[Fwd] Santa Busted Delivering Xmas Card to Mike Harris

Graeme Bacque (gbacque@idirect.com)
Wed, 15 Dec 1999 17:16:00 -0500


------------forwarded message------------
 Toronto Action for Social Change
 P.O. Box 73620, 509 St. Clair Ave. W
 Toronto, ON M6C 1C0
 (416) 651-5800; e-mail: tasc@web.net
 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                   December 15, 1999
 
 Santa Claus, Elf Arrested at Queen's Park for Trying to Deliver
 Anti-Homelessness Christmas Card to Mike Harris
 
         Santa Claus and an elf were arrested at Queen's Park today
after
 they attempted to deliver an anti-homelessness Christmas card to
premier
 Mike Harris. They were charged with trespassing, and must go to court
in
 January, 2000.
 
         Claus and about a dozen elves were outnumbered almost
three-to-one
 by Metro Police, Queen's Park security and members of the Toronto
Police
 Counter-Intelligence and Anti-Terrorism Squad as the
 "hradly-dangerous-looking" holiday group tried to deliver a
75-foot-long,
 5-foot-high Xmas card to premier Harris.
 
         The card, which read, "Why is there no room at the inn?"
featured
 the names of over 100 people who have died from homelsssness, as well
as
 the names of buildings experiencing above-guideline rent increases in
 Ontario.
 
         "Mr. Harris' policies have contributed to a massive increase in
 homelessness and hunger in Ontario," said Claus, aka Matthew Behrens,
who
 pointed out that last night's closing of the Fort York Armoury has sent
 another 150 people onto the streets with nowhere to go. "Homelessness
is a
 crisis, and all levels of government must respond in a crisis-mode with
a
 national affordable housing construction program."
 
         Police refused Santa Claus entry to Queen's Park, but
eventually
 allowed an elf in escorted by MPPs Peter Kormos and Rosario Marchese.
Mr.
 Harris was not in to receive the message.
 
         The group began their day at the Rental Housing Tribunal, where
 thousands of evictions are processed every month, and proceeded to
Queen's
 Park under a massive banner that read: "Homelessness is a National
 Disgrace."
 
         As they were departing from Queen's Park, Santa Claus (Behrens)
and
 his trusty Elf Don (Don Johnston) were surrounded in a police dragnet
of
 officers on bikes, cruisers, a police jeep and a police wagon,
arrested,
 and charged. They will contest the charges upon completion of their
busy
 December 24 schedule.