Posts Tagged ‘ Waterloo ’

Ontario Liberal Convention, 2014

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                                   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

 

Fair Wages Now – Participate in the ‘A Million Reasons’ social media campaign!

The good folks at Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services launched a social media campaign to fight for $14 Now.  We endorse this action.  Please participate.  There call out reads:

In support of raising the minimum wage campaign, we asked people to tell us one reason why we need fair wages and/or why we need minimum wage in Ontario to be increased to $14/hr (enough to lift working people out of poverty).  This included people stuck in minimum wage jobs as well as providers and sector leaders.have started documenting their answers in a visual photo/film documentary using social media. Please take a moment to visit our facebook page ‘A Million Reasons Why?’: https://www.facebook.com/Amillionreason . Please share, “like” and add your comments.

 You can also post your own photo/reason by following these simple steps:

1.     In a blank sheet of paper, write down one reason why you feel we need fair minimum wage and/or why we need minimum wage in Ontario to be increased to $14/hr (enough to lift working people out of poverty)

2.     Ask a colleague/friend to take a photo of you holding your written response to the camera. (If you want to remain anonymous, you can cover your face with the paper).

3.     Upload photo to https://www.facebook.com/Amillionreason or on twitter with hashtag #14now

4.     Share broadly. 

The photos will eventually be compiled into a film.

We will send these directly to Premier Kathleen Wynne and Yasir Naqvi, Ontario Minister of Labour.

Many of you are aware that the Ontario government is at the final stages of making a decision on minimum wage policy for Ontario following the release of the recommendations by the Minimum Wage Advisory Panel. While the Premier was committed to create a minimum wage that is fair for workers, there are indications the minimum wage may only be increased to $11. http://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2014/01/27/kathleen_wynne_objects_to_14_minimum_wage.html

This still puts minimum wage workers well below poverty line. As per panel’s recommendation, the government seems committed to increasing the minimum wage annually indexed to inflation. For this to be effective, bold leadership is needed to sufficiently increase the current minimum wage so it is benchmarked to above-poverty line, effective immediately. Marginal and delayed increase will fail to provide a permanent solution.

Please join us in this social media initiative and add your say. Every voice counts at this critical moment. Premier Wynne tweeted that she is carefully listening to what people have to say on this.

Raise the Minimum Wage – December 14th report back, KW

December 14th, 2013: The fifth consecutive monthly province-wide day of action action (held on the 14th of every month to win fair wages) saw another successful mobilization in Waterloo Region.  The local efforts have received overwhelmingly positive support from the community and this event was no different.

In an event organized by Poverty Makes Us Sick and Waterloo Labour Council, with the strong support of Kitchener Ontario Animal Liberation Alliance, activists dressed as elves and distributed campaign fliers attached to candy-canes to happy holiday consumers at Fairview Park Mall in Kitchener.  Some shoppers also took time to write holiday cards to Premier Kathleen Wynne asking for economic justice in the new year.  Again this month, we were greeted warmly by an informed public. Waterloo Region is making itself clear and calling for Fair Wages Now!

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Worker-Elves withstood the cold and snow to greet the people and promote Fair Wages. Hundreds of candy-canes, fliers and postcards were distributed to receptive and supportive shoppers at Kitchener’s busy Fairview Mall.  With the Harper Regime claiming the North Pole as its territory, its more important than ever that workers in Ontario stand in solidarity with Santa’s workshop employees.

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See a round-up of the 18+ events held across Ontario on December 14th, here.

Kitchener-Waterloo has been active in the Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage since its public launch on March 21 and has held monthly actions on the 14th of every month, as part of province-wide days of action beginning in August.  On September 24th Poverty Makes Us Sick hosted a presentation by Toronto’s Workers Action Centre on the campaign which brought together community members, grassroots, labour and social organizations to build a sustainable local mobilization to win fair wages.  Waterloo Region continues to grow a strong network.  We are part of a vibrant province wide campaign that is poised to win Fair Wages Now!  We encourage everyone to join in!

To get involved with this vital campaign in KW, contact Poverty Makes Us Sick:
forspecialdiet@gmail.com

Learn about the Province-wide campaign, here.

Send a Tweet, email or Facebook message to Premier Wynne right now!

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

forspecialdiet@gmail.com

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