News

Stopping the Madness at Oakville Midnight Madness July 13 2018

The Toronto Chapter hosted a  voter registration booth at Midnight Madness.  Below,  Peel Regional Representative, Sue Alksnis recollects encounters with Americans. These words express what it it's like to have the rewarding experience of volunteering with our GOTV events. Please join our volunteer team! 

We talked to three 18 year olds who will be voting for their first time in the 2018 midterms.

We spoke to a 16 year old who wants to be ready to vote in 2020 and wasn’t sure what voting address to use since he’s never resided in the States (answer: his parent’s last U.S. address).

And the young woman whose “Nana” moved to Canada from Florida and really wants to vote this year. She will help “Nana” use www.votefromabroad.org

Oh, and we mustn’t forget the Oregon voter who was illegally denied her vote in 2016 when her Local Election Official told her that she doesn’t get to vote anymore since she moved away. Wrong! Americans have the right to vote wherever they live. That voter now knows that she can vote and that Democrats Abroad has a voter helpdesk for these kinds of situations. Check out the Voter Help Desk/FAQ at www.votefromabroad.org where you can chat live with a DA volunteer or email help@votefromabroad.org

Our volunteer crew spoke to almost 50 US voters, including 25 brand new overseas voters from many states, including: FL, NC, CO, MT, TX, OR, and NY.

Thank you to our volunteers who worked through the heat & humidity until 1:00 am!!! Judith Wanner-Hamilton Chapter, Julie Buchanan-Toronto Chapter, Steve Nardi-Canada Chair and Sue Alksnis, Peel Representative.   


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We need your help - seeking volunteers for PRIDE Festival and Parade

It’s Pride Month and we’re looking for volunteers during the PRIDE Festival!

When you wake up on November 7th do you want to see a change to Washington? Now is not the time for complacency!

We are in the midst of Primaries as the 2018 mid-term elections rapidly approach. With summer almost upon us now is the critical time to connect with Americans living in the Toronto area to encourage them to register for their ballot or to educate people on why we, as Americans living abroad, need to exercise our constitutional right to vote – FATCA. FBAR and the latest tax bill are all actions making it more difficult as an American living abroad. Democrats Abroad has made the numerical difference in victory in several recent special elections and the Democratic Party is looking to our diaspora to deliver the numbers to take the House and/or Senate.

As 2016 taught us, complacency will doom Democrats in races across the country – we must get as many Americans living in Canada to register and exercise their right to cast a ballot in the election. Our history of delivering the numerical difference for victory by Democrats in close races cannot be understated.

Democrats Abroad – Toronto will have a booth at the Street Festival on Sat. June 22nd and Sun. June 23rd. Additionally we’ll be marching in the PRIDE Parade (Sun. June 23rd 12pm-4pm) and are looking to make a respectable showing with a large number of walkers. As an aside, walking in the parade is FAR more fun than standing on the sidelines.

We’re looking for members who would like to volunteer at the Democrats Abroad Toronto booth at Pride 2018.

The Pride 2018 streetfair will be held on June 22nd & June 23rd

If you are interested please click here to send us your information.

Watch your email or this web page for further announcements of plans for PRIDE Week. If you have friends who would like to support the efforts for change in the mid-terms share the registration link with them. Volunteers don’t have to be American so if you have friends who want to help or walk in the parade with you please share the registration link with them so we know how many people can help out.

If you happen to see our booth at a festival this summer be sure to stop by and say hello!

Best regards,

Steve Nardi
Chair, Democrats Abroad Canada

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NEVER AGAIN: DA supports Parkland students’ demands for action

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          by Virginia Smith

Parkland shooting survivor Dimitri Hoth speaking at the Florida legislature on Feb. 21, 2018: “We, the students, will make a difference.”

With heavy hearts, dozens of Democrats Abroad members gathered for a vigil near Toronto’s U.S. consulate on the sunny Sunday afternoon after the deadly rampage at Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida. The consulate’s U.S. flag stood at half-mast as DA members voiced their determination that, this time, strong positive measures to control the sale of guns would have to follow the usual expressions and symbols of grief.
Democrats Abroad Toronto vice-chair Danielle Stampley said that the vigil was an occasion to express solidarity with the victims and survivors of the shooting and to launch action for change: “This is not acceptable. We have been acting as though nothing can be done. We can do something about this. Let’s commit to taking action.”
Vigil participants read out the names and short descriptions of the victims. The list included students and teachers, boys and men, and girls and women, who ranged in age from 14 to 49:
  • Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, was a soccer team member who had just had what her mother called “the best game of her life” on Feb. 13.
  • Martin Duque Anguiano, 14, was freshman who, according to his brother, was “a very funny kid, outgoing, and sometimes really quiet.”
  • Scott Beigel, 35, was a teacher who brought students into his classroom before he was killed himself. One parent says that Mr. Beigel saved her son’s life.
  • Jaime Guttenberg, 14. Her father posted on Facebook: “I am broken as I write this, trying to figure out how my family gets through this.”
  • Aaron Feis, 37, was a football coach who also attempted to save students. A graduate of the school, he always tried to help those who were struggling.
  • Nicholas Dworet was a high school swimmer who visited the University of Indianapolis recently. He said that he wanted to swim there after his graduation this year.
  • Christopher Hixon, 49, was the school’s athletic director and a prominent figure in high school sports in Florida.
  • Luke Hoyer, 15, was an aspiring basketball player. “He loved his family, he had a huge heart,” said his cousin.
  • Cara Loughran, 14, was an excellent student. Her aunt wrote on Facebook: “We are absolutely gutted…..while your thoughts are appreciated, I beg you to DO SOMETHING….”
  • Gina Montalto, 14, was said to be a member of the school’s winter color guard team. A Facebook tribute to her said: “we lost a beautiful soul tonight.”
  • Joaquin Oliver, 17, played basketball in the city’s recreational league. He was also a writer who filled a notebook with poetry.
  • Helena Ramsey, 17, would have started college next year. A relative wrote on Facebook: “…she had a relentless motivation toward her academic studies…”
  • Alaina Petty, 14, was a member of a volunteer group with the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints. She helped with clean-up work after Hurricane Irma.
  • Meadow Pollack, 18, was a senior who planned to go to a nearby college next year. A relative said that “she was a very strong-willed young girl who had everything going for her.”
  • Alex Schachter, 14, played the trombone in the school’s marching band. His father said that “he was a sweetheart of a kid.”
  • Carmen Schentrup was a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist. Her cousin said in a Facebook post that she was the smartest 16-year-old that he had ever met.
  • Peter Wang, 15, helped his cousin, Aaron, to adjust when Aaron started living in Florida. “He was always so nice and generous,” said Aaron.
After the reading of the list, Toronto chapter chair Julie Buchanan said that “Canadians care about this shooting too.” She stressed the need to get out the vote and to vote out the politicians who take money from the NRA. Hamilton chapter chair and former Democrats Abroad chair Ken Sherman sadly recalled a gathering of DA members in Toronto after the 2011 shooting of U.S. House of Representatives member Gabby Giffords. Sherman read a statement by Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Tom Perez, which stressed that people should not be afraid to go a shopping mall, baseball field, or movie theater. Sherman, who is a member of the DNC, called on Congress to enact a ban on automatic rifles and to enhance background checks

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Democrats Abroad Canada Steve Nardi ended the vigil by stating the firm resolve that “this has got to stop.” He called on Americans living in Canada to encourage other Americans to go to votefromabroad.org so that they can vote this year for political leaders who will enact measures to protect U.S. communities from deadly violence.


The Democrats Abroad vigil was covered by CTV, CBC, and CP24. DA’s pledge to take action for peace is being heard. Will it be heeded?
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The Vietnam Project: 50 years of striving for peace and justice

Democrats Abroad Toronto is planning a meeting of DA members who moved to Canada during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The meeting will be an opportunity to talk about developing a people’s history of that era.

Sunday, April 29, 2 pm, community room at 71 Charles St. East, Toronto.

Many Democrats Abroad members first came Canada in the late 1960s or early 1970s. At that time, Americans’ moves to Canada were often motivated by a need to resist participation in the Vietnam War. Many Americans who came to Canada put down roots in the country and became permanent residents. At the same time, they remained loyal to their identities as Americans and never lost their hope that the U.S. would fully realize the belief of its founders that "all men are created equal."

Half a century after the eruption of the Vietnam War as major conflict, members of Democrats Abroad want to talk about ways to gather some of the stories of those who came to Canada during that period. We want to do the gathering in a way that reveals events and motives, but at the same time protects the privacy of the story tellers. There are two purposes for this initiative: to develop a record of our personal and political lives, and to discover the contemporary relevance of resistance to the Vietnam War and other wars.

Democrats Abroad Toronto members who came to Canada during those years are invited to a meeting on Sunday, April 29, at 2 pm in the community room at Paxton Place, 71 Charles St. E., Toronto. The person at the front desk can provide direction to the room. The meeting will be an opportunity to share stories and make plans for written stories, interviews, videos, and possibly a public meeting. An email invitation to the meeting will be sent to members at the end of March. The time and place announced on the website are definite.

If you would like more information about this project, please contact Virginia Smith at peace@democratsabroad.ca

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Calling All Democrats Abroad

This January we need everyone to join the effort! We need you to go here and request your ballot. AND we need you to help the Toronto Chapter reach out to our thousands of members who haven’t heard from for us in a while. We need to update their updated information to send them voting information! Our goal is to do this January 31st!

This event has passed, but phoning Democrats will be happening all year long! 

What: Phoning Democrats in Toronto and Canada

When: Sunday, January 14 - 10 am - 1 pm

Where: Artscape Youngplace
180 Shaw Street,
Suite 314 the Office of Inspirit Foundation
Toronto M6J2W5

We  had  coffee, tea and light snacks,  brought our laptops and even got occupy an office or two for easy phoning. 

Danielle Stampley was there to walk us  through the  steps. Brooke Scott organized the event and Kate Leuschen Millar arranged for the space. What a great teamwork.  Here are some pictures of the days heroes.


You can phone from your from the comfort of your own place!

If you are new to phonebanking or just need a refresher, you can find sign-up instructions and training materials on our website at: www.democratsabroad.org/phonebanking Join the campaign for DACA Membership. 

Phone campaigns, run from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm and Democrats Abroad strictly uses CallHub program to make calls.

If you are already a phonebanking volunteer, just go to https://callhub.io to login to your CallHub account and join the campaign for DACA Membership. You can check out the script here: Script DACA Membership Verification

Brooke Scott, volunteer-toronto@democratsabroad.ca
Volunteer Co-ordinator, Toronto Chapter

RSVP here - Event has passed!

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Women's Caucus Event January 20th- Women March On

WOMEN MARCH ON - Defining Our Future - Saturday, January 20, 2018

Two hours before the Toronto Women’s March 1/20/18 the Women’s Caucus organized a meet up at the Richtree Natural Market in the Eaton Centre for conversation. The excitement and determination from last year’s March was undiminished, evidenced in our turnout. The common cause of empowerment and creating community for progress united new friends and set the table for future Caucus events. ~ Brooke Scott, Co-Chair DA Women's Caucus Toronto






We keep the  RSVPs for the event Here.

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Larry Cohen, Chair of Our Revolution, in Toronto - Saturday, January 20, 2018

Democrats Abroad and Our Revolution are hosting an event with Larry Cohen following  the Women March On event. A highly respected Union Leader in the US and Canada, Cohen was head of the 700,000 member Communications Workers of America. Cohen is a member of the DNC and joined the Sanders campaign in 2015. Our Revolution hopes to leverage the success of the Sanders campaign to transform America and advance a progressive agenda.

When: 4:00 p.m.

Where: Jack Astor's Bar and Grill, 133 John St - note this is  venue change  from original post

An informal gathering is planned to follow the presentation.  RSVP soon!

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Women March On-Defining our Future Jan 20 2018

Check back here as we add photos from this historical day!

 

 

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Giving thanks for the gifts of resistance and change

by Virginia Smith


Over 50 DA members and their families gathered at Toronto's Globe Bistro on Thanksgiving to express their gratitude for both their capacity to resist and their firm resolve to change the U.S.'s political direction next year. They also had fun together as they enjoyed a traditional turkey dinner. London-based members Gena Brummit, the chair of the London Chapter, and Marnelle Dragila, an officer of DA Canada, drove to Toronto to bring greetings and join the celebration.

The evening was hosted by Toronto vice-chair Nathan Lujan, who welcomed diners to the annual dinner. Various DA members took the microphone to voice their thoughts about the significance of the day and about upcoming DA projects. Toronto member Virginia Smith talked about the Vietnam Project, which will reflect on the ongoing relevance of the experiences of Americans who came to Canada in the early 1970s.

A humorous quiz about the first year of the Trump administration was circulated by DA Canada vice-chair Ed Ungar, who led diners through a list of questions that seemed to have no right answers. Isn't that what the last year has been like for most of us? A book was the prize for the winner in this apparently no-win situation.

Two of the quiz questions were (answers below, no cheating!):

1. What Fox headline crawl represented the network's greatest hope for development?

a. Obama admits that he can't match Trump's eloquence.

b. Trump: eventually, we will get something done.

c. Early returns look like GOP Virginia sweep.

d. Kelly's praise of Trump sincere!

2. According to Trump, what can you not be?

a. too rich

b. too thin

c. too humble

d. too greedy

The evening closed with good will to all and a renewe sense of purpose to work for change in the U.S. Congress by Thanksgiving day 2018. Summing up the evening, Toronto chair Julie Buchanan expressed gratitude to all those who contributed to the occasion, including David Markham, who donated the portable sound system that enabled speakers to communicate with the big group as a whole. It was a great evening spent with friends old and new. There was good food and good service. The annual Thanksgiving event creates a sense of family among Democrats Abroad members.



Quiz answers: 1. b, 2. d


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Toronto greets Bernie with Standing Ovations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            by Virginia Smith


Bernie Sanders’s late October speech at the University of Toronto advocating a single payer health care system in the U.S. was greeted enthusiastically by Democrats Abroad Toronto members. DA members gathered in two groups to respond to Sanders’s presentation – one group at Convocation Hall and one group at a nearby pub, where the event was watched on livestream.

Sanders’s Toronto weekend visit to Toronto included visits to three Toronto hospitals, where he discovered that it is not fair to say “that the system here is not a strong system and innovative system.” He said that the neonatal intensive care unit at Sinai’s health system was one facility that particularly impressed him. His speech about the necessity of health care for all was punctuated by standing ovations.

The DA members (who are officers of DA Canada and/or Toronto) who were able to attend the packed event were Christine Odunlami, Ed Ungar, Marnelle Dragila, Sue Alksnis, Carol Donahue, and Mari Rutka. The tickets were made available through DA Global to DA leaders and volunteers active in the DA health care stories campaign. Sue provided a petition calling on U.S. senators to cosponsor the Medicare for All Act brought forward by Sanders. Americans attending the event were invited to sign the petition, which was then sent to the national office of Health Care NOW.

These are a few of the responses to the speech by DA members in Convocation Hall:

Sue Alksnis: “When Dr. Danielle Martin of Women’s College Hospital asked how we will achieve the change we need, Bernie said the fight of this moment is to unify and take on the oligarchs. He said: ‘ I will tell you with 100% certainty there are people who are enormously powerful, with more wealth than you can dream of, who couldn’t care less about your lives, your children, about your parents. They want it all economically. They want it all politically. And we in the United States, in Canada, all over this world, we’ve got to stand together and tell these oligarchs that this planet belongs to all of us.’
….. Bernie also said the U.S. health care debate needs people in Canada and around the world to share their health care stories so that Americans cannot say that it isn’t possible to provide health care for all. Toward that end, DA has collected almost 400 health care stories from DA members. The stories are being printed in a book to be presented to Congress and Senator Sanders’s office. Stories can still be submitted at http://www.democratsabroad.org/healthcare_stories

Christine Odunlami: “Ever since Senator Sanders first put in his bid to run in the 2016 presidential election, to his current continuing activism, I knew something was indescribably extraordinary about him. Witnessing his speech solidified my expectations and more. It is my deepest hope that our fellow American citizens and politicians take full recognition of what Bernie’s speech communicates; single-payer healthcare is needed now. The passion and warmth displayed by Dr. Danielle Martin at Women’s College Hospital and at the other hospitals the senator toured show that patient-centred care as a human right is doable…”

Ed Ungar: “Every Senate term, Bernie introduces a single payer health care bill and, until this time, hardly anyone else signs on. But, this time, 16 of the most high profile Democratic senators are co-sponsors. The bill is basically modelled on Canada’s medical system. But as Ed Broadbent, former leader of the NDP, noted, Bernie’s bill improves on Canada’s system. Bernie thinks dental care, full psychological services, and dental services should be a basic right. If Bernie’s bill passes, and the odds are improving, then Canada may decide to catch up to the U.S. We shall see.”

DA members who watched the livestream at a nearby pub were greeted by Toronto Chapter Chair and Canada IT manager Julie Buchanan and Women’s Caucus Toronto Chair Karin Lippert, who worked as a team to set up the event.

Julie and Karin had these comments: “We're always happy to see our members at DemsAbroadTO events! We don't sponsor many brunches, but Brunch with Bernie at the Duke of York was a great opportunity to get together and hear his message on single payer health care. It was impressive that he had toured hospitals in Toronto the previous day and displayed detailed knowledge of the history of health care in both England and Canada. As Bernie said, change regarding health care came from ‘the bottom up’ in both countries. This has been true throughout history for change that benefits the general public. So it is up us to make sure we create the momentum and demand for single payer health care in U.S. elections going forward! The best moment of a Livestream event is when the tech works and we sign-up new volunteers. For those at the live event in Convocation Hall, Ed Ungar's sign summed-up what would be true for many of our members who benefit from Canadian health care: ‘ I'd be DEAD if I had stayed in the U.S.A.’"


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