[Hpn] OCAP takes on Liberal Barbecue - Grits are no longer unaccountable
William Charles Tinker
Mon, 30 Aug 2004 19:38:42 -0400
----- Original Message -----
From: "OCAP" email@example.com
OCAP TAKES ON LIBERAL BARBECUE:
Grits are no longer unaccountable
On Saturday, August 28, two busloads of OCAP members and supporters
traveled to the exclusive York Mills/Bayview area to confront a display of
Liberal arrogance. The luxurious home of Party supporter Joseph Kurian
was the venue for the "Red Hot Grits" BBQ - the biggest provincial Liberal
fundraising event of the year. Major Government figures and their fan
club intended to gather in order to feast and wallow in
self-congratulation. OCAP managed to cast the very real shadow of poverty
and anger over this event. The guest of honour, Dalton McGuinty, was a
As we marched on the street where the Liberals were set to hold their
little party, it was clear that the cops would serve and protect the
privileged guests and not worry themselves too much about legal niceties.
A line of officers and another force of mounted cops barred us from a
public street, but the crowd moved around and past the police lines in
order to reach Kurian's house. A hastily assembled force of cops managed,
with some difficulty, and by riding horses into the crowd, to push us back
to the edge of the property. A tense and spirited stand off then unfolded
over the next couple of hours.
Reports indicate that over a hundred and fifty aspiring partygoers decided
to do something else with their afternoon as a result of our action. The
BBQ was repeatedly challenged and confronted. Inside, the buzz of
conversation and tasteful music was drowned out by the angry chants of the
crowd. Those who showed up to join the event had to proceed under heavy
police escort. The gathering was not cancelled, but the partygoers could
only continue their revelry under siege.
While it was clear that the Liberals desperately wanted to avoid a scene
that would stir memories of the Harris years, the police could not resist
some heavy handed outbursts. Three people where arrested, including an
OCAP member who was thrown to the pavement by police, suffering a
concussion and neck injuries, and had to be taken away in an ambulance.
She was later escorted from her hospital bed into police custody, and is
now facing the charge of 'obstruct police'. Pepper spray was also used on
people in the crowd. All arrestees have since been released.
For one whole year, a Liberal Government elected on a platform of 'change'
has merely been complicit in perpetuating their predecesors' anti-poor
agenda. The Liberals have made miserable token gestures when serious
action was called for. The minimum wage had a few pennies added to it.
Social assistance rates, after losing some 40% of their real value over
the last ten years, have been hiked by an insulting 3% (which their
privatized computer system can't even deliver). Yet this whole exercise
in duplicity had been carried off with very little in the way of a
challenge to it. On Saturday, the poor and homeless and their allies who
came to confront the Red Hot Grits event established new rules of
engagement between the McGuinty Government and its victims. That fact,
more than the simple wrecking of a Liberal fundraiser, was what made
Saturday so important.
OCAP has given a lead and we now call on others to join us in fighting
this Government. Members of anti-poverty organizations from other cities
in Ontario were there on Saturday but only a smattering of other social
movements and unions showed their support. This Government will continue
to consolidate the war on the poor until it is challenged by way of a
serious social mobilization. Please help us continue to give the lead we
have now taken up. Our financial situation meant we were unable to bring
more than two buses to the Grits' event. Join us when we take on McGuinty
in the weeks ahead. A year of passivity in the face of Liberal attack is
over. Let's hold this vile Government to account and build a challenge
that can shake them to their foundations.
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
10 Britain St. Toronto, ON M5A 1R6
416-925-6939 firstname.lastname@example.org www.ocap.ca
ocap mailing list