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OCAP Rally – Raise the Rates

Today there was a rally.  It was like most of the rallies.  We had food, banners and a drummer, high spirits and unknown destinations, as usual. lol  There were a lot of the usual faces, but some new – seemed to me that there were more elderly folks there this time.  There was a lot of press and police, horses included.  It wasn’t the biggest rally I’ve been to, but it had something the other rallies didn’t have.

It had children!  City View Alternative school brought students.  They are doing research and a project on where the money goes.  The rich versus the poor.  They made a banner that read Hey McGuinty, we get it, why can’t you?  From the mouths of babes. 🙂  They did a small skit using chairs.  Each chair represented 10% of the money, and they had one child in each.  They made one fellow a king and through cuts and such – they slowly moved the rest of the children all down to one end chair, sitting one on top of the other.  This was to show that all those children represented all the people who have 10% of the money in society, and the King had the remaining parts.   I think that’s what they did.  It was hard to tell with streetcars passing us and being on the opposite side of the road.  Each time a streetcar passed and blocked our view, the crowd got upset.  We were all watching the children.  How can they, the government, ignore that?

The real difference was the children in this rally.  People were watching them, cheering them.  Moods were lifted to see them.  It sent a strong message.  These are your future voters, they are the ones learning about what you are doing.  They will run this country.  They were there to be heard.  They understand that the math does not add up, why can’t the government?  It’s common sense – and the kids, they get it.

We started at Nathan Phillip’s Square and crossed the street to chant and protest as we were told Dwight Duncan was in that building.   We then marched up University and over to Wellesley and Bay.  For the most part, it didn’t feel as though we made any progress or changed the world, and my feet hurt.   It felt like we did the same thing we always do… with the same results – and we all know what Einstein said about that.  Definition of insanity.  I think there needs to be some creativity.

For Immediate Release – Today

For Immediate Release
August 30th, 2010

OCAP Demands: ‘Drop the Charges, Restore the Special
Diet and Raise the Rates!’

When:  Monday, August 30, 9:00 AM
Where: Outside College Park Court (College and Yonge)

Nine of the eleven OCAP members and supporters charged after entering the Liberal Party HQ last month, will be in Court today.  They are facing charges of mischief and forcible entry over a brief office occupation. Two other people, facing trespass summonses over the same incident, have already had a court appearance but will be present on Monday.

The court appearance is intended as one to set a date and, possibly, to provide disclosure around the charges.  However, such heavy-handed charges, coming in the wake of the G20, are seen as a continuation of the process of criminalizing dissent. OCAP is calling on the Attorney General to drop all July 21st and G20 related charges and will be gathering in front of the Court at 9.00 AM to deliver this message publicly.

It is expected that any day now the Liberal Government will announce the sham ‘replacement’ program it will use to justify the end of the Special Diet Allowance. The cut of the Special Diet is the denial of vital income to hundreds of thousands of people on Social Assistance in Ontario. The Attorney General upholds criminal charges against people for walking into an office and putting a banner out of a window, while the Government has taken a measure that will make people homeless, wreck their health and shorten their lives.

“They will not be able to use the courts to silence or intimidate us as we build the challenge to this vicious social cutback” says OCAP Organizer, John Clarke.

Contact: Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
Cell: 416-826-4796
Office: 416-925-6939

Drop the Charges! Restore the Special Diet, Raise the Rates NOW!

Drop the Charges!  Restore the Special Diet, Raise the Rates NOW!

When: Monday, August 30, 9:00 AM
Where: Outside College Park Court (College and Yonge)


Nine of the eleven people arrested and charged last
month over a brief occupation of the Liberal Party
headquarters are set to appear in court on Monday.
They are accused of mischief and forcible entry.
OCAP and allies will gather in front of the
courthouse to condemn these charges and demand
they be dropped, along with trespass summonses
that were issued to two
others at the Liberal offices.

This is a ‘set date’ appearance when it is normal
to provide another court date and (sometimes)
provide the accused with ‘disclosure’, i.e. the
evidence the Crown intends to introduce at trial.
We are demanding of the Liberal Attorney General
(Chris Bentley), however, that this date be used
to drop these inflated and politically motivated
charges, just as we
demand he drop all remaining G20 charges.

On July 21st, eleven people went into an office,
delivered an ‘invoice of money owing to poor people
in Ontario’ to the Liberal Party, opened a
window, hung a banner and made a speech to the
crowd outside. In the wake of the G20, cops and
prosecutors are continuing to try and silence anyone
who speaks out against government cutbacks and social
injustice, and instead are working to criminalize
resistance to government austerity. It has become
clear that this era of austerity will be enforced
and backed with lines of cops.

If we are going to talk about crimes, let us
instead look at the reason OCAP went to the Liberal offices.
The McGuinty Government is eliminating the Special Diet that
hundreds of thousands of poor people have used for food
and to preserve their health when forced to live on
despicably inadequate OW and ODSP rates.  We disrupted
the office of the Liberal Party that took this
measure for a brief period.  The Liberal Government,
however, has outright robbed poor people of the ability
to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.
We may have somewhat inconvenienced a few Liberal
functionaries while McGuinty’s Government took a measure
that will wreck peoples’ health and shorten their lives.
It will inevitably increase poverty, hunger, and homelessness.

We demand decent income for people on social assistance and the right to a
life with dignity. We challenge those who seek to criminalize our social
movements.  More than anything, we want to make clear that we are not
intimidated and that the struggle against poverty and those to blame for it
will not be prevented.  It will continue and it will grow.

JOIN the Raise the Rates Campaign
Contact: Ontario Coalition Against Poverty / 416-925-6939

DONATE to the Raise the Rates Legal Fund:
Cheques can be made out to the ‘Ontario Coalition Against Poverty’ (with
‘legal fund’ in the memo) and mailed to:
10 Britain St.
Toronto, ON
M5A 1R6


This is actually where I’m going tomorrow..
but I just got this email and it’s mentioned below… South Riverdale
for a meal then a march to Don Jail. 🙂


August 10th, 2010 marks the 35th anniversary of Prisoners Justice Day.
On August 10th, 1974 Eddie Nalon bled to death in a solitary confinement unit at Millhaven Penitentiary in Kingston, Ontario.
The emergency call button in his cell failed to work.
An inquest into his death found that many call buttons in the unit were broken.
The guards had also deactivated the receiving mechanism in the control tower.
In 1975 on the first anniversary of Eddie’s death, prisoners at Millhaven went on a one-day hunger strike,
refused work and held a memorial service, even at risk of punishment.

On May 21, 1976 another prisoner, Bobby Landers, died in the same
segregation unit at Millhaven. Landers, active in the struggle for
Prisoners Rights at Archambault Penitentiary, was involuntarily
transferred to Millhaven and thrown in the hole.  He had a heart attack,
but the call buttons had still not been repaired and staff ignored his pleas.

Prisoners continue to observe August 10th each year. Community groups and family members gather outside prisons in solidarity.
It is a day of protest against all deaths in custody, the inhumane use of solitary confinement,
racist policing, the detention and deportation of immigrants and refugees, the taking of land through colonization
and the criminalization of First Nations defence of their territories, the denial of justice for Aboriginal women
and transpeople, the distructive effects of prison, poverty and homelessness, the separation of families, security certificates,
tasers for prison guards and cops, the over-incarceration for people who use drugs or involved in sex work,
the over-incarceration of people living with disabilities (especially people with mental health issues and learning disabilities)
and the medical neglect of prisoners with HIV/AIDS and the lack of harm reduction in prison.
We would also like to highlight the incarceration of people with disabilities in provincial
institutions, nursing homes, psychiatric facilitites and other abusive institutions.
It is a call for alternatives to incarceration – at a time when governments are enacting repressive
U.S. style get-tough-on-crime laws to build more prisons despite a falling crime rate.

Join us for speakers, performers and a candlelight vigil at dusk when we read the names of prisoners who have died.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 6:30pm
Outside the Toronto Don Jail 550 Gerrard Street East

*Join us for speakers, performers and a candlelight vigil at dusk when we
read the names of those we have lost to the prison system.

Other events on August 10th include:

August 10th is the day prisoners and their supporters honour the memory of
those who have died in prison, and express solidarity with those who
demand changes to a criminal justice system that dehumanizes and
brutalizes them.  As members of the community we are reminded to “hate the
sin – yet love the sinner”, and so we shall gather on this day to honour
every inmate of prisons everywhere and hope you will be able to join us.

Please join us as we honour Prisoners Justice Day

Tuesday August 10, 2010
11 am – 6 pm
Holy Trinity Anglican Church
(10 Trinity Square, Bay & Queen – behind the Eaton Centre)

Sponsored by:
Toronto Bishop’s Working Group on Justice and Corrections
The Bridge Prison Ministry
John Howard Society – Toronto
Toronto Restorative Justice Conference
Toronto Harm Reduction Task Force
Holy Trinity Anglican Church
South Riverdale Community Health Center
August 10th 2010 marks the 35th year of Prisoners Justice Day. On this day
we remember those who have died behind bars. It is a day where prisoners
refuse to work, and communities come together to publicly oppose prison,
police violence, and the criminalization of our communities.

A vigil, discussion and free supper will be held at South Riverdale
Community Health Centre on August 10th  from 4-5:30 pm in the A/B room.
Afterwards we will walk in procession to the Don Jail for the 6:30pm
Please share this information with community members and partner
organizations. All staff and community members are welcome to attend.

If you are interested in volunteering with food preparation and set-up
for this event, please let us know.
Molly Bannerman –
Zoe Dodd –
South Riverdale Community Health Centre
955 Queen Street East, Toronto at Carlaw Street
June 14, 1976
To all Prisoners and Concerned Peoples from across Canada:

On August 10th, 1976, the Prisoners of Millhaven Maximum Security Prison
will stage a one day hunger strike in remembrance of our two fallen
comrades, EDWARD NALON and ROBERT LANDERS, who died in Millhaven
segregation  on August 10th, 1974 and May 21st, 1976, respectively, and in
remembrance of all our fellow comrades and brothers and sisters from
prisons across the country who died in the hands of an apathetic prison
system and its people.Furthermore, it is a protest against the Millhaven
Administration, the Canadian Penitentiary Service, and the Members of
Parliament for their continued indifference to the recommendation of the
Inquest Jury made at the inquest into Edward Nalon´s death. The
recommendations concerned Emergency First Aid Procedure, medical and
psychiatric treatment for solitary confinement prisoners and that the
emergency signal systems in the cells and the time clock which assures
regularity in range patrols be made functional and that steps be taken to
provide that they remain functional. None of these recommendations were
enacted by the above mentioned authorities.We protest against the
continuous inhumane use of solitary confinement  and the repeated
whitewashing by spineless individuals in the Government who are forever
having inquiries into the use of solitary and its effects on a person´s
mental and physical state and then hide the real facts of its use from the
people.We call upon our Brothers and Sisters from all prisons across the
country, and upon all concerned peoples of Canada, to give their support
to our one day hunger strike in remembrance of our comrades and to UNITE

ONE VOICE IN OUR STRUGGLE for better understanding…compassion and EQUAL

Signed, Jack McNeil & Howard Brown
For the Prisoners of Millhaven

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
10 Britain St. Toronto, ON  M5A 1R6

July 21, OCAP Rally

So… on Wednesday we attended a rally and march.  It was put on by OCAP (Ontario Coalition Against Poverty).

Our Banner

Our Banner

When we arrived at 900 Bay – it was a rally – and then there was an announcement that we were going on a march – to an undisclosed location!!!  Now you’re talking!  lol  Off we went!  I thought things were a little odd when we turned down a street that they don’t normally march on. lol  And I was right!  Next thing I know there is a banner dropped out of a window in a building beside us and John Clarke is speaking on a microphone!!!  MY John Clarke!  lol

John Clarke at the Liberal's Office

John Clarke at the Liberal's Office

There were ten people that went inside the Liberal’s office… and they all ended up illegally arrested.  One woman was in a wheelchair, Anne.. and she uses a board to point at for speaking.  Her assistant speaks vocally for her.  They detained both women for longer than the others and even separated them upstairs.



This is a human rights violation!  Both women were later released and charged.

Anne and Her Assistant

Anne and Her Assistant

Anne is a very outspoken individual!  lol  She’s very feisty… the police assumed that she was being used by OCAP – that she didn’t have a brain… well, she told us all in no uncertain terms just what she thought of THAT!  lol  Even used the F word.  lol  She said they were able-ist creeps!

From there we all went to the police station, 52 Division, where the others were being held.  We waited for a few hours, but in the end we were told that all would be held overnight.  They went to court the next morning…so we went home.

Stop the Special Diet Cut

July 21: Stop The Special Diet Cut
Submitted by ocap on Thu, 06/03/2010 – 14:25.

* Actions and Demonstrations
* Special Diet

…On June 26th the G20 met in Toronto with the government spending over $1 billion on the summit. This money funded the militarization of our city, security fees, promotional stunts involving a fake lake, lavish dinners and hotels for world leaders and their entourages. That weekend, in response to the G20 meeting, tens of thousands of people demonstrated on the streets of Toronto despite police violence and extreme intimidation. We know all too well that these attempts to criminalize and brutalize will continue in the daily violence that poor communities, people of colour, and First Nations communities face.

On June 25th – 27th, we demonstrated not just against the cost of hosting the G20 meetings in our city – but against the plans and decisions that were being made behind the security perimeter inside that armed camp. We protested because we know that the policies of the G20 affect poor people every day: decisions to fund security and prisons instead of schools and community centres, decisions to cut public services, childcare and welfare at the same time as giving huge tax breaks to corporations and banks. Decisions that serve the interests of wealth at our expense.

…..The $1.2 billion dollars wasted on the G20 summit in Toronto could have:
-Funded the Special Diet Allowance for OVER 5 YEARS
-Housed everyone who is currently homeless in Toronto (10 000 people)
PLUS everyone on the waiting list for social housing (70 000) for OVER A YEAR!

When governments choose to spend money on a weekend of meetings and policing instead of housing and social services – it sends a message loud and clear of what their priorities are. At the Toronto meeting, G20 leaders agreed to cut deficits in half by 2013. They have called for ‘austerity measures’, which is code for massive cutbacks. This agreement is going to mean a major attack on our communities in the way of huge social cutbacks, criminalization, and more. In Ontario, austerity measures have already begun – a key example of this is the McGuinty Liberals’ decision to cut the Special Diet Allowance in the name of ‘reducing the deficit’ in this year’s Provincial budget. This government chose to cut a food benefit for people who live on shamefully inadequate welfare (OW) and disability (ODSP) rates – rates that were cut by Harris in 1995 and have never been restored. People today are forced to try to survive on welfare rates that are 55% below what they should be!

What the Special Diet cut means:
-Poor people lose $200 million for food: the entire Social Assistance program will be cut by 3%
-Single people on OW getting the full Special Diet lose 30% of their income, on ODSP, its 19%
-Dalton McGunity has cut welfare for only the 3rd time in Ontario’s history
-We will see a rapid increase in homelessness, hunger, illness, and desperation
-At the same time, corporations have been given a $4.6 billion dollar tax break over the next 3 years!

These are the G20 policies at work in our Province. The time to negotiate with the Liberal Government has come to an end, the time to challenge them is now. We need to keep our Special Diets, and we need to force a raise in welfare and disability rates now so that people can live with health and dignity.

G20 leaders, the Federal Tories, and the Provincial Liberals think that they can offload deficits on to poor people by cutting funding to programs that we need and gutting the public sector. They are trying to force us to pay for a crisis we didn’t create. In the same way that we came together on June 25th – 27th, we can and must do it again as the government begins to implement austerity measures on the local level. We have to resist them every step of the way; when they say cutback – we say FIGHT BACK!

Get involved in July 21st: Contact OCAP to organize outreach in your neighborhood or to build for a bus or contingent on the day.
Click here to listen to OCAP organizer John Clarke interviewed on OCAP radio about the cuts and how they fit into the neoliberal agenda, and why the time is ripe for us to organize and fight back.

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) / 416-925-6939

June 25th Rally and March!

It was a chore just to get there.  🙂  I got on the subway and they had closed from Woodbine to Broadview.  This meant waiting on a shuttle bus – that never came.  Luckily I know my way around the city and went around.

I really enjoyed this!  The rally was peaceful, there was music and laughter… people coming together with hopes – a gathering of like minded souls.  There were some incredibly creative methods of getting messages out there.

Women and Maternity Rights Women and Maternity Rights
Women and Maternity Rights

This guy had a body attached to his behind.. with the head vanishing up the..ahem.

This guy had a body attached to his behind.. with the head vanishing up the..ahem.



All Sort of Music

All Sort of Music

Then we got to hear John Clarke speak – and I just adore him!  He is one of THE best speakers I’ve ever heard on ANY topic.  He is so motivating and I’m lucky to have heard him three times now.

John Clarke, OCAP
John Clarke, OCAP

The march began!  We all knew it was risky going in, and everyone was ready.  The police presence was huge, as was expected – but I was surprised there weren’t any police on horses or bikes – the last march saw them in abundance.   The march was incredible.  We took the same route as the last march – which means up Carlton, past Yonge… and through there – if you know the area – it’s like a huge wind tunnel with all the tall buildings on either side.  This time was magnificent.  The chanting echo climbing up the buildings, empowering.  People gathered on their balconies and on the sidewalk, cheering and taking pictures.

The March

The March

Once we were about to cross Yonge Street the problems started.  The police had – unbeknownst to us until a whispered rumor trickled down the line – started forcing the marchers back to from whence it came. lol  But the back, where we were close to, was still going forward.  I noticed a lot of police bicycles suddenly pull up all along the sides of the parade.  The police got off their bikes, put the kick stands up and removed their helmets.  Then they put on riot helmets.  I nudged my two partners (we all went with partners) and advised them of what was going on and that I felt something was afoot.

Just then the people who had come to the rally and dressed all in black (Black Blok), hiding their identities, came along side the marchers – in a long procession – single file, carrying black cloth, all sewn together, to hide behind.  Right beside us.  On the other side we had some guys with bandanas over their faces.  We know this was in case of pepper spray, or tear gas.. but the police beside us were discussing who they were keeping an eye on.  We were basically in the worst place possible. lol  I pointed these facts out to my partners and we all agreed that maybe we should pull out.  The police wouldn’t let us leave… so we went to the very back of the march and were finally allowed out.

Black Group - Hidden Identities

Black Group - Hidden Identities

As we stood watching the rear of the crowd – a row of guys got in front of the – suddenly there – row of bicycle police.  The guys with the signs kneeled down on the pavement in front of the police on bikes and were chanting… then they got up and did a group hug.

Police PUSHING Protesters Forward
Police PUSHING Protesters Forward

In front of the police on bikes was a row of police on foot, in riot gear… these officers started to advance, pushing the row of sign laden guys up to Yonge Street… slowly… and the guys were dancing and frolicking in front of the police, taking their time, unconcerned….poking the bear, as it were.  Luckily no one got hurt there.

Police at the Rear

Police at the Rear

They pushed the entire crowd up past Yonge Street… and – we didn’t know this until after – but the crowd had stopped because the police had arrested a man.  A man that tried to cross their barrier… he wanted to go to the store –  he was deaf.  They took him to the newly created Jail holding cells on Eastern.  His friends knew what happened and stayed at the jail through the night chanting and demanding his release.

The police had brought in two big trucks that are used for moving prisoners from jails to courts, and back.  They then backed them out.  Pure intimidation.  Then they brought in the horses… these police officers followed the march.

The march that I was in later returned to Allan Gardens – where we had started – and built a tent city to protest homeless issues.  They slept there, chanting unill about 11:00 pm, peacefully, and had breakfast in the morning – with the intent of returning to today’s march – “Get Off The Fence”.

I was going to go today, but I’m exhausted. lol  It didn’t take much to be talked out of it – since it was raining and I am starting to feel rather run down.  Tomorrow is the hard core march – the militant march – where groups will confront the G20 at the fence that was built to protect them.  I won’t be part of that.  In fact, my daughter just called to make sure I’m not there…there’s pure mayhem downtown right now.  Today was supposed to be peaceful, there are children there – but someone blew up a police car, apparently. 😦

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