VIDEO: ‘WHO k i l l e d CANADA?’

December 10, 2008

Canadians who prefer truth over propaganda — and would like to have an idea why we are in this current crisis — should view this short, compelling, very informative video.  This is info that you won’t see anywhere in our mainstream media.   It is incumbent upon each and every one of us to be fully informed and inform your friends, family, neighbours, community. Ignorance is not an excuse!

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8632069635967998175


HEALTH RESOURCE: Poverty and Healthcare

October 8, 2008

Video from the September 18th forum:

Poverty and Healthcare

Poverty, income security, and health are intimately related. Join for a dynamic discussion on the growing income and health gap, the privatization of health care and what we can do about it.

  • Natalie Mehra, Director Ontario Health Coalition
  • John Clarke, Organizer Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
  • Laura Cowan, Executive Director Street Health
  • Doris Grinspun, Executive Director Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario

Hosted by Judy Rebick, CAW-Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy

Socialist Project website:
www.socialistproject.ca/video/#ls4

Google Video website:
video.google.ca/videoplay?docid=6021469576656758072


Toronto: Paul Croutch Memorial – Sept 15

September 6, 2008

PAUL CROUTCH MEMORIAL

12:00 Noon, Monday, September 15

MOSS PARK (North of Queen, between Jarvis & Sherbourne)

***FREE MEAL***

Paul Croutch, a homeless 59 year old psychiatric survivor, was beaten to death by military reservists next to Moss Park Armoury on August 31, 2005. The reservists also assaulted an under-housed woman who attempted to intervene to defend Paul.

Paul’s death is remembered as a symbol of ongoing human rights violations against homeless people, who continue to die at a horrifying rate in Toronto and across the Canada.

At noon on September 15, at Moss Park, we will remember Paul and others who have died as we continue to struggle for justice for all.

Those who know Paul and would like to speak are welcome.

*FREE MEAL*

*CHILD CARE AVAILABLE AT EVENT*

(please let us know ahead of time if possible)

Download the poster & see info on other upcoming events:

http://tdrc.net/index.php?page=upcoming-events

For more info, or for accessibility needs, contact TDRC:

TORONTO DISASTER RELIEF COMMITTEE (TDRC)
416-599-8372 | housingnotwar@tdrc.net
| www.HousingNotWar.ca
http://www.housingnotwar.ca/


Toronto Emergency Rally: Stop the Deaths – Wed, Aug.20th, 1pm

August 20, 2008

STOP THE DEATHS

Wednesday August 20 – 1pm
Outside the Coroner’s Office
15 Grosvenor Street
(West of Yonge, North of College)

Frank Julian, Carolyn Connolly, Dennis Bowen, Robert Maurice, Biniyam Selleshi…

In the last month, two more people in our community have died. We don’t want to have to bury another person from the neighbourhood. People are dying on the street and in shelters. People are dying in their apartments alone in the far corners of the city, with only a few dollars left a month
after their rent is paid because they were shipped out of the neighbourhood by Streets to Homes. No more people should have to die because the City has abandoned them to struggle and suffer in poverty. The City has to stop telling the public everything is okay. How can everything be okay when we have already lost four people this summer?! Why does the mayor and the City remain silent on our deaths?

We Need:

Decent Housing
Adequate Income
Food and Shelter

We must demand that the City take action to address these deaths and the daily hell and conditions people are experiencing.

Come out:

Wednesday August 20 – 1pm
Outside the Coroner’s Office
15 Grosvenor Street
(West of Yonge, North of College)

**
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
10 Britain St. Toronto, ON M5A 1R6
416-925-6939 ocap@tao.ca www.ocap.ca


OCAP Not Participating in Sham Consultations: Minister Matthews lies to legitimize secret ‘poverty meetings’

June 13, 2008

This is the latest News Release by OCAP about the sham Deb Matthews consultations on poverty that are taking place throughout Ontario. Poverty is increasing at an alarming rate, yet the McGuinty government is holding ‘consultations’: reviewing “how to best organize the current system of supports to ensure effective investment and more efficient administration.”

Sounds like a more time and money-wasting publicity campaign, to make it seem as if they are actually doing something, methinks… They’re still trying to get a ‘definition’ of poverty, for chrissake! Haven’t we been down that road many times before? What is there to define about poverty? All they have to do is ask the poor: the working poor who must choose between paying rent or buying food; the disabled subsisting on ODSP/OW rates that haven’t been adjusted for inflation for decades; the struggling single mother who can’t afford childcare and decent food; the senior whose meagre pension doesn’t allow him/her to turn the heat on in winter; the destitute soul with mental health problems housed in fleabag firetrap motels; the homeless person exposed to thugs and the elements; the children and adults on native reserves (Kashechewan, etc.) who are sickened by tainted water, toxic soil and mouldy housing; and so on and on… Go out into the real community, instead of holding sanitized invitation-only ’round-table discussions’ where real questions, suggestions, input and ideas are eschewed — and ASK! They’ll give Ms Matthews the ‘definition of poverty’, if indeed she lives in such a bubble that she does not know what POVERTY is. The time for these meaningless consultations has long passed. With the worsening economic situation poverty and homelessness will rise. We need action, not consultation!

A good start would be raising the minimum wage to at least $10/hour NOW! Raise the rates for ODSP/OW by 40%! Instead of giving millions to big corporations (like GM who then proceed to lay off workers anyway) use the taxpayer’s money to build affordable housing. Listen to the people on native reserves and fix the deplorable conditions that they must endure. Do something constructive, something real and start now! Not next year, or the year thereafter, but NOW!


OCAP Not Participating in Sham Consultations: Minister Matthews lies to legitimize secret ‘poverty meetings’

June 11, 2008 – Yesterday, during an interview with CBC’s Metro Morning, the Minister of Children and Youth Services, Deb Mathews, claimed the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty was invited to and attended a secret poverty consultation.

In reality, these meetings have been designed expressly to avoid interacting with anti-poverty groups like OCAP and with poor people in general. OCAP has never received an invitation to attend these private consultations. These meetings make no attempt to address systemic poverty in this province, rather they seek to allay the public’s concerns “within existing resources.”

“We don’t need to waste our time in secret consultations. We need a government that is actually going to do something about poverty,” says A.J. Withers, an OCAP Organizer. “We know what the problems are. Welfare and disability rates are too low, we need a livable minimum wage now, we need more affordable housing and we need the housing we do have to be in decent repair.”

The Liberal government would like the public to believe it will make real and substantial changes in people’s lives. Instead, this government continues to quietly chip away at crucial money and services. “While they talk about reducing poverty, the Liberals continue to let welfare and disability rates lose ground to inflation. They slashed the Special Diet supplement that let thousands of people eat healthier food, and they introduced the confusing Ontario Child Benefit that means parents probably won’t be able to buy coats for heir kids this winter,” says John Clarke of OCAP. “This is not a government that actually cares about poor people, it is a government trying to get political capital by talking a lot about us, but doing nothing for us,” Clarke says.

While Matthews is a liar, she was right about one thing: there have been protesters outside of her sham consultations, in cities all across Ontario. This month, in Toronto, we plan to be among them.


Ontario Coalition for Social Justice news and events around the GTA

May 2, 2008

This is the time of year when we all have innumerable things to do and meetings to attend before summer time. The exciting thing about poverty reduction is that so many people and groups are organizing, expressing their concerns, and pushing governments to actually do something to reduce poverty:

1) OCSJ ASSEMBLY MAY 10

FROM POVERTY TO ECONOMIC SECURITY

A Forum to Reduce Poverty in Ontario

Saturday, May 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

at USWA Hall, 25 Cecil St, Toronto

[south of College St., and 2 blocks west of subway stop at College &

University]

Agenda highlights (more info to follow):

• Shine a light on poverty in the province

• Recommend ways to reduce poverty and increase social justice

• Learn about the Provincial Government’s plans for poverty

reduction — with Cheri DiNovo, MPP (Parkdale-High Park) and we have also

invited the Cabinet Committee on Poverty Reduction to send a

representative.

• Mobilize for public input into the process

Open at no cost to all activists interested in social justice — labour,

student, aboriginal, women, ethno-racial, and other equity-seeking groups

2) ONTARIO GOVERNMENT & POVERTY REDUCTION

Deb Matthews, MPP (London North Centre), as Chair of Ontario’s Cabinet

Committee on Poverty Reduction, is clearly the committee’s public voice in

explaining its intentions about consulting people to develop

recommendations within this year to reduce poverty in the province. The

Minister spoke to very well attended meetings last week which were

organized by the 25 in 5 network and also by ISARC.

It was frustrating for community groups that the Cabinet Committee did not

take advantage of those highly publicized events to announce its

consultation schedule. However, we are assured that the schedule will be

announced soon.

3) LABOUR & COMMUNITY CONCERNS ABOUT POVERTY

**ABORIGINALS

One current dispute between aboriginals in Ontario and authorities in

Government concerns aboriginal land rights and their assumption that

consulting them is an elementary right before a mining company, for

example, uses lands that they claim belong to them.

In northwestern Ontario, the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inniuwig (KI) aboriginals,

and around Sharbot Lake west of Ottawa, the Ardoch Algonquin aboriginals,

are opposing the drilling for minerals on their lands. Yet despite their

peaceful claims, leaders of the bands in each region have been sentenced

to six months in jail because of their public claims. Apparently, both

the Premier and the Ontario Attorney General (AG) have offered the

aboriginal leaders money to fight these disputes legally, but Mr. McGuinty

and Mr. Bryant each claim that they cannot interfere with a court process,

and so cannot order the aboriginal leaders’ release.

**CANADIAN AUTO WORKERS

The Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) are initiating campaign schools to focus

on retaining jobs as part of the union’s campaign to help its members, but

as part of its strong belief that jobs, especially good jobs that offer

benefits to workers too, is one of the best ways to eradicate poverty. As

well, the CAW is encouraging municipalities to adopt a policy to buy

Canadian products for all public purchases as a further means of

protecting jobs in the province.

A series of schools began this past weekend for workers in St.

Catharine’s, Niagara Falls, Welland, Thorold, and Pelham in the Niagara

region, and schools will also be held in Kitchener-Waterloo on May 3, in

Windsor on May 10, and in Oshawa on May 24.

**COLLEGE PART-TIME WORKERS

The organizing by OPSEU staff among 12,500 part-time workers at community

colleges to join the union has been recognized at last by John Milloy, MPP

(Kitchener Centre), Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges, &

Universities. The Minister said yesterday that the government plans to

introduce legislation this spring permitting the workers to gain

bargaining rights.

**COMMUNITY MOBILIZING

##The 25 in 5 forum on poverty reduction on April 14 attracted almost 500

activists who urged the Ontario Government to take serious action now on

reducing poverty. The network’s principles and actions are available at

Toronto’s social planning council website at

##The Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition (ISARC) attracted a

further 100 activists from faith communities to urge the Government to

accomplish the same goal.

ISARC will be consulting local faith groups with whom they work to

organize meetings where people will be able to discuss how faith groups

can contribute to urging government action. Its tour is to be planned for

London, Hamilton, Ottawa, Sault Ste. Marie, and Thunder Bay.

Minister Deb Matthews spoke at each of these forums, and stayed long

enough at each one to hear from a number of diverse activists, including

persons living in poverty, persons receiving each of Ontario Works and

Ontario Disability Support Program income.

##The Social Planning Network of Ontario (SPNO) has been consulting with a

number of communities about co-operative action on urging government

action and will continue to do so in a location to be announced for

talking with Canadian Association of Community Living on April 24, in

Cambridge on April 25, in Cornwall on April 28, and in Ottawa on May 7.

Details, times, and contact information for these meetings can be found at

a new website initiated by the SPNO called Poverty Watch Ontario and

**ENVIRONMENT & WATER

##The Ontario Ministry of the Environment has renewed a permit granting a

unit of Nestle Canada Inc the right to continue extracting up to 3,600,000

litres of groundwater each day near Guelph to then sell as spring water.

This decision raises so many issues, like the token fees paid by a

transnational corporation to profit from water which may be needed by the

increasing population in the Guelph region, that it defies rational

belief! Local concerns can be read at the website of Wellington Water

##A much more positive decision for the health of students and staff at

schools in the Waterloo Region was taken by the District School Board

which has banned the sale of plastic bottles of water in its schools as of

next year.

**IMMIGRANTS / REFUGEES

##There are increasing numbers of unions and community groups which are

expressing their criticisms of the federal government’s proposed

amendments to the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act as

amounting to giving the Immigration Minister far too much power and

discretion about who and how many persons will be allowed to enter Canada.

The Canadian Arab Federation, the Chinese Canadian National Council, the

union UNITE HERE, and the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) are some

of the increasing numbers of critics.

One clear event that will attract many people is being organized by No One

Is Illegal for a rally on May 3, cited below in the events section.

##An excellent Federal Tax Court judgment was issued a few days ago in

B.C. whereby the judge criticized the widespread exploitation of migrant

agricultural workers as reminiscent of scenes from author John Steinbeck’s

The Grapes of Wrath. The determined work by the United Food & Commercial

Workers (UFCW) across the country, including in both Ontario and B.C., and

also the community activists from Justicia 4 Migrant Workers, will be able

to rely on this judgment for their advocacy for migrant workers from now

forwards.

4) POVERTY: FOCUS OF COMMITTEE OF PARLIAMENT

Parliament’s HUMA Committee (Human Resources and Social Development) has

begun its study on a poverty plan for Canada. The committee plans 3 or 4

meetings to discuss an overview of poverty in Canada; 2 to 4 meetings to

compare poverty in Canada with that in countries like the U.K. and

Ireland, from which Canada may learn ideas which could be used here; and 6

to 10 meetings to discuss how the federal government can contribute to a

poverty reduction strategy in Canada.

To ask to appear, or to learn about submitting a written brief, contact

HUMA Committee clerk Jacques Mazaide, Room 6-37, 131 Queen Street, House

of Commons, Ottawa, Ont K1A 0A6, Tel: (613) 996-1542, Fax: (613) 992-1962,

or E-mail: HUMA@parl.gc.ca

An active M.P. from Ontario on the committee is Tony Martin, M.P. (Sault

Ste. Marie) assisted by Rick Prashaw, Tony’s Legislative Assistant,

available at MartiTo0@parl.gc.ca Information about the hearings is

available on Tony’s website

5) FAIR VOTE IN ONTARIO

The numerous supporters of a fairer voting system for Ontario, and for

other provinces, as well as for the federal level of government, are

rejuvenating the campaign in Ontario to stimulate public awareness of the

need for changing or reforming the voting system. Activists in Fair Vote

Ontario are interested in discussing their concerns in meetings and events

and are planning now to organize a major public forum next autumn to

highlight what is needed to be done to achieve change.

Information about these concerns, and also how to join others in your

neighbourhood to learn about and to support change, is available at

6) EVENTS

May 3

The Toronto & York Region Labour Council and its Equity Committee

is hosting the sixth Workers of Colour and Aboriginal Workers’ conference.

It starts at 9:00 a.m., costs $40 including lunch, and takes place at the

OFL building, 15 Gervais Dr. For information, contact Ana Fonseca at

afonseca@labourcouncil.ca or at (416) 441-3663 x221.

May 3

No One Is Illegal is organizing a rally at 12:00 p.m. at Christie

Pits Park, across from the Christie subway stop in Toronto, to protest

unfair deportations of immigrants and refugees to Canada.

May 10 The OCSJ spring assembly and AGM will take place from 10:00 a.m.

till 4:00 p.m. in Toronto at the Steelworkers’ Hall at 25 Cecil St., near

the Queen’s Park subway stop. For information, contact John Argue at

info@ocsj.ca or (416) 441-3714.

May 10

The London and District Labour Council is hosting a joint activist

forum from 10:00 a.m. till 1:00 p.m., in the common room of the Tolpuddle

Housing Co-op at 380 Adelaide St. N. The forum title is “Turning

globalization around with grass-roots activists”, with a Latin American

focus because of concerns in London about what’s happening in Colombia, in

particular, and incidentally, the city’s increasing Spanish-speaking

population. Information about the forum is available from (519) 645-3108.

John Argue, Co-ordinator

Ontario Coalition for Social Justice

15 Gervais Dr., #305

Toronto, Ont., M3C 1Y8

(416) 441-3714


MADRE: The US-Colombia Unfair Trade Agreement

April 2, 2008

This info and action alert comes from MADRE:

The US-Colombia Unfair Trade Agreement: Just Say No!

Link to petition: http://madre.kintera.org/petition

With Congress back in session, the Bush Administration is pushing hard to pass another trade agreement based on the failed NAFTA model, this time with Colombia. The Administration is in a race against public opinion, which is quickly turning against the kind of neoliberal trade deals that have worsened poverty and inequality in every country where they have been implemented and led to a massive loss of jobs in the United States. The proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Colombia promises more of the same. The deal will also strengthen Colombia’s government, which is responsible for severe human rights violations.

With more and more people–in Latin America and in the US–becoming aware of the repercussions of unfair trade rules, now is the time to take action and demand change.

Please sign our petition asking Congress to vote No on the US-Colombia FTA. Let your representatives know that a vote for this trade agreement is a vote for:

1. Worsening Rural Poverty and Hunger

The FTA cuts tariffs on food imported from the US but benefits only the few Colombian farmers who export to the US. Moreover, the deal bars the Colombian government from subsidizing farmers, while large-scale US corn and rice growers enjoy billions in subsidies. These double standards guarantee that US agribusiness can undersell Colombian farmers, who will face bankruptcy as a result. Many of Colombia’s small-holder farmers are women and Indigenous Peoples who are losing their livelihoods and being forced off their lands.

2. Fueling Armed Conflict and Drug Trafficking

The intertwined crises of poverty, landlessness and inequality are at the root of Colombia’s 50-year armed conflict. The FTA will further concentrate wealth in the hands of a few while worsening poverty for millions of people. Many Colombian farmers, whose livelihoods will be destroyed by the FTA, will be compelled to cultivate coca (the raw material for producing cocaine) to earn a living.

Continuing a trend begun in the wake of 9-11, the US has cast the FTA as a matter of its “national security,” and the Colombian government has followed suit by treating anyone opposed to the deal as a terrorist. Colombia’s workers, Afro-Colombians and Indigenous Peoples have taken a clear position against the FTA. Their peaceful protests have been met with severe repression, including murder.

3. Repressing Labor Rights

Colombia is already the world’s deadliest country for trade unionists, with more than 2,000 labor activists killed since 1991. The FTA does not require Colombia to meet international core labor standards; it merely calls on the government to abide by its own weak labor laws. Without enforceable labor protections, the trade deal will put more workers at risk. US workers’ power to negotiate better wages will also be weakened by a deal that allows corporations operating in Colombia to keep labor costs down through sheer violence.

4. Exacerbating Climate Change and Threatening Biodiversity

The FTA will increase logging in the Colombian Amazon, weakening the rainforest’s capacity to stabilize the Earth’s climate. Under provisions sought by the US, corporations that have bought the rights to a country’s forests, fishing waters, mineral deposits or oil reserves can totally deplete these resources, with grave consequences to ecosystems and the many species that inhabit them. Small-scale farmers and Indigenous Peoples who depend directly on these natural resources will be the first people to suffer.

5. Subordinating National Sovereignty to Corporations

By allowing corporations to sue governments for passing laws that could reduce profits, the FTA erodes Colombia’s prerogative to regulate foreign investment and undermines citizens’ chances of improving health, safety and environmental laws. In anticipation of the FTA, the US pressed Colombia to pass a law that would expropriate land from Indigenous and Afro-Colombians and allow multinational corporations to gain control of millions of hectares of rainforest. The forestry law was part of a series of constitutional “reforms” undertaken to meet the conditions of a US trade agreement. In January 2008, Colombian civil society won an important victory: the forestry law was struck down as a violation of Indigenous rights. Had the FTA already been in place, US corporations would now be allowed to sue the Colombian government for “lost future profits.”

6. Deteriorating Public Health

By extending patent rights on medicines produced in the US, the FTA hinders the use of far cheaper generic drugs and puts life-saving medicines out of reach for millions of Colombians. Women, who are over-represented among the poor and primarily responsible for caring for sick family members, are particularly harmed by this provision.

7. Loss of Vital Public Services

The FTA requires the Colombian government to sell off critical public services, including water, healthcare and education. Elsewhere in Latin America, this kind of privatization has resulted in sharp rate increases by new corporate owners that deny millions of people access to essential services. Women are hardest hit because it is most often their responsibility to meet their families’ needs for such basic services.

8. Harming Indigenous Women

The FTA would enable corporations to exploit Indigenous Peoples’ traditional knowledge by allowing companies to patent seeds, plants, animals and certain medical procedures developed and used by Indigenous women over centuries. Under the FTA, Indigenous women could lose access to important medicinal plants and agricultural seeds unless they pay royalties to patent holders. Indigenous women’s role as the protectors of their community’s natural resources and traditional knowledge would be eroded, threatening Indigenous cultures and women’s status within the community.

There Are Viable Alternatives to Free Trade Agreements

Despite more than a decade of failed NAFTA-style trade deals, the US continues to insist that its trading partners adhere to rigid neoliberal economic policies. But Latin America’s social movements are articulating viable alternatives for regulating trade and economic integration in ways that benefit women, families, communities and the environment. The women of MADRE’s sister organizations in Colombia and throughout Latin America affirm the need for Fair Trade Agreements that:

1. Are negotiated through democratic processes with effective participation from communities that will be impacted, including women’s organizations.
2. Ensure that life-sustaining resources such as water, food staples and medicinal plants are guaranteed to all people and not reduced to commodities.
3. Ensure that access to basic services, including health care, housing, education, water and sanitation, are recognized as human rights that governments are obligated–and empowered–to protect.
4. Institute the region’s highest, rather than lowest, standards for labor rights and health, safety and environmental protections.
5. Adopt principles of “fair trade,” including social security and development assistance programs that protect small farmers and workers and that recognize the economic value of women’s unpaid labor in the household.
6. Require foreign investors to contribute to the economic development of the communities where they have a presence.
7. Promote policies that respect local cultures and collective Indigenous rights and that preserve traditional agricultural techniques and biodiversity in agriculture and nature.
8. Recognize the links between economic growth, environmental sustainability and building peace.