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(en) Canada, Toronto, [ocap*] Take action against loan company hounding man on ODSP

From OCAP <ocap@tao.ca>
Date Tue, 3 Aug 2004 09:08:48 +0200 (CEST)

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. Loan Company 'suggests' man on disability sell his bed as
repayment: Call-in Action against MBNA
2. Court Support for Oscar Campos
3. Midwinter Harvest House construction begins - All are welcome.
4. Injured Worker Fights Back – Daily Picket at Metropolitan Hotel
5. Update from Kitchener Youth Collective Tent City
* 1) The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) is taking up the case ofa man
who is being hounded by an unscrupulous loan company. Geoff owes money on
a credit card. He is living on a sub poverty allowance that he receives
from the Ontario Disability Support Plan. He has multiple health problems
that include worsening and uncontrollable seizures that are triggered by stress.

The task of collecting Geoff’s debt has now been taken up by a loan
company called MBNA and they are a hard nosed bunch. Knowing that a court
action against a man living in extreme poverty would bring them little in
return, they have elected to call him daily (often more than once) and to
try and pressure him into paying amounts that he can’t afford. One of
their reps even suggested that he should sell his bed in order to pay them
what they want!

OCAP has written to this outfit and explained that Geoff’s health is being
threatened by their behaviour. A Manager with the company
called us back. He told us that OCAP is ‘nothing’ and refused to give any
undertaking that the calls to Geoff will stop.

Geoff is at very real risk here and this company must stop what they are
doing to him. We are, therefore, asking people everywhere to call MBNA
and let them know that their hounding of this man must come to an
immediate end. He will resome payments when he is able but his health and
dignity must be respected.

The Manager dealing with this matter is called Mr. Sumi and his toll free
number is 1-800-219-2005 x 8012. We are not urging anyone to make
threatening or abusive calls and we don’t suggest that the business should
be interfered with. We do, however, ask people to let them know, very
clearly, that their behaviour towards Geoff is outrageous and must stop

Thank you for taking the few minutes necessary to help Geoff and we will
post any updates on our website at www.ocap.ca

2. Court Support for Oscar Campos: Youth beaten by cops

Wednesday August 11th
10 am
College Park Courthouse
Corner of Yonge and College

Oscar Campos was beaten by police last summer to the point that one of
the officers involved reported the incident to her supervisor. To justify
their beating, the police laid charges on Oscar. Later, charges
were also laid on the arresting officer. When the officer was brought
before a judge, all charges were dropped. The family, of course was
outraged. To bring out community support, they held a service at San
Lorenzo church along with OCAP and the Latin American Coalition Against
Racism. As a result of this service, and other hard work by the family,
750 signatures were collected and delivered to the Attorney General.
Oscar has asked that people attend his next court date to support him.

(See www.ocap.ca for a backgrounder on Oscar’s fight)


Midwinter Harvest is beginning construction on the ‘Harvest House’ – a
facility that will serve both as a processing and food distribution
center, as well as a meeting centre for the community.

Work will start on Saturday, August 7th at 9:00 AM.

Midwinter Harvest has received many generous offers from folks to help on
the construction. We felt that a set work schedule for the remainder of
the summer and into the fall was the best way to organize the
construction. As a result we have set the following weekends as ‘work days’.

1. Saturday, August 7th & Sunday, August 8th
2. Saturday, August 14th & Sunday, August 15th
3. Saturday, August 21st & Sunday, August 22nd
4. Saturday, August 28th & Sunday, August 29th

Future dates will be posted as things get underway.

We are obviously looking for people who are ready to roll up their sleeves
and get to work, but are looking for some especially hardy folks for the
first weekend as we get some basic infrastructure set up and work out
organizational kinks that will make things more comfortable for future

Organizations/cities are invited to ‘sponsor’ a weekend if they can to
facilitate the travel of others who may not otherwise be able to make the
trip. We would ask that people call us (whether on behalf of an
organization, or as individuals) when they are committing to certain
dates, so that we can be aware of when people are coming, give directions,
properly prepare and attempt to keep numbers fairly even throughout the
construction period.

Midwinter Harvest will be able to provide meals for people on the
workdays, but would ask that folks bring tents and anything else they
might need. People traveling any distance (or who just want to get out of
the city) are welcome to set up Friday nights if they wish.

Midwinter Harvest Food Program

To come for a work weekend or for more information please phone Midwinter
Harvest at 613.968.3305.

4 Hotel Workers Targeted but NOT Intimdated:
Noon-hour pickets in support of injured worker Pedro Vanegas

12 noon,
Everyday this week! (August 3rd-6th)
Metropolitan Hotel
108 Chestnut Street,
South Of Dundas, west Of Bay

We have already reported (see below) that that Emily Tang has been
targeted by the Company for her links to ‘an external group’. The threat
of reprisal has not stopped Emily. Now, as he campaigns for the right to
return to work after being injured on the job, Pedro Vanegas has been hit
with an ugly attempt to scare him off.

On July 27, a daily picket of the the Hotel by supporters was underway to
demand Pedro’s return. He was not part of the action but was standing
across the street. Hotel security boss, John Bond, pointed him out to cops
and they promptly surrounded him. Workers’ supporters immediately went
over and were told that an ‘investigation of the criminal complaint’ was
underway. Pedro’s level headed and firm response to the situation and the
presence of his friends convinced the cops not to press the matter and he
was allowed to leave.

The nature of the ‘criminal complaint’ involved here is interesting. A
couple of days before, Pedro had been walking down the street when he
happened to come face to face with one of the Hotel’s union stewards. This
individual is particularly close to management and the HERE leadership.
This person made an obscene gesture at Pedro and walked on and then, it
now becomes clear, went to the police to allege that a threat had been

This false allegation against Pedro serves only the interests of hotel
management and is utterly despicable. However, Pedro and his supporters
are only made more determined by such tactics. The Metropolitan and its
friends will not shut us down with intimidation. Only a serious response
to the workers’ grievances will solve the problem. Sooner or later, Henry
Wu and his managers will face that reality. Until then, the fight will
only escalate.

See also previous reports:
Report #2 - Hotel Worker Activist Targeted for Victimization. Be Ready to
Take Solidarity Action

You can reach us by calling: 1-416-969-0672
e-mail: justice@metropolitanhotelsworkers.org

5. Update from Kitchener Youth Collective Tent City
Cops just pissed that we won

After the victory of the people in confronting city hall and getting our
demands of returning tent city, the pigs came to the park just to harass
us. One example is calling activist by name and stating that they will see
one of us in court, another example is stopping someone using Davin’s bike
to see if it was stolen, as well cruising by the park trying to intimidate
us. These sour grapes are meaningless because we have the support of the
community and today at different times residents who live near the park
gave us info about what the pigs are up to, one even joined us on a cop
watch of the park

The KW Tent City – The Full Story

Monday July 26th, 2004

According to the KW Record, 75 people attended the opening of the Tent
City in Kitchener which is part of the Raise The Rates campaign. The event
started with hip hop music and then Amanda Lamka introduced the Speakers.

The first speaker was Julian Ichim recently arrived from China who spoke
out about the need to raise the rates, the criminalization of the poor,
and the poverty he has recently observed in Vancouver at Main and
Hastings, Toronto and Kitchener that is as bad if not worst then the under
developed areas of China. Next spoke Christine from Committee Against War
and Racism from Toronto who spoke about the links of oppression,
commending people who were taking a stand and acknowledging the fact that
all this is Native land. John Clarke from OCAP spoke next describing the
raise the rates campaign spearheaded by OCAP and the struggle against
poverty. Romeo from the KWYC spoke about the struggle and problems that
the KWYC was dealing with in these times. The speaches were concluded
shortly after with Regent Park organizer Dennis speaking about organizing
a tenents association in his building.

Shortly after the speaches police and security guards singled out Julian,
who only arrived in Kitchener minutes before the event began and demanded
that the protest disperse because it was breaking bylaws, Julian put on
the Spot stated that they will follow the bylaws but will not leave.
Security and police stated that it is against bylaws to sleep in a park
after 11, to which Ichim replied that they will see what happens at 11.

After the confrontation youth stayed ate etc. and when the 11 oclock
deadline came the police did not show. The next day leniancy was given in
terms of some bylaws and it was stated several times that it was OK to
play music until 11 which the youth did. At about 8 oclock security and
police gave another deal to youth to vacate the premise which is 9:oclock
tonight sighting music violations which was permitted. The KWYC feels that
this method of trickery and provocation will not benefit the city and
there would be no need for a tent city if people were allowed to live in
peace not being forced to live in the streets or shelters that are unsafe.

Tuesday July 27th, 2004

It has been more then 5 hours since we have been handed our tresspass
notices and four hours since our 9 oclock yet we are still in the tent
city. However police presence has increased, particularly on the iron
horse trail, a trail for jogging that goes near the park and through other
places. Participants of the tent city using this trail have been stopped,
followed questioned etc (one should remind them that this is the Iron
horse trail not the HO CHI MINH Trail and that we are bringing food, not
AK47 up and down this trail). (it should be noted that there is no light
on this trail and it goes through forest). Despite this things are strong
and the spirit of defiance is strong.

Late Wednesday July 29th

Shortly after four, police raided tent city giving tickets to various
people for alledged infringements of bylaws and arresting five people
after they refused to leave. After holding them for a short time police
released them without additional charges. The alleged bylaw infractions,
erecting tents, using amplification, littering were not being broken at
the time since people were sleeping under the gazebo and there was no
sound system there at the time of arrest.

It should also be noted that CKCO News stated that the tresspass notices
handed out yesterday were vague and were not specific about people having
to leave, and the only place that it implied it was at the top where it
said re: use of Space and tresspass notice. This tent city showed that
the community supports the work we do since all
the food was provided by the community and many members of the community
came out to show there support. The editorial in todays local paper was
positive and agreed in part with the demonstration. Even the police
officer on the CKCO News did not state anything negative when the reporter
stated that most people in the community supported the tent city and asked
if he wasn’t the least bit sympathetic (he stated that he was doing his
job acting on orders from the city).

Youth moved the tent city to another location in the park. Meanwhile
police presence on the iron horse trail continues as does the intimidation
of activists. One car carrying materials to the new tent city
was stopped by under covers. The struggle contunes.

City Capitulates – Tent City is Alive Again
Thursday July 30th

At about one oclock in the afternoon, a miltant delegation consisting of
12 youth collective members marched into city hall demanding that the city
allow them to retake tent city. After 1 hour of discussion with three
delegates city officials capitulated and stated that the youth are allowed
to return to VP island to make the tent city as long as bylaws are not
broken. In light of all the public support the city has no other option
but to give in to the just demands of the youth. This is a victory and fly
in the face of police officers who shut down the relocated tent city last
night at 2 in the morning. This latest victory shows the correctness of
our tactics to hold firm in the face of repression and to fight to win.

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
10 Britain St. Toronto, ON M5A 1R6
416-925-6939 ocap@tao.ca www.ocap.ca
ocap mailing list
* [Ed. Note: OCAP is antiauthoritarian anticapitalist
direct action social struggle initiative.]

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