal government, among others, is distinguished by its rigorous attention to controlling information and whistle-blowers are under assault at all levels, including our increasingly controlling 21st century workplaces, ostensibly free voices like public libraries have a key reponsibility. We call on TPL  to make their policies and actions reflect which side of the freedom of expression fence they stand on.