Kitchener Ontario Animal Liberation Alliance – Rally and Birthday!

Poverty Makes Us Sick encourages you to take part in the following event.  KOALA has been doing important work during this past year – struggling for animal liberation and economic justice.  KOALA has been a fierce ally in the Waterloo Region mobilization around the Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage.  KOALA is again taking their struggle to Uptown Waterloo – the heart of commerce and consumerism in KW – which was also the site of the most recent PMUS disruption to oppose the threatened OW/ODSP merger.  We are pleased to echo KOALA in calling for total liberation. 
Nov 29: Anti-Fur Demonstration @ Channers – Waterloo
95 King St. S. (next to Uptown Waterloo Square)
11:30am to 1:00pm
Protest against Canada Goose Inc, who uses coyote fur trim in  
their cruelty jackets sold at Channers.
Bring your birthday hats – it’s also KOALA’s first Birthday!
(PMUS organizer, Ian Stumpf has held a birthday rally for the past four years on this weekend.  Ian is busy with court and moving this year.  We see it as a very strong indicator of a healthy anti-capitalist movement that there is still a birthday rally happening!)

Poor Peoples Inquiry, Waterloo Region – with Put Food In The Budget

Poor People’s Inquiry Waterloo Region
Testify about the impact of Wynne Liberals’ policies on poor people and allies
Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013; 7-9pm
Queen Street Commons, 43 Queen St S (Kitchener)

Accessibility: no purchase necessary, light refreshments, kid and baby friendly, wheelchair accessible, one single-occupancy washroom, vegan and gluten free options for sale at cafe,

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!  Come and share your testimony about the impact of changes to the provincial Liberals’ policies for poor people – do the changes introduced to social assistance by Premier Wynne put food in budget of people who are poor in Ontario?

In the first week of December — the fifth anniversary of the Liberal government’s five-year Poverty Reduction Strategy — hearings will be held in communities across Ontario. At each community hearing, a panel of people who are poor will preside. Evidence gathered will be collected into an Official Record of Evidence.

Is Premier Wynne guilty of perjury given her claim to be the ‘Social Justice Premier’?  Is the government guilty of indictable offences in their war on poor people in Ontario?
Who can testify?  Poor people, allies, anyone with a commitment to social and economic justice or even ‘civic responsibility’.  Poverty Makes Us Sick wants you!!!  Get in touch to sign up or just show up to share!
Part of a provincial campaign launched by Put Food in the Budget (Toronto), and hosted locally by Poverty Makes Us Sick
Contact us:
Facebook:  PovertyMakesUsSick!

Joint Statement by Mamawewen, the North Shore Tribal Council and the Raise the Rates Campaign

As members of the Raise the Rates campaign, Poverty Makes Us Sick is pleased to endorse this joint statement.  A PDF is also available for download at OCAP site:

Joint Statement by Mamaweswen, the North Shore Tribal Council and the Raise the Rates Campaign October 19, 2013

We are determined to prevent any attempt to merge OW and ODSP which we see as a move in
the direction of austerity based, UK style ‘welfare reform’.  This would lead to the imposition of
‘work-fare’ onto people on ODSP, forcing people living with disabilities into working for very
low wages with no adequate accommodations for their disabilities and cutting them off benefits
if they are unable to keep these jobs. However, this opposition to merger does not at all mean that we accept the status quo of a system that so glaringly fails to meet the needs of disabled people. Based on this, we advance the following demands of the Government of Ontario.

1.     Provide a clear undertaking that no legislation will be tabled to merge Ontario Works (OW)
and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).

2.      Revise the ODSP Act and regulations to:
i. Clearly differentiate support for disabled people living with disabilities that make it difficult if
not impossible to be self-supporting, from support for unemployed people, and to provide decent
and stable long-term financial support to people living with disabilities as a matter of social right.

ii. Restore the real income levels of people on ODSP and OW to at least where they stood before
the Harris Tories froze them and Liberal Governments provided below inflation increases.

iii. Provide an accessible and fair application process for ODSP. At present, the system is so
restrictive that appeals have become a de facto second stage in making an application.
iv. Recognize, under both a revised ODSP Act and the OW Act, that First Nations, given their
inherent right to self-determination, have the right to design and deliver publicly funded
programs, that they determine are best suited to their unique needs, of both long-term support to people living with disabilities and shorter-term support to unemployed people.

Raise the Rates Resolution On Threatened Merger of ODSP/OW

Poverty Makes Us Sick contributed to the drafting of this resolution and ‘signed on’ to it during the recent Raise the Rates Province-Wide Week of Action.  A PDF is also available for download on OCAPs site:

     This assembly of the Raise the Rates Campaign, gathered together in Sudbury
on October 19, 2013, recognizes that the Liberal Government of Ontario is
pressing ahead with an austerity driven social assistance reform that is very much
based on the attack now underway on disabled people in the UK.
    We express our determination to utterly oppose legislation that merges ODSP
and Ontario Works into one program.  At the same time, however, we fully
support and demand the right of First Nations to control all social assistance
delivery within their communities.
   We call on the Wynne Government to issue a clear public undertaking that there
will be no merger of ODSP and OW.
   We pledge to deliver this message directly to the Government shortly after this
assembly by way of a Raise the Rates mass delegation.
   We also undertake to publicly confront MPPs throughout the Province in the
weeks ahead with the demand that they agree to vote against any ODSP/OW
   Should the Wynne Government or any that follows it proceed with legislation to
eliminate ODSP, we will mobilize communities affected and the widest range of
allies to defeat such an attack.


Minimum Wage Actions – November 14th, 2013: Delegations to local MPPs to demand fair wages for all!


Tell K-W MPPs to demand a $14/hour Minimum Wage!

Thursday, November 14, 2013
12pm – KW MPP Catherine Fife’s office, 22 King St S (delegation leaves from Waterloo Town Square at noon sharp)
5pm – Kitchener-Centre MPP John Milloy’s office, 1770 King St E

Join delegations to visit MPPs in Kitchener (John Milloy – Liberal) and Waterloo (Catherine Fife – NDP) to demand that they endorse a $14 minimum wage and bring our petition to the floor of the legislature to demonstrate the broad support for fair wages for all!

We will be reminding our MPPs that raising the minimum wage is good for our economy and good for our communities. We’ll even award them a novelty cheque representing the boost to the economy that an increase would bring!

Be part of this growing movement for fair wages! Support this month is crucial as we come to a critical moment of the campaign for a $14 minimum wage. With the Minimum Wage Advisory Panel expected to release their report by the end of the year, now is the time to turn up the heat!

Bring signs and flags! Bring your kids, your friends!

For background on the Ontario-wide campaign raise the minimum wage, see

This event co-sponsored by the Waterloo Regional Labour Council and Poverty Makes Us Sick.

Victory in Trespassing Case Against Sudbury’s S-CAP 11! PMUS Statement of Support

Today members of the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty were in court, facing trespassing charges stemming from the occupation of Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci’s office last year.  All charges were ultimately dropped, an important victory for S-CAP, and a cause for celebration across the province.  We now re-focus our collective energies on the serious work of combating the violent assault on our communities that the coming merger of OW/ODSP represents. (See more details here:

Poverty Makes Us Sick sent a statement of solidarity to the S-CAP 11 that was read at a rally in support of the members facing charges.

November 12, 2013

Poverty Makes Us Sick Waterloo Region supports the work of Sudbury’s Coalition Against Poverty and celebrates their Emergency Shelter action. The act was necessary in the face of this attack on the poor.

S-CAP has seen many successes in their ongoing work. S-CAP’s strong engagement in the day-to-day struggle has placed them in the crosshairs of the powers. We salute them for receiving this honour.

Previously, Poverty Makes Us Sick held an Emergency Shelter action and also received trespassing tickets. We won in the courts and are pleased to see that 4 S-CAPers have had their charges dismissed. We demand that all charges be dismissed.

We now enter into a new phase of our movement and, together with S-CAP and other allies across the province, have resolved to oppose with the strongest means any merger of OW and ODSP.

Poverty Makes Us Sick organizer Ian Stumpf is in court again on Friday November 15th for a charge of Causing Disturbance under the Criminal Code of Canada after sustaining injuries at the hands of police in the process of directly confronting Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. The bodies of the marginalized and their allies are under constant attack and the court is one venue that the state depends on in its efforts to control our dissent. Our resolve is tempered over these flames. And as we pause to recognize S-CAP, resistance continues.

We have great respect for S-CAP and hold them as dependable allies during this time of escalation.

In Solidarity,
Poverty Makes Us Sick, Waterloo Region

Ashley Smith Vigil 2013: To Remember is to Resist

Candlelight Vigil Marking 6th Anniversary of Ashely Smiths Death

October 20th; 8pm
Speakers Corner (King and Benton) Downtown Kitchener

Presented by We Remember Ashley Smith

To Remember is to Resist

Ashley Smith died at the age of 19 in Kitchener’s Grand Valley Institution for Women on October 19th, 2007.  Deemed to be suffering ‘poor mental health’, in isolation and on suicide watch, Ashley tied a ligature around her neck and asphyxiated to death as seven guards, who were ordered not to intervene, watched.

Ashley practiced a number of self-harming behaviours including what she called “tieing-up”.
These practices were well-documented and Ashley repeatedly told her psychiatrist that she sought human interaction through her self harming – it would draw guards into her cell.  She assured staff that she didn’t want to die and said to her psychiatrist that she knew the guards wouldn’t let anything happen to her – they were thought of as friends.

We come together each passing year to hold on to the memory of Ashley Smith.

A Coroner’s Inquest is currently in its final stages.  The Smith family lawyer has called the proceedings a “pure and simple State cover-up” and more recently the Warden at Grand Valley at the time of Ashley’s arrival showed up to give testimony with a doctor’s note that said the she could not endure cross-examination.  What we already know is made painfully clear through these sad proceedings: the prison system is designed to silence, disappear and murder while offering impunity to those who willfully take on the wretched task of imprisonment.

The media dubs Ashley Smith a ‘Troubled Teen”. Ashley Smith was a Tortured Teen.  Her torture was funded by our tax dollars and was carried out in a system that we allow to exist.  We would all be troubled if we endured what Ashley endured in the prison system. Prior to this torture Ashley was a caring and insightful young person who was drawn to social justice work.

Ashley was first imprisoned at the age of 13 on a charge that she threw a crab apple at a mail-carrier.  Ashley’s neighbours were receiving their Social Assistance cheques late and Ashley (informed by others) was suspicious that the mail carrier was withholding the needed funds.  Ashley took direct action and fought for the needs of the poor.  Ashley’s tactic and analysis is a forerunner to the needs of our current struggle against austerity.  It is not enough to protest MPPs because they are no longer decision-makers in this global age of austerity.  We need to oppose with the strongest of means any power that seeks to push the poor further towards hopelessness, isolation, imprisonment, violence and death.

We Remember Ashley Smith

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