upcoming OCAP events2

Bonnie Briggs (s248_1132@hotmail.com)
Tue, 19 May 1998 09:30:02 PDT

Bonnie Briggs
Hi gang,
  I'm back again. What I'm going to talk about now is a major campaign 
more than an event. OCAP has presented a proposal to have Toronto 
declared a disaster area around homelessness. Between the provincial 
Welfare cuts, increasing numbers of homeless and evictions, and the 
abolition of effective rent controls, homelessness in toronto has truly 
reached crisis and disastrous proportions. All this in the face of a 
relatively strong economic upturn. We feel we have a strong, ironclad 
case for calling for Federal intervention just as we would for a natural 
disaster such as a flood or a tornado. OCAP has presented this proposal 
to the Toronto Council's Advisory Committee on Homeless and Socially 
Isolated Persons where a motion was passed calling on the Federal 
Government to declare Toronto a disaster area around homelessness. We 
are planning to send a letter to our Prime Minister, Jean Chretien to 
come and view the damage for himself. This letter will be released at a 
press conference to kick off our campaign. We will be seeking 
endorsements from unions and community organizations as well as the 
backing of local government. We are also considering meeting Federal 
politicians with this demand when they visit Toronto. 
  The other major part of this campaign is to raise funds and get the 
backing of major unions to organize a trip from Toronto to Ottawa for a 
huge contingent of Toronto's homeless and to rent a train for this 
purpose. In June, OCAP is due to appear before the Executive Committee 
of the OFL where we hope to get support for our campaign and the train 
trip to Ottawa. When we get to Ottawa, we hope to have a gathering in a 
major hall. Allies and opposition politicians will be invited and the 
event will include an attempt to meet with the Prime Minister. A first 
attempt will be made with a small delegation, if that doesn't work, we 
will march en masse into his office and demand to meet with him. There, 
we will press our disaster demand as well as related demands and we will 
ask that he tour the damage in Toronto. 
  The trip to Ottawa will recreate the "On To Ottawa Trek" which took 
place, I believe, during the Depression. The situation now is just as 
bad as it was then, if not worse. 
  This is a major campaign for OCAP. It's going to take a lot of work, 
but I think we can pull it off. We have a lot of support from the unions 
as well as ordinary people. We have large meetings every second Monday. 
OCAP is well known around Toronto and around the province. Please send 
positive thoughts and your silent support as we embark on this 
courageous venture. 

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