Posts Tagged ‘ social assistance ’

Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC) Speaking Tour coming to Kitchener and Ottawa this May!

 

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From May 4-15th, Ellen Clifford from DPAC will be on a provincial speaking tour, visiting Toronto, Kitchener, Sudbury, Kingston and Ottawa. Ellen has been campaigning with the disabled people’s movement for 15 years and, since 2011, has sat on the National Steering Committee of DPAC. She is also a member of Unite the Union and works to build solidarity between workers in unions and those forced to live on social benefits.

The Cameron Government in the UK has implemented brutal cuts to programs for unemployed and disabled people. This includes a system called the Work Capability Assessment that has been used to deny benefits to thousands of people.

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) is an organization in the UK that has been at the forefront of challenging this situation.  It has mobilized disabled people to fight back and formed alliances with community organizations and unions in resisting the austerity measures of the Cameron Government. The hated private company, Atos, that was carrying out the assessments of sick and disabled people has been forced to quit as a result of the powerful resistance DPAC and others have take up.

Here in Ontario, we also face major attacks. Ontario Works and ODSP rates are too low to enable people to pay their rent and eat properly. The Special Diet and Community Start Up have been slashed. There is a very real threat that the Government here will merge OW and ODSP and bring in a UK style assessment system. We need to understand what is happening in that country and how people are fighting back against the attacks.

Poverty Makes Us Sick is very excited to host stops in both Kitchener and Ottawa as a part of the provincial tour.

The Ottawa stop of the tour will be on Wednesday, May 7th, at 6:30pm. This event, with local speakers, Raise the Rates Campaign founders from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) and Ellen Clifford of DPAC, will also serve as the public re-launch of the Raise the Rates Campaign in Ottawa.  Space has been provided by the Somerset West Community Health Centre (55 Eccles St) and is fully accessible. A meal will be included and bus tickets will be available. Childcare, ASL and French whisper interpretation will be provided as needed (please confirm by May 1st).

The Kitchener stop of the tour will be on Tuesday, May 13th, at 7pm.  It will be held at the Queen Street Commons (43 Queen St S).  A light meal will be provided.  The Commons is wheelchair accessible and has one single-occupancy washroom.  It is a kid-friendly space. Vegan and gluten-free foods will be available.

For more information call Poverty Makes Us Sick, (613) 220-0554 or email forspecialdiet@gmail.com.
Facebook events –
Kitchener: http://www.facebook.com/events/225928060937800
Ottawa: http://www.facebook.com/events/685486958164060

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/

Raise the Rates March on Liberal Convention – GET ON THE BUS!!

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Poverty Makes Us Sick is organizing free buses from both Kitchener AND Ottawa!

STOP THE LIBERAL WAR ON THE POOR
Raise the Rates March to the Ontario Liberal Party Convention

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014
Metro Hall, Toronto
Meal, rally and march (beginning at 1pm)

Free bus leaving from Kitchener City Hall (Duke & College) at 11am sharp, returning by 7pm*

Free bus leaving Ottawa from Bronson Centre (211 Bronson Ave.) at 8am sharp, returning by 9pm*

Kathleen Wynne is every inch a Liberal. She talks about poverty reduction while imposing deeper poverty on communities. She has been a leading member of the Government all along while social assistance (OW and ODSP) rates have lost even more of their spending power. She was a cabinet minister while the minimum wage was frozen, while the Special Diet was slashed and while the Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit was being eliminated. There is no question that the Liberals added their own misery to the brutal cuts that the Harris Tories imposed in 1995. Today a single person on Ontario Works is expected to survive on just $626 a month, while rent and cost of living continues to rise beyond reach.

As we head into another round of provincial elections in the spring, we will not be swayed by fake gestures and empty rhetoric from any politicians.

We’re going to march on the Convention to demand from all parties:
– Raise OW and ODSP 55% to restore the spending power lost since 1995!
– Provide a $14 an hour minimum wage fully indexed to inflation!
– Fully restore the Special Diet and Community Start Up Benefits!
– No merger of OW and ODSP, stop the attack on Disability benefits!

*Bagged lunches provided on the bus.  Ensuring this event is accessible to all is a priority – contact us to discuss details.

For more Information or to get on the bus, email forspecialdiet@gmail.com or find us at www.facebook.com/groups/PovertyMakesUsSick/.

 

Organized and Endorsed by: Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty, Kingston Coalition Against Poverty, Poverty Makes Us Sick Waterloo Region, Jane Finch Action Against Poverty, Parkdale Against Poverty, CUPE – Ontario, OPSEU, and more!

 

A Poor Peoples Inquiry, KW – Report Back

Poverty Makes Us Sick was pleased to host Put Food In The Budget on December 3rd for the Kitchener stop of A Poor Peoples Inquiry.  Inquiries are happening across the province, bringing folks together for discussion and action to unmask the myth of the Liberals Poverty Reduction Strategy and to address the fraudulent claim that Premier Wynne is the ‘Social Justice’ Premier. 

A PMUS organizer (who was due in real court the next day) participated as a Judge on the Tribunal.  As poor people are criminalized and funneled through the violence and indignity of the injustice system, PMUS accepted the opportunity to toy with the notion of naming as criminal those who generate poverty in Ontario.  Using our creativity is part of the path towards transformative justice.

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                                The Peoples Tribunal, with members of PMUS and PFTB

The packed court room pledged an ongoing commitment to the struggle to end poverty.  Look out for updates and follow up actions from Put Food In The Budget.  We will keep you posted about Wynne’s indictment for perjury.

Poverty Makes Us Sick’s demands remain the same, in concert with our allies in the Raise the Rates Campaign:

– No merger of OW and ODSP

– Autonomy for First Nations administration of social assistance funds

– Immediate increase in social assistance rates of at least 55%, restoring pre-Harris levels with inflation.

– Full restoration of the Special Diet Allowance and Community Start-up and Maintenance Benefit

– Immediate increase in minimum wage to at least $14

Poverty Makes Us Sick’s local demands:

– An end to PAVIS policing in our communities and a re-directing of police budget for vital social programs

– Income support for Refugee Claimants filing Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds Requests

– Affordable housing

– An end to the social cleansing policy and practices of police and BIA, in the march of gentrification

– A hault on LRT development until downloaded social assistance programs are funded

– A withdrawal of City Hall demands that the Wine Rack not serve certain people

– A freeze on development incentives such as tax breaks until social services are fully and sustainably funded

 

Crash the Consultations, Kitchener Report Back

 

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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.

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Leafleting to a supportive community

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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!”

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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. 

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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?

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We held the foyer and chanted.

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“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!

 

September 17th Raise the Rate Rally and Court Support Report-Back

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Our Community Responds to Attempts to Demobilize Resistance

MPP John Milloy’s office partnered with provincial prosecutors in Kitchener in an abuse of power aimed at disrupting our successful and ongoing mobilizing around the Raise the Rates campaign (see background).  With an amazing community response, a rally and court support event demonstrated that when it comes to disruption, our skills far exceed those of the local powers.

Following an uplifting meal and concert at Speakers Corner and a lively march to Regional Council and the police station, a sizable group marched right on into the tiny court house.  A large contingent of police, soft-tops, private security and detectives barred the mobs entry into the courtroom itself but disruption, speeches and chants could be heard by Ian and Julian throughout the closed door session.  The courtroom reverberated with resistance.

Julian Ichim of the SPOT Collective and Ian Stumpf of Poverty Makes Us Sick brought legal proceedings to a close in a manner of their own choosing.  There will be no trial, no fine and no inclusion of the irresponsible and ridiculous claims of hostage taking in the record of the proceedings.

Thanks to all who attended and gave energy to this day of action.  We are honoured to have received statements of support from Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty, Kingston Coalition Against Poverty, Ontario Federation of Labour, Kitchener Ontario Animal Liberation Alliance, Alliance Against Poverty and Common Cause KW.

We look forward to the Raise the Rates week of action, October 14-22!

Our Allies in Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty face two upcoming court dates for ‘trespassing’ tickets received during our joint struggle to save the CSUMB.  The S-CAP 11 are due in court October 28 and 31st.  More to come on this situation.

More photos from the September 17th Raise the Rates Rally and Court Support Action:

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Janice Lee, Singer/Songwriter, Poet, Activist : janicejolee.ca/

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Encouraging Regional Council to Resist the Downloading of the Responsibilities of CSUMB

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Julian speaking at the police station (division one)

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At the Court House – the old County Gaol.  Behind those doors disorder reclaimed the foyer.

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125 folks shared in a meal and concert.  Approximately 45 marched.  Our contributions are but a small piece of the amazing resistance taking place across Ontario.  We stand by Dr Wong and celebrate him for the enormous sacrifice he has made to improve the lives of so many suffering the injustices of social assistance in Ontario.

As Julian mentioned on the steps of the courthouse after the hearing, he is in court again on Monday, September 30th, facing serious charges based on his blog posts reflecting on the pre-G20 infiltration of KW activist networks.  Here is a brief video about Julian and his upcoming trial: www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTWqQvH8VCM.

PMUS Court Support & Raise the Rates Rally/March – September 17th – SAVE THE DATE

SAVE THE DATE!
On Tuesday, September 17th, Ian of Poverty Makes Us Sick begins his pre-trial hearing for the actions taken locally to restore the Community Start-up and Maintenance Benefit. Come out on the 17th to support Ian, to make sure the powers know that active resistance to the austerity attacks on the poor continues, and to demand that the CSUMB be fully restored. There will be rally outside the courthouse and a march, as well as court support opportunities inside.

MORE DETAILED INFO TO COME

Join us on Facebook and invite your friends to the event:  http://www.facebook.com/events/158378684353230/
Twitter:  @kwpmus

Our actions were a small contribution to the fight against austerity in Ontario.  Dr. Roland Wong has made an enormous difference in the lives of thousands in the province and remains steadfast in his resolve to promote health for all despite being targeted for his actions.  Let’s continue to stand in solidarity with him!

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