Activists rally for "Housing Not War" Campaign

Toronto, Ontario

February 7, 2008

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Activists rally for

In the bitter cold of downtown Toronto, Thursday, February 7, 2008, demonstrators rallied in front of Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's Toronto offices demanding the federal government implement a public housing strategy, instead of funnelling money into war.
"Money for housing not for war. That is what we rally for. Money for housing not for war. That is what we rally for."
Over one hundred activists and politicians voiced their opposition to the war in Afghanistan and to the federal government's lack of action on the housing crisis. Peggy Nash, NDP MP for Parkdale High Park was one of the key speakers.

Peggy Nash
NDP MP Parkdale High Park

"We are the only major western country that has no national housing strategy. We're spending over $18 billion on the military and only $2 billion on housing and we can see the results on our streets everyday, 125,000 families waiting for decent shelter. It is a crisis in our country and we have to turn that around. We have called for a federal human rights strategy for housing. Housing is a basic right."
Jim McDowell of CAW Local 1285 said he was demonstrating because the Harper government has its priorities wrong.

Jim McDowell
CAW Local 1285

"Why are we spending $18 billion a year on defence or war in Canada and we are only spending $2 billion on housing? We have people in Canada who are actually freezing and dying in the streets. I personally think we have to help the people at home before we can help those out of the country."
Cathy Crowe of the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee, along with James Clark of the Toronto Coalition to Stop The War, tried to present a petition and letters to Flaherty's representatives; but found the doors locked. They made repeated phones calls to Flaherty's office asking for the opportunity to present the documents.

James Clark
Toronto Coalition to Stop The War

"We just got the official word that we have been refused by both the security and the police to accept anything from this crowd. So despite our attempts to engage in the process, to collect signatures, to collect letters to let them know how people feel about this issue, they are refusing to accept that initiative, so shame on them."
Peggy Nash volunteered to take the documents to Ottawa and present them directly to the Finance Minister.

Cathy Crowe
Toronto Disaster Relief Committee

"Thank you for your invitation. It's all yours."

Peggy Nash
NDP MP Parkdale High Park

"Well it's a shame that to get access to the Finance Minister you have got to actually have an MP pass him an envelope, rather than just being accessible to people.""
The Toronto Disaster Relief Committee and the Canadian Peace Network are mounting a major effort to make this an election campaign issue. Nash urged everyone, particularly her CAW brothers and sisters, to get involved in this fight.

Peggy Nash
NDP MP Parkdale High Park

"What people need to do is to support this campaign. To get on the website for the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee, for the Canadian Peace Alliance. To sign on to the Homes Not Bombs Campaign and fight to have our tax dollars invested in people, in housing and not in dropping bombs."

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."

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