Posts Tagged ‘ disability ’

Ottawa – Leafleting at ODSP Office

Wednesday October 15, 2014;  As part of the Province-Wide Raise the Rates Week of Action, Poverty Makes Us Sick Ottawa partnered with Raise the Rates Ottawa, Poor Peoples Action Group (SAA) and community allies to offer information about the attacks on ODSP via the new Medical Review process.  The outreach took place in front of the ODSP office in Ottawa and was successful in growing a strong response to bring an end to this blatant attack on the income of already vulnerable people.

oct15medrev

Dreams dashed:  “Wait, not the Wynne Liberals?!” said a sympathetic former shelter worker.   The outrage and support was widespread.  There are 13 communities participating in the week of action across Ontario.  Join us for upcoming events in Ottawa and Kitchener:

Ottawa: Friday October 17th, International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
12 noon: Community Meal and Rally with speaker and music by the Raging Grannies
1pm March to MPP Yasir Naqvi constituency office
www.facebook.com/events/599647510147620

Kitchener: Thursday October 16th:
5pm:  Community Meal, Rally and March
www.facebook.com/events/535255453285044

 

IMG_0684

Stop the attacks on ODSP!  Stop the new Medical Review Process!

Advertisements

Ontario Liberal Convention, 2014

Image

                                   When Our Pots Are Empty, They Become A Weapon

March 22, 2014:  Raise the Rates organizations from across the province converged on Toronto to march on the Ontario Liberal Convention.  Joined by No One Is Illegal, Fair Wages Now and Labour allies, the messaging of the day emphasized the need for solidarity between poor people, migrants and other working people.  Poverty Makes Us Sick organized free buses from both Kitchener and Ottawa.  PMUS is thrilled to now be operating in both cities. The Ottawa bus also joined our friends and allies in Kingston Coalition Against Poverty for the trip. The march and rally was attended by a few hundred people, who banged their empty pots and pans – and the windows of the convention centre – to the beats of Rhythms of Resistance.

Jointly, we demand an immediate increase in social assistance rate by 55%, the full restoration of the Specials Diet Allowance and CSUMB, no OW/ODSP merger, access to services and access to a living income – beginning with an immediate increase in minimum wage to $14.      In the case of ‘failed’ Refugee Claimants, seeking acceptance on Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds, we demand access to income itself. 

The Ontario Liberals, under “social justice” Premier Kathleen Wynne, have continued escalating their attack on the poor, overseeing the further degradation of and already inadequate social assistance regime and leaving full time workers below the poverty line.  We resist their assault.  This march and rally, along with OCAPs disruption of the Liberals $1500 a plate gala earlier in the week, serve as but one public front in a daily struggle to end this injustice.  We choose to survive the death sentence of their welfare.  We will endure their indignities and their beatings and we will win our just demands.

In addition to PMUS’s new work in Ottawa, where a re-energized Raise the Rates mobilization is rapidly taking shape, organizers with PMUS Waterloo Region have been bottom-lining work with the Community Coalition On Refugee and Immigrant Concerns, the Sanctuary City Network and members of No One Is Illegal (Toronto), to build a Sanctuary City campaign in Kitchener.  Initiated by PMUS, the work has been ongoing for some time and is about to have a public launch including the formation of a community steering committee.

Poverty Makes Us Sick remains committed to economic justice for all. 

Check out this video of the march and rally, disrupting the Ontario Liberal Convention!
Posted on Toronto Media Co-op by our friends and allies at the Kitchener Ontario Animal Liberation Alliance:
http://toronto.mediacoop.ca/video/anti-poverty-march-disrupts-liberal-convention-tor/22267

 

OCAP Disrupts Liberal Dinner

Leading up to our Provincial mobilization this Saturday, allies in the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty disrupted a Liberal fundraising gala.  The following is a press release from OCAP.  See you in the streets!

OCAP disrupts Liberal ‘Heritage Dinner’ – Stop the Liberal War on the Poor

The Ontario Liberal party’s annual lavish fundraising dinner was disrupted
this evening in Toronto by members of the Ontario Coalition Against
Poverty. In the face of grinding poverty across the province as a result
of Liberal policies, a dinner that boasts of $1500 a plate is a slap in
the face to people struggling to pay the rent or put food on the table.
Disrupters unfurled a banner demanding a raise in social assistance rates
and littering the floor with macaroni.

This action is in the lead-up to a mass mobilization this coming Saturday,
March 22nd with people coming from across the province to protest the
‘Liberal War on the Poor’ at the OLP annual meeting. The Liberals have not
only solidified the 1995 Harris government cuts, but brought down their
own brutal form of austerity. Since 2005, this government has hacked away
at the Special Diet Benefit – a food benefit – making it almost impossible
to access.

Then in 2012 the Liberals announced the cut to Community Start-Up and
Maintenance Benefit – a benefit to get people housed, used often by those
who are homeless, in the shelter system, leaving an institution, or women
escaping domestic violence. This is on top of failing to raise the rates
of social assistance to any livable amount let alone keep up with
inflation. Today people are living on social assistance rates that are at
least 55% below where they should be. Wynne talks about social justice,
but few across the province have seen any evidence of that.

“We will not let the rich dine at our expense or at least not dine in
peace. The poor will not suffer in silence and we are fighting back!”

Join the March 22nd mobilization – no matter who is in power this spring –
Stop the War on the Poor, Raise the Rates NOW! http://ocap.ca/node/1137

(end of OCAP release)

See photo, here: http://t.co/26YCD19kEz

For details for free buses leaving from Kitchener and Ottawa, see:https://povertymakesussick.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/raise-the-rates-march-on-liberal-convention-get-on-the-bus/

Action Demanding Restoration of the Special Diet Allowance Marks Day One of Dr Wong Suspension

Image

February 5th marked the first day of the suspension of Dr Wong’s medical licence – an act taken by The College of Physicians and Surgeons in complicity with the Ontario Liberals attack on vital benefits for the poor.  While a rally in solidarity with Dr Wong raged on in Toronto, Poverty Makes Us Sick organizers worked closely with allies in Ottawa to respond locally.  We are thrilled to have worked with such strong organizers for our first event in Ottawa. 

Despite a controlled entry system (staff employed a visual assessment of those knocking to determine eligibility to enter) we gained entry to constituency office of Ottawa Center Liberal MPP, Yasir Naqvi.  The disruption to ‘business as usual’ was sublime, the police response bloated and the demands clear:  Fully Restore the Special Diet Allowance, stop all attempts to intimidate Dr Wong and other MD’s! Raise the Rates!  Access to Healthy Food for All!

Image

A CBC camera person arrived and was ejected from the office.  At this time police were called.  We withdraw from the office on our own accord, before police arrived, to address the media. 

Following our action the Minister of Labour himself, Mr. Yasir Naqvi, tweeted to us that “I’m always here to discuss issues respectfully. Don’t agree w your illegal trespass & jeopardizing health/safety of community staff.”  And with those ignorant, slanderous words he became far more interesting to PMUS. Our demand is for action not empty discussion and it would not be suitable for anyone to respect someone who is involved in a murderous assault on the poor. Moreover, Naqvi’s office has controlled access requiring us to be buzzed in and the Liberal’s constituency office workers have clearly been instructed to construe distress in a sad attempt to discredit the resistance to the Liberal’s assault on the poor (evidence of this can be found elsewhere on this blog). But, by far the most belligerent aspect of Naqvis’s tweet is his suggestion that his staff’s health and safety was jeopardized by our presence. The Ontario Liberals’ vile policies are a major health/safety concern for the poor in Ontario.  A matter of life and death, not feigned discomfort.  His appropriation of these devastating realities is obscene.

Clearly we will cross paths with Naqvi again shortly. In the meantime, the following statement, with elements adapted from OCAP’s literature, was read in Liberal MPP Yasir Naqvi’s office today:

Attack on accessibility to Special Diet Allowance & the suspension of Dr. Roland Wong

We are here today to stand in solidarity with Dr. Roland Wong who is being punished for the ‘crime’ of helping poor people access healthy food for themselves and their families.  The 6-month suspension of Dr. Wong’s medical licence came into effect this morning.  We are here in solidarity with poor people across this province who continue to fight against the austerity agenda of this government. 

We are here to express our outrage at the decision of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario to punish Dr. Wong, a Toronto physician, for helping his patients living in the deep poverty of OW and ODSP, obtain the Special Diet Allowance.   This afternoon in Toronto, poor people and their allies are joining the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty in a rally at the College offices to demand the immediate lifting of Dr. Wong’s suspension.  And we are here, in the office of a Liberal cabinet minister, to express our condemnation of the government’s role in bringing about this act of retribution against resistance to its policies of exclusion and marginalization and our refusal to accept the intimidation of our allies in this fight.

We know that the this Liberal government was thrown into a panic and a rage when they saw that a doctor was taking active steps to reduce poverty in the face of this government’s wilful neglect.  The Ministry of Community and Social Services filed complaints to the Ministry of Health, the OPP, and finally the College, the body that regulates doctors in Ontario, and a full-scale attack on Dr. Wong was set in motion. This government, in partnership with the College, is clearly working to intimidate others who might follow his example and act in the best interests of their patients who live in poverty.   We show our gratitude, respect and solidarity with him in the face of this despicable attack.

All medical evidence shows that low income is the greatest single threat to someone’s health. If doctors and other medical providers are serious about health, they must be advocates and act to address and offset the symptoms of poverty, the single most health-compromising issue we face. It’s deplorable to see a government bullying those addressing health issues through their very institutions, and for the College to intimidate a member of the organisation they supposedly ‘represent’.

Under this Liberal government, the Special Diet program was gutted.  Only through enormous public pressure was a version of it maintained, although a ghost of its former self.  Many people who had relied on this vital supplement have been cut off and people living in deep poverty are again forced to choose between rent and the healthy food they need to maintain their basic well-being.  Instead of recognizing the social and financial logic of this investment in health promotion, your government chose to file a complaint and have a key provincial anti-poverty advocate, investigated for medical fraud when he tried to protect poor Ontarians from your neglect and get them access to the healthy food that is preventative medicine.  Today, the suspension of Dr. Roland Wong’s licence to practice medicine in Ontario will begin.  He is also burdened with tens of thousands of dollars in legal costs and penalties.  This is unacceptable, and we call for the immediate restoration of Dr. Wong’s license and the cancelation of all fines and penalties launched against him.

During the years the Liberals have been in office, the number of people working for the sub poverty minimum wage has doubled and this simply could not have been achieved without driving down the adequacy of social assistance.  Under the so-called ‘Social Justice Premier’, the recent decision to bump the minimum wage to $11, forcing full-time workers to live 16% below the poverty line, demonstrated once again the cynical approach to poverty reduction of this government.

Ottawa is now the third most unaffordable city to live in, in Canada.  With escalating rents, massive condo development, and the gentrification of our community spaces, more and more of our neighbours and friends find themselves on an eight year long wait list for affordable housing.  Thousands of people in our community are forced to choose between paying rent and eating.  We demand the province provide an immediate increase to assistance rates to reflect the real cost of housing utilities and food in Ontario communities.

While talking about ‘poverty reduction’, this government has relentlessly worked to stop anything that impedes the further impoverishment of people on social assistance.   This is a clear component of the war on the poor, and more specifically a direct assault on accessibility to food for poor and working poor folks living in Ontario.  As organizers, we have met with politicians, including two Ministers of Community and Social Services.  We have heard Liberal members express their commitment to ending poverty and to improving the lives of poor people in this province.  We have watched endless consultations, endless discussion, endless delaying tactics. We say enough. We are not fooled by the fancy rhetoric.  Your government have demonstrated since you took power that addressing poverty is simply not a priority. You can only use the ghost of the Harris era so long before it sounds hollow – we are way past that time.

The fact is, that under your government’s leadership, poor people are falling further and further behind – now requiring an increase of almost 60% to regain the losses made during the Harris regime (over 20% lost since your government’s tenure began).   Well, Yasir, as the saying goes, you can’t get blood from a stone – and these policies indeed have blood on them. 

This is but one of many upcoming actions that will aim to target all those complicit in the government’s attack on poor communities across the province.  It is time to live up to the reputation that you claim and become a real champion for poor Ontarians.  We look forward to seeing you step up but we’re not going to wait.  This is a time for action – since the government refuses to act …. the people are mobilizing.

Our minimum demands remain those of the Raise the Rates Campaign: 

WE DEMAND an immediate increase in OW and ODSP rates to bring them back to pre-Harris levels. 55% NOW– raise the rates to where people can live with health and dignity!

WE DEMAND that the minimum wage be increased to a living wage for everyone in Ontario, tied to inflation, beginning with an immediate increase to $14.

WE DEMAND the full restoration of the Special Diet to a benefit of up to $250 for food and complete reversal of all intrusive measures AND the full restoration of the Community Start-up And Maintenance Benefit as a provincially run program.   

Image

For more info on the need for access to healthy food for all see: http://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/publication/poverty_is_making_us_sick__a_comprehensive_survey_of_income_and_health_in_canada/

For more info on Dr Wong and today’s partnered rally in Toronto see: http://www.ocap.ca/node/1132

Follow us on Twitter: @kwpmus

 

Crash the Consultations, Kitchener Report Back

 

Image

 

The Ontario Liberals, with their ‘social justice’ Premiere and and so-called Poverty Reduction Plan, have in reality cut vital programs such as the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit and Special Diet Allowance.  Poverty rates have increased under their leadership.  Now they threaten to merge OW and ODSP, a move that would drastically reduce access to programs and services.  As the Liberals embark on yet another round of Poverty Reduction Community Consultations many have decided that enough is enough: we need to see action to end poverty not more empty talk.  Our Allies across the Province have held Crash the Consultations events also and we are pleased that a number of local agencies have boycotted this obvious stalling tactic – some vocally opposing the sham.

Despite the rain and early morning hour, eight Poverty Makes Us Sick members and allies picketed outside the Kitchener stop of the consultation tour.  Hundreds of leaflets were distributed and there was very positive community response.  Placards were hung on the wall of the building, banners were displayed and chants recited, all calling for real action to eradicate poverty.  We addressed the threatened OW/ODSP merger, the full restoration of CSUMB and Special Diet Allowance, and the demand for an immediate increase in rates by 55%.  The public and consultation-attendees alike stopped to chat and were appalled by the Liberals assault on the poor.

Kitchener Centre MPP John Milloy and Minister of Community and Social Services Ted McMeekin were both in attendance and they were consulted at – loudly – as they entered.  A delegation entered the building with our banners and further consulted at McMeekin, outside the conference room in the foyer.  McMeekin was held accountable for his participation in the war on the poor before he opted to leave the foyer in the opposite direction, away from the conference room.  Police showed up and helped us occupy the foyer as we chanted: “We’re hungry, we’re angry, we wont go away!  Stop the war on the poor, make the rich pay!”

We know that many who chose to attend the consultations are also very angry at the Ontario Liberals.  We are primed for the Province-Wide Raise the Rates Week of action, October 12-20.  All are invited.

Image

Leafleting to a supportive community

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Minister of Community and Social Services, Ted McMeekin (right) is consulted at in the foyer. “You can start by restoring all that you’ve stolen from us so far!”

Image

MPP John Milloy’s Director of Communications, Kelly Milne leads Ted McMeekin AWAY from the conference room where attendees were assembled.  Behind them you see a clear path to the conference room entrance and a staff person waiting to open the door for them. 

Image

The Ontario Liberals have turned their backs on the poor and the allies of the poor.  This is how the Minister of Community and Social Services responds to consultation from impoverished communities.  McMeekin, the few local people who are willing to even pretend to tolerate your sham of a consultation are waiting for you in a room at the opposite end of that hall way – where are you going?

Image

We held the foyer and chanted.

Image

“You see, Officer, this may well be Private Property but those in control of this private property invited Public Officials to host a public consultation, which voluntarily changes the nature of this space.”

Learn more about this action

Learn More about the Raise the Rates Week of Action, Events Across the Province

Learn More about the Raise the Rates Week of Action, Events in Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge

forspecialdiet@gmail.com, @kwpmus, Facebook: Poverty Makes Us Sick!

 

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.

Image

%d bloggers like this: