Canada Solidarity: Coffins NO, Courts NO, Social housing YES -

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Sun, 21 Mar 1999 09:42:44 -0800 (PST)


=46WD

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Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 16:58:13 -0500

Subject: SOS Solidarity

Association pour la d=E9fense des droits sociaux
18, rue Charlevoix
Hull (Qu=E9bec)
J8X 1P1
t=E9l=E9phone: (819) 770-3839
=46AX: (819) 770-3704


March 16th 1999


Dear friends,

The Association for the defense of social rights (ADDS) is in need of your
support.

On Friday March 5th, the ADDS organized a demonstration outside the Prime
Minister's office to denounce the death of three homeless people on the
streets of Canada and to demand funding for the construction of social
housing.

During this demonstration balloons filled with red gouache (water based
children's paint) were thrown on an outside wall of the building as a
symbolic gesture. Gouache was used to ensure that the building would not be
damaged while the choice of red was meant to symbolize the blood of the
homeless people who froze to death on the streets of the "best country in
the world".

Notwithstanding the symbolic nature of this action, the RCMP arrested Bill
Clennett, the spokesperson for the ADDS, and charged him with public mischie=
f.

A letter of support

In light of this attempt to criminalize a political action, the ADDS is
organizing a campaign demanding the withdrawal of the charges made against
Bill Clennett as well as a significant investment of public funds in the
development of social housing for the homeless and low-income tenants.

If you agree with the ADDS that the real scandal is not a bit of gouache on
a wall but the deaths of homeless people on the street we can use your
support. We invite you to send a letter in support of our demands to Jean
Chretien on behalf of your organization and return a photocopy to us by fax
as soon as possible (See annexed proposal).

In solidarity

Johanne Desjardins
for the Association for the defense of social rights

***

Jean Chr=E9tien
Prime Minister of  Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa (Ontario)
K1A 0A6
Coffins NO, Courts NO, Social housing YES

Mr. Chretien,

We would like to express our opposition to the arrest of Bill Clennett
during a demonstration organized by the Association for the defense of
social rights (ADDS). The aim of this demonstration was to denounce your
government's indifference to the deaths of three homeless people on the
streets of the "best country in the world" and to demand federal funding
for the construction of social housing. The accusation of "public mischief"
brought against Mr. Clennett for his symbolic gesture is a deplorable
attempt to criminalize an activity of a political nature.

Canada's housing problems were highlighted last December by the United
Nations' Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Following its
study of Canada's third report, this committee recommended that your
government "address homelessness and inadequate housing as a national
emergency =85"

Housing problems were also brought to your attention by way of two
demonstrations last February. The Front d'action populaire en r=E9am=E9nagem=
ent
urbain (FRAPRU) organized a rally of over 400 people in front of Finance
Minister's offices, while the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP)
brought more that 200 people to Ottawa with the intention of meeting you.

All of these demands for funding were of no avail as your government chose
to ignore them. In his most recent budget, Paul Martin did not provide a
penny for the construction of social housing, even though he had a hefty
budgetary surplus at his disposal.

Mr. Prime Minister, the scandal is not the spots of red gouache that the
ADDS put on the outside wall of your office. It is rather the black mark on
Canada's reputation, one of the wealthiest nations in the world, where
homeless people freeze to death on the streets.

We demand the immediate withdrawal of the charges brought against Mr.
Clennett and a significant investment of public funds in the development of
social housing for the homeless and low-income tenants.

END FORWARD

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