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2007 08 18
ACORN: Action for Low Income Ontarians Now!
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Today ACORN launched their People’s Platform at a rally at Queen’s Park. They are demanding action from the McGuinty government on a number of issues which affect low and moderate income Ontarians such as:

Improving Tenants Rights (Implementation of a landlord licensing system and a 5 year moratorium on rent increases)

Immediately implementing a $10 Minimum Wage (And tying it to inflation)

Regulating Predatory Payday Lenders (Implementing a maximum interest rate of 60%)

Improving Addiction Services (Increasing funding for addictions services)

Dealing with Poison Lead Paint (Establishing a lead remediation fund for high risk communities)

Improving Immigrant Rights (Accepting credentials of foreign trained workers)

Improving Community Access to Public Schools (Removal of cost and procedural barriers)

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There were a number of speakers from the NDP, including MPP for Beaches-East York Michael Prue, MPP for York-South Weston Paul Ferreira and MPP for Parkdale-High Park Cheri DiNovo. They spoke passionately about the above issues, particularly noting that McGuinty’s $40,000 a year raise has taken priority over the $10 minimum wage increase.

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Michael Prue and Paul Ferreira

However, it was the testimonials from community members which made the rally truly memorable. People who have been trying unsuccessfully to get slum landlords to fix their heat and water. People who are working three low wage jobs simply to make ends meet. People who have come to Ontario, professional training from their country of origin in hand, unable to find employment in their field. People who are trying their best to provide for their families, and who are met at every turn with inscrutable bureaucracy and stony indifference. Many spoke of the need to get low income persons out to vote, evidenced by the ACORN slogan ‘Today We March, Tomorrow We Vote!’ Go to Rosedale or Forest Hill, one community member from the Jane-Finch area proclaimed, they have almost a 100% voter turnout! What if we could do that for low income communities? What would happen then?

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Most interesting was the make up of the rally attendees: I can’t remember when last I have been to such a diverse rally. The majority of rallies in this city are largely white, and I was pleased to see strong representation of South Asians, Afro-Caribbeans, Latin Americans and East Asians. There were also many seniors in attendance, as well as young children, who appeared to thoroughly enjoy themselves. Significantly, there were a number of people from high risk communities in North Toronto, which may be due in part to Paul Ferreira’s presence.

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This rally was well timed; we are a mere seven weeks away from a provincial election. Kudos to ACORN for truly reaching out and effectively mobilizing a wide variety of groups to bring these key issues to the attention of all Ontarians.

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All photos by Liza Badaloo
Liza Badaloo is a regular attendee of anti-poverty demonstrations.


[email this story] Posted by Liza Badaloo on 08/18 at 10:51 PM

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