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(en) Canada, Toronto, OCAP* marching on...

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Wed, 13 Apr 2005 09:30:26 +0200 (CEST)

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OCAP is confronting the McGuinty Government with a demand that welfare
rates in Ontario be raised by 40%. This would restore the spending power
that has been lost since 1995.
We like to avoid token protests and symbolic demands in OCAP. Our goal
is always to look for winning tactics in the fights we take up. In our
present Raise the Rates Campaign, we have come up with an approach that is
generating insomnia in high places.

The welfare system provides a Special Diet Supplement that enables
people to access up to $250 a month if a medical professional believes it
is required to combat nutritional deficiency. When this provision was set
up, those implementing it assumed very few would ever hear about it and
that fewer still would find the means to receive it.

With the support of social agencies and progressive medical
practitioners, OCAP has initiated a series of walk in clinics in
Toronto where individuals and families on assistance have been able to
access the diet supplement. In two months, over $1 million has been won
in additional benefits. This figure does not take into account the large
numbers of people who have heard of our campaign and made their own
arrangements in order to obtain the supplement.

Presently, we are being besieged with inquiries and requests for help.
We are arranging more clinics in various parts of the City, including a
special Chinese language clinic that will take place shortly. We are
hearing from people across the Province, from other southern, urban
centres to First Nations communities in the north. There is every
prospect of organizing a truly Ontario wide drive to win the supplement
for people in need of it.

On May 12, we’re marching on the Ministry of Community and Social
Services to demand that all 760,000 on assistance in this Province receive
the supplement. Every woman, child and man forced to live on the pittance
McGuinty’s welfare system provides faces nutritional
deficiency and should not have to scramble to find a doctor ready to
acknowledge this obvious fact.

Our campaign around the supplement has the potential to take back a major
chunk of the cutbacks that Harris imposed on the poor and that McGuinty
has consolidated. For this reason it is galling in the extreme to have to
take up this fight while facing a fundamental financial crisis. We have
less than $100 in the bank. Organizers’ paycheques will not be issued
this week. By the end of the month, basic operating expenses will be
impossible to meet. We can carry on our struggle with very little but we
can’t fight this Government without a tiny office, a phone and a few basic
office supplies. In light of the uses we put these things to, it doesn’t
seem unreasonable to ask for support in maintaining them.

Please help keep the Raise the Rates fightback moving forward. Rush
contributions to OCAP. Personal donations and support from other
organizations are needed. We urgently need help from unions and community
organizations prepared to sponsor buses to bring out or town supporters
into Toronto for our May 12 rally.

The people who run Ontario on behalf of the vested interests that own
it, had thought the Common Sense Revolution was irreversable. They were
wrong and we can prove them wrong if we’re ready to fight back in a
serious way. OCAP has found an opening and we’re in sight of a major
victory. Please help us to attain it.

In solidarity,

* [Ed. Note: OCAP is antiauthoritarian anticapitalist
direct action social struggle initiative.]

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