Thursday, March 11, 2010

Death, Taxes and Temple

Farwell Bev

The City of Guelph lost a passionate and intrepid voice in local politics last week when Bev Izzillo-Ustation passed away after a lengthy fight against cancer at the age of 74. Before five gos at the Mayor’s chair and twice running for city council, Izzillo-Ustation as an advocate for the group Persons United for Self Help (PUSH), an organization that focused on taking down barriers and meeting the needs of those with visual and hidden disabilities. She pressed for accessibility in all areas of public space and was instrumental in improving access by pressing for curb cuts, automatic doors and ramps. To many Politicos though, Izzillo-Ustation was most known for her fiery, grassroots campaigning. She was usually the candidate for open and honest government and in what would be her last election, up against incumbents Kate Quarrie and Karen Farbridge, she enthusiastically declared that “It’s my turn now.” Bev Izzillo-Ustation is survived by four grandchildren, three step-grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. As expressions of sympathy, donations to Marianne's Place and/or the Salvation Army would be appreciated.

Temple debate packs house

It was standing room only in the council chamber gallery last Monday as an update on the proposal for a Sikh temple to be built in the south end came back to city council. Mayor Karen Farbridge laid down the law up front that there would no tolerance for racially-charged language or outbursts from the floor. Over a dozen delegations got up to speak during the evening, many in support of the Sikhs and their efforts to get out of the old beer store on Stevenson, but there were several people speaking on behalf of the Westminster Woods neighbourhood and were opposed to the move. A few others said that they were open to the temple’s construction with concessions, and as the meeting ended there were words of support from other members of Guelph’s faith-based community. To get the full scoop, head over to Guelph Politico at

NDP enters the race

Although election talk has been on the QT lately, the local NDP has officially acclaimed a nominee to lead them to a possible Guelph victory in the next federal election. Last Thursday, at the CAW Hall on Silvercreek, Guelph NDP members voted for Bobbi Stewart to run as their nominee. Stewart brings with her a wealth of experience as a social worker, especially in 20 years of work for Family & Children’s Services of Guelph & Wellington County.

In a media statement, Stewart says that if elected she will continue to fight for the party’s core beliefs including medicare, labour and social justice. “We are the Party most in-tuned to the needs of average Canadians and we have bright, passionate leaders,” she said. “I agreed to seek this nomination because of my strong belief in our Party and to stand up against Harper’s arrogance, black and white thinking and the erosion of our democracy. I will also speak out against the Liberal corporate agenda as their approach will never solve our economic crisis,” she added.

Valeriote offers tax help

Need tax help? Well our local MP Frank Valeriote is happy to oblige with a series of free Tax Preparation Clinics host by the Community Volunteer Tax Program, in cooperation with the Canada Revenue Agency. The Holy Rosary Parish will host Drop-in sessions on March, 20, 23 and April 6. Another tax Drop-in clinic will take place at the Italian Canadian Club on March 16, while a session at Onward Willow – Better Beginnings will be taking appointments for its April 14 clinic. Recent immigrants to Canada, meanwhile, will be able to take part in special sessions at Immigrant Services – Guelph Wellington on March 12, 19, 23 and April 9 and 16. For more information you can contact Valeriote’s constituency office at (519) 837-8276 or

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