CAW Leads Anti-Poverty Challenge Rally
October 23, 2006
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Across Ontario members of the Canadian Auto Workers union and coalition partners staged protests over the provincial government's lack of action to help the 1 in 7 people in the province living in poverty. More than 300 CAW members and social activists braved the elements at Queens Park in Toronto demanding social housing, adequate social assistance, childcare and the need for a $10 minimum wage.
Michael Shapcott of the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee gave the government a "D" in their social programs.
Toronto Disaster Relief
"Today as we release our report card on housing and on childcare we say to the McGuinty government "you've failed the people of Ontario on housing; you've failed the people of Ontario on childcare and now as we head into an election year the people of Ontario are going to make a judgment on you."
The CAW played a lead role in assisting the Ontario Coalition For Social Justice to organize the province wide "Anti-Poverty Rallies." CAW national rep Steve Watson said this is in keeping with the social activism policy of the CAW.
CAW National Rep.
"We can't be an island of privilege, in a sea of poverty, we need to reach out and seek allies in the community to defend their rights. And when our rights are under attack then they will defend us."
Mirian Canamendes, a single working mom on social assistance demanded the minimum wage be set at $10 as well as increases in other social spending.
Single Working Mom
"We want social assistance, a 40% raise. That is a must. It is an emergency right now! This government should keep their promises."
Doris Grinspun, executive director of the Registered Nurses of Ontario Association said the government has failed the neediest in the province.
Exec. Dir. RNA of Ontario
"On behalf of thousands of nurses and many others, I can't leave this podium without urging our government to reverse the cuts to the special diet allowance program."
The anti-poverty protestors are not asking for the world, according to Watson, and the Ontario government has the means to make meaningful changes without incurring major costs.
CAW National Rep.
"It is only ideological resistance from the other side, this rigid, ideological resistance that is holding up the show here, These are not expensive, unreasonable demands."
CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."