Archive for June, 2013

PMUS and allies bring demands to MCSS Minister McMeekin

Friday June 21st, 2013; Poverty Makes Us Sick hosted the Alliance Against Poverty and the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty to visit the Minister of Community and Social Services Ted McMeekin in his constituency office in Waterdown.  Together we took a strong message to McMeekin: We’re angry.  We’re not going to accept endless consultation and studies.  People are dying on the streets and we demand the full restoration of the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit and the Special Diet Allowance, an immediate 60% increase in social assistance rates and an increase in the minimum wage to $14/hr.

Even as the legal system attempts to intimidate PMUS member Ian Stumpf with a fantastically over the top response to a simple trespassing ticket, the group picked up right where things left off with MPP John Milloy (former Minister of Community and Social Services).  Banners filled the office as McMeekin was held accountable for his participation in the assault on the lives of the poor.

McMeekin revealed himself to be condescending, detached, and unabashedly sexist during our rather brief encounter.  Shamefully he interrupted our ally as they shared the story of their friend’s death. McMeekin claimed to share in our concerns, while also defending every last cut.  He completely embarrassed himself by repeatedly stating the ‘the government made these cuts, I can’t do anything.’  He was reminded that he was a Minister.  He was reminded that we will resist.  We demand justice, life and dignity.

There are many important fronts in this struggle.  Today we rattled McMeekin.  We removed from him the comfort of seclusion. We communicated our demands to him.

The government can expect continued resistance.  We will not sit by and watch our friends die.  They cannot expect to live comfortably while attacking us.

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Court support begins for Ian Stumpf (June 17, 2013)

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Ian Stumpf, summer 2012

Poverty Makes Us Sick organizer Ian Stumpf is due in court on Monday June 17th to fight a trespassing charge stemming from a November 15 occupation of the constituency office of MPP John Milloy (then Minister of Community and Social Services).  The successful disruption was part of the province-wide mobilization to save the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit.

The June 17th hearing is simply to pass a motion by the prosecution to join Ian’s trial with another who also received a trespassing ticket for the same action.  The hearing will also set a date for a pre-judiciary hearing and following that, on yet another date, the trial itself.  The delay in receiving the ticket and the complicated process to fight a $65 fine is the work of the prosecution.

There seems to be something larger than a trespassing ticket motivating the powers.While Ian can’t divulge the contents of his disclosure file, we can highlight events and statements that have already happened publicly.

Public Event

Ian was approached publicly by two Detectives during a disruption demo at Waterloo Regional Police Division One.  The Detectives told Ian that they wanted to talk to him about “an ongoing investigation regarding events at Milloy’s office.”  Ian refused.  One of the Detectives became aggressive with Ian.  As the demo was part of the International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women, a group of female-identified folks formed a protective barrier to protect Ian and, quite strikingly, turned the Detectives away.  Ian has experienced a range of police intimidation since then.

Public Statement

The following is an excerpt from an article published in The Record newspaper on December 8, 2012:

In an earlier interview, Kelly Milne, Milloy’s communications assistant, said about 10 protesters took over the office Nov. 15 and held Milloy’s staff hostage for about 90 minutes. Police were called and two of the protesters were charged with trespassing.

See full article here.

We did not take Milloy’s staff hostage.  Through out the successful shut down of the office the workers were repeatedly reminded that they could take the rest of the day off.  We are pleased to note that on the following day, November 16th, they did just that.  See our report back of the November 15 Milloy office disruption here.

We are calling for court support as the proceedings unfold.  As Monday is a small motion we suggest that folks use that time in other ways, but we will be inviting folks to a save the CSUMB mobilization during Ian’s upcoming hearings.  We will announce these plans when the court dates are arranged. Please check for updates or follow @kwpmus on Twitter.

Ian’s statement on beginning the trial process:

The cancellation of the CSUMB is a strong point of reference which highlights the governments ongoing escalation in it’s assault on the poor.  As thousands more now face a greater risk of homelessness, violence, institutionalization and death it has been imperative for a large and united front to oppose this grave threat.  I feel the gravity of this work increases as the days go by.  I stand as a person who has experienced deep poverty, who is experiencing extended illness and who is bound by an unjust welfare system.  I am encouraged that our joint work across the Province has caused the powers such serious concerns, as displayed in the investigation of my role in PMUS actions. This apparent fear is not unwarranted. There are so many people working hard, day to day, on the many fronts of this struggle. Whether we are researching and shaping policy or providing direct action case support, whether we are meeting with the powers or decommissioning their offices: our work is succeeding in the struggle to save the CSUMB. I enter these potentially surreal proceedings feeling energized.  In love and solidarity, Ian Stumpf of Poverty Makes Us Sick.

 

 

First Annual Waterloo Air Show Protest- Report Back

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Sunday June 2, 2013; Activists gathered at the gates of the Waterloo Air Show to oppose militarism and the air show’s agenda to recruit children into the military industrial complex.  Participants held banners, chanted and distributed hundreds of leaflets with the message:  Stop recruiting our children for war.  Redirect military spending for housing, healthcare, education and childcare!  There was an enormous police presence, creating a perimeter of kilometers around the actual airport.  The group was unable to drive in and instead marched for some distance, in the rain, undeterred by the various law enforcement vehicles circling.  The group was approached by a fleet of motorcycle cops, about a km away from the show and told what they already knew:  the police knew they were coming and had prepared to bar entry.

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US flags at the Cadet Youth Development Centre – new home of Lockheed Martin f-35 and drone flight simulator

Upon arrival the group marched to the tarmac, where the CF-18 and other military aircraft were being warmed up, before proceeding to the planned location at the entry gates. 

This event was called by PMUS and the Non-Violent School of Direct Action, and was also organized with a number of other activists, representing a growing commitment to anti-militarism organizing in KW.  There were eight folks on the ground at the airshow who were supported by numerous others.  Organizers plan to unfold a series of educational events and actions to oppose the local arms industry.

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        Kids Loved This Banner!  Many stopped to read it, or simply were drawn towards it.

There were charter buses, bringing folks in from the various parking lots. When we were ready to leave we had the police arrange us a ride back to a point nearer to our vehicles.  Three motorcycle cops followed behind our private bus in a ‘V’.  It saved an hour of walking and was a sight to see.

Check Back Soon for More Photos, Videos, Interviews and Statements From Today’s Action.

For a bank of resources, links, articles, video, and documentation of the Waterloo Air Show’s many ills including its targeting of children for recruitment into the military industrial complex and wasting tax dollars, click here.

Tweet your opposition to the militarism and wasteful spending at:@WaterlooAirShow, #cdnpoli, #antiwar, #peace

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