Toronto anti-hunger protest arrest: Great Pumpkin Free to Shop at

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Mon, 2 Nov 1998 03:36:42 -0400


FWD  Sun, 1 Nov 1998 To: tasc-l@tao.ca

"Loblaws should stop arresting anti-hunger protesters [in Toronto]....

"Matthew Behrens was one of 8 people handing out leaflets in front
of the Loblaws store near the St. Clair West Subway Station opposing the
hypocrasy of Loblaws in supporting the Harris government and the policies
which have lead to a massive incresae in hunger and poverty, while getting
good public relations from supporting food banks." -- from article below

Toronto Action for Social Change]
P.O. Box 73620, 509 St. Clair Ave. West
Toronto, ON M6C 1C0
(416) 651-5800; e-mail: burch@web.net

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

GREAT PUMPKIN FREE TO SHOP AT DOMINION

	Shortly after 1:00 p.m. on November 1st, just over 24 hours after
being arrested and charged with trespassing, the Great Pumpkin (aka Matthew
Behrens) was released from custody on $500.00 surety bail and with the
condition that he not step foot on Loblaw's property.
	Friends and family of Matthew  Behrens filled Courtroom101 and
bursed into laughter when, in debating putting conditions on Matthew
Behrens for his released, stated "You'll have to shop at Dominion from now
on."
	This public support may have lead to Matthew Behrens being released
from Old City Hall Courts instead of being brought to East Detention
Centre.  According to Matthew, he was in the process of being handcuffed to
6 others who were being brought to East Detention Centre when one of the
guards mentioned there were people waiting for his release.  He was
released shortly thereafter.
	Matthew Behrens was one of 8 people handing out leaflets in front
of the Loblaws store near the St. Clair West Subway Station opposing the
hypocrasy of Loblaws in supporting the Harris government and the policies
which have lead to a massive incresae in hunger and poverty, while getting
good public relations from supporting food banks.  He only stepped foot on
Loblaws property briefly, to say hello to the child of a friend, an event
that took less than 30 seconds.  He had returned to the sidewalk when the
police pounced.
	Matthew Behrens will be returning to court on November 16th at 9:00
a.m. in the Keele Street Courthouse,  2265 Keele St. to set a date for
trial.
        As well, on November 25, 9 am in Court L of Old City Hall Courts
there will be the trial of the Easter Bunny and two Bunny Helpers, for
handing out anti-hunger flyers at Loblaws.  Also on trial will be a school
teacher who happened to be shopping at Loblaws and was arrested for
objecting to being video-taped by Loblaws security while taking a leaflet
from a TASC member.
	For more information call 416-651-5800.
	What follows is the dangerous leaflet handed out in front of Loblaws.

The Great Pumpkin believes---
Its Scary How Much Loblaws
Profits from Poverty

For over two years, members of Toronto Action for Social Change have sought
a dialogue with Loblaws on ending the grocery chain's role in the creation
of hunger in Ontario. It's scary that a corporation which gets good PR
points for being a sponsor of food drives contributes to the very problem
it says it wants to eliminate.  Instead of dialogue, Loblaws has private
security harass our members, and has called on Metro Police to arrest Santa
Clause and two elves, the Easter Bunny, three Bunny helpers and school
teacher, Robin Hood and Honest Shawn, all of whom face trials in the next
three months.

HOW DOES LOBLAWS CONTRIBUTE TO HUNGER?

BY BEING FRIENDS WITH MIKE HARRIS
	Loblaws is owned by Weston Industries, which gave the maximum
allowable contribution to the Mike Harris Tories in 1995, when the Tories
campaigned on a platform to cut social assistance rates.  Numerous studies
show a direct link between those cuts and rise in hunger, yet Loblaws has
yet to apologize for supporting the  Tories, nor has it pledged not to
support them at the next election.  40,000 school kids at Skydome know
Harris is no friend of the poor and vulnerable; when will Loblaws get wise
to this?

BY REFUSING TO SHARE ITS MILLIONS
	Weston is home to billionaire Galen Weston, one of a group of the
50 wealthiest Canadians whose total wealth is equal to that of 5 million
low-income Canadians.  Contrast this with the fact that, despite the best
efforts of the dedicated food bank volunteers and the donations of
good-intentioned individuals, 30% of all adult food bank recipients report
going without food at least 2 days per week.  In 1997, Weston and Loblaws
President Richard Currie were in the top 10 list of best paid corporate
heads, each taking home over $8 million in compensation.

BY MAKING A PROFIT OUT OF YOUR GENEROSITY
When you buy much needed products to donate to the food drive at Loblaws,
you buy them at retain, not wholesale. We'd like to know how much profit
Loblaws makes off these purchases.

BY NOT PAYING ITS FAIR SHARE
Loblaws owes over $56 million in deferred, unpaid taxes.  What are deferred
taxes?  "Deferred taxes are really tax breaks Ottawa has provided to
business over the year in allowing them to write off their plant and
equipment at artificially fast rates.  Since the taxes are almost never
paid, the money amounts to an interest free loan from Ottawa, without any
collateral required or any due date."  Linda McQuaig, Behind Closed Doors.

	If you think Loblaws should stop arresting anti-hunger protesters,
stop supporting the Harris Tories, and start sharing its billions with the
unmonied of this nation, call Richard Currie at (416) 922-2500 or fax at
(416) 922-0803.


*****************************************************************************
Toronto Action for Social Change is a part of IU 670, Industrial Workers
of the World.  For more information on TASC, our workshops or
publications,  email <burch@web.net>  For info on joining the IWW, e-mail
<ghq@iww.org>.  To subscribe to the tasc list serv, which deals with
resistance from Parkdale to Palestine, send an e-mail message to
<majordomo@tao.ca> with the message:  subscribe tasc-l
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