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(en) Canada, Toronto, Gatekeeper Victory and more..

From OCAP* <ocap@tao.ca>
Date Sat, 6 Dec 2003 10:45:15 +0100 (CET)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
http://ainfos.ca/ http://ainfos.ca/index24.html

1) Victory for the Gatekeeper Squat!
2) OCAP 2004 Calendars are now available
3) Update on hotel workers at the Metropolitan Hotel
1. Victory Declared in Gatekeeper Housing Takeover!
Liberal MP, Dennis Mills, called the OCAP office today (Friday,
December 5) to report that the abandoned house, at 558 Gerrard, taken over
by OCAP on November 8 will be converted into housing.
Today, Mills received a letter from Gerry Phillips, the Chair of
the Management Board of the Ontario Cabinet, removing the last
bureaucratic obstacle to the plans to renovate and open the building. The
lease under which the Province held the property from Bridgepoint Health
(the owner of the property) stipulated that it could only be used as part
of the nearby Don Jail. The Province has now agreed to sever that portion
and turn the building back to the hospital authority - which has in turn
agreed to the creation of housing.

Financing for the new project has been secured and the Laborers'
Internal Union and the Canadian Auto Workers have undertaken to provide
skilled labour and resources. The Wooodgreen housing agency has
undertaken to operate the building.

Mills had promised to obtain the place as housing on November 8 when he
arrived at the OCAP housing action. The police were refusing to back down
from their impending attack on those inside the building and the
supporters gathered outside, so Mills made a pledge to win housing at the
site within a month or resign from the Parliament. On that basis, people
left the building, to allow him time to honour his undertaking.

The victory we have won is important in that it points the way forward.
Those denied the right to housing must organize to win it and be prepared to
take it, if governments refuse to act. 558 Gerrard is an important first
step but 2,000 people a month are evicted in Toronto, 70,000 sit on a years'
long waiting list for housing and the homeless shelters are overflowing. At
the same time, dozens of buildings are left empty as so many monuments to
greed and irrationality. No prizes for guessing what we plan to do next!

2. 2004 OCAP Calendars are NOW available!

Each year OCAP produces a calendar as a fundraiser for our ongoing work
and as a portrait of the resistance that continues in Ontario. This years
calendar has photographs from the massive feast in Yorkville, the
successful Gatekeeper Squat and other actions from the past year. As
well, each page contains short stories written by OCAP members about
their favorite lesser known actions.

Calendars cost $10-$20 sliding scale.
They can be bought directly from OCAP by writing to the address below.

The shipping cost for a single calendar is $4. Every extra calendar costs
$3 each for shipping up to 5 (e.g. shipping costs for 2 calendars = $7,
3 calendars = $10, 4 calendars = $13).

For orders of more than 5, e-mail us for shipping prices. Canadians pay
in $CDN and Americans pay in $USD. We can take cheques or money orders
made out to "Ontario Coalition Against Poverty".

All proceeds from sales go directly into our case work and mobilizations.
Your support is crucial and appreciated.

3. OCAP Supports Victimized Hotel Workers

On Wednesday, December 3, OCAP brought a mass delegation to the
luxurious Metropolitan Hotel in downtown Toronto. We came to represent
two victimized workers whose situations are set out below in the open letter
to the hotel's owner.

Our delegation entered the plush dining room and leafleted customers on
the situation. We made a statement on why we had come there and demanded
to meet with a management representative. The hotel's head of security
agreed that two of us would be taken up to the 27th floor in order to meet
with a representative of the proprietor, Henry Wu. The individual we met
with undertook that our letter and demands would be brought to the
personal attention of Wu and that we would reeive a response within a week.

With these assurances, we agreed to leave the hotel but promised (and
we weren't lying) to return on a more serious basis if the jobs of these
victimized workers were not restored. Further developments in this and
related cases will be reported here shortly.

Open Letter to Metropolitan's Owner, Henry Wu

Dear Mr. Wu:

We have delivered this letter to you to-day by way of a mass delegation
to the Metropolitan Hotel in Toronto. We are bringing to your urgent
attention the situation of two people driven from employment at this

Ms. Anita Bautista, learned that she had tragically contracted cancer.
After this was brought to the attention of your managers, a process that
can only be described as 'constructive dismissal' was set in motion. In a
very short period, three disciplinary letters were issued against her on
dubious grounds. When this pressure did not produce the desired resualts,
Ms. Bautista was summoned to the management office. She was presented
with a document terminating her fourteen years' employment in return for
fourteen weeks severance pay. She was offered no chance to seek legal
advice and denied even the opportunity to consult with fellow employees.
Under this extreme duress, she reluctantly signed the document. This
process was monstrously unfair and we demand this woman's employment be
immediately restored.

Mr. Shahid Mehmood Shahid is another person driven out of his job at
the Metropolitan. He is a devout Moslem whose religious devotions were found
troubling to some ill chosen representatives of yours. He began to me
accused of improper conduct and the harassment reached a level where, in a
state of extreme emotional upset, he was forced to offer his resignation.
he must get his job back and be able to perform his duties under
conditions that he has a right to expect.

Mr. Wu, the Metropolitan is a prestigious hotel that I would presume
does not wish to be regarded as an abusive employer. I understand that
you are a wealthy man with extensive and far-flung business operations.
Doubtless you delegate authority in matters of 'hiring and firing' at your
hotels. I accept that you were likely not aware of the circumstances of
the two people that we are now bringing to your attention. As of to-day,
however, there is no longer any question of 'plausible denial'. You must
now take full personal responsibility for this situation and we want you
to know that we shall continue to take such public action as may be necessary
to win justice for Ms. Bautista and Mr. Shahid.

We are prepared to meet with you or your mandated representative should
you consider this necessary but please be assured that this shameful
episode will be fully exposed and vigorously challenged until the serious
grievances involved are settled.

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
NEW ADDRESS!: 10 Britain St. Toronto, Ontario M5A 1R6
416-925-6939 ocap@tao.ca www.ocap.ca

* [OCAP ===> Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, an
antiauthoritarian direct action social class struggle initiative.]

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