On International Women's Day, many of us gathered together to protest the PC Ford Government Cuts together! There is power in Collective Action.
From the Ajax News Advertiser article, written by Keith Gilligan:
DURHAM — While the air and wind were cold, the rhetoric was hot at a rally outside Ajax MPP Rod Phillips’s constituency office on Friday.
About 35 protesters gathered on March 8 to condemn the Progressive Conservative-led provincial government for its plans, including changes to funding for children with autism, health care restructuring and plans for education.
Tiffany Balducci, president of the Durham Region Labour Council, helped organize the rally — which included representatives from labour groups, Save Oshawa GM, the Ontario Health Coalition and health care workers.
“Our issues are varied. We all know the cuts will disproportionately affect women and the marginalized,” Balducci said. “We’re definitely building our movement, building our resistance.”
Amber Bowen was at the rally with her 11-year-old daughter Addison.
“I care about my kid’s education. I want her to grow up with a sound, solid education and able to spend time with her teachers and not crammed into a building,” Bowen said.
Balducci said, “We’re all here to fight back against one thing, the cuts by the Doug Ford government.”
Tara Stone, a mother with a child with autism, said, “The Ontario government is trying to balance its budget on the backs of children with autism. That’s utterly shameful.”
Kaitlyn Teller spoke about Save Oshawa GM, saying that the Ford government is planning “deep and devastating cuts to public services. They should keep them and expand on them. Public services are the great equalizer.”
Whenever she talks about pharmacare, seniors care or public education, people usually say that the funding isn’t available.
“Rich corporations like GM should be made to pay their fair share. They took advantage of your public services. Their workers were educated with public dollars. They use our courts, police, fire departments, clean water, roads, rail, bridges, tunnels, snow removal. Those were all paid for with our public dollars. They got rich with our public dollars,” Teller said.
“We can afford better, we can demand better. We won’t give up until we get better,” Teller said. “We will no longer accept your crumbs while you make off with the whole damn cake.”
Monique Hughes, the NDP candidate in Ajax in the last provincial election, said that she’s “so disappointed. It’s sad really. This isn’t what people voted for. They voted for you to be a voice. Every day, we hear something is being taken away, something is being cancelled. It’s disgusting.”
Denise Martins of CUPE 1281 said that the government’s Bill 147 has hurt employees, especially those struggling; it eliminated raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and did away with the two sick days a year an employee could have.
Martins said that sick people working in the food industry can’t take time off because they’ll lose money.
“Sick people shouldn’t be working at Tim Hortons or Quiznos. They should be at home to recover and then come back. They are coming to work over and over when they’re sick,” she said.
“We have to call this dude Rod to account. How dare you,” Martins said. “They campaigned on a (slogan called) ‘For The People.’ How dare you.”
Mary Fowler, the first vice-president of the Elementary Teachers of Ontario Durham, said, “Education is very much on the front burner. Since this government got elected, we’ve been very concerned.”
She noted that at this time of year, school boards are dealing with staffing for the next school year.
“We know drastically the impact the amount of time we can spend with our students.”
Education cuts are an “appalling affront” to students and their families, she said.
“The only way to stop them is to stand shoulder-to-shoulder together. We stand in solidarity with you. This bullying government is going after the most vulnerable in our community. We need to stand up to them,” Fowler added.
Jasmin Tecson, a midwife in Durham, said, "I’m here because we’re really worried about program cuts, funding cuts.”
“These cuts aren’t going to save us. We’re angry because we know the price we pay is actually going to be greater,” she said. “The price will mostly be paid by the vulnerable.”
Trish McAuliffe, of the Ontario Health Coalition, said, “The dog whistle that led us here is a ‘buck a beer.’ It’s shameful for those folks who answered the call of a buck a beer. This is why we are where we’re at.”
“Corporations understand that dog whistle, and they’ve stolen our language for quality of life and access. Buck a beer doesn’t give us access,” McAuliffe said.
It’s not just health care cuts, but also restructuring in the sector, she said.
“We’re under attack, folks,” she said. “This government was elected without a mandate, but a buck a beer. It’s shameful.”
Phillips said, “Of course we were elected with a significant mandate to do a number of things. All of which, as the premier says, is For The People. So, we’ve been focusing on making life more affordable, bringing jobs to the province. It’s an agenda that’s absolutely a change from the previous government.”
While there are those protesting, Phillips stated, “What I hear consistently from people in Ajax is keep going, keep working to make life more affordable for families, keep working to bring more jobs, keep bringing balance back to the way we’re running government here in Ontario.
“We are working for all Ontarians, but particularly those in the greatest need,” Phillips added.
We also received coverage in Durham Radio News:
Various local groups will join together to rally on Friday to protest the recent cuts by the Ford government that they say negatively impact women and marginalized people.
The demonstration was planned by Durham Region Labour Council and it’s happening outside of Ajax MPP Rod Phillips’ office. They hope to send their messages back to provincial leaders.
There will be speakers from the local Autism Coalition, the Save Oshawa GM campaign and other community groups.
“We are joining the many women across the province who feel left behind by the Ford Government,” said Tiffany Balducci, President of Durham Region Labour Council.
Balducci says they are holding the rally on ‘International Women’s Day’ to show united support to all women who feel their rights have been trampled on.
She says the goal of the rally is to ask the government to reinstate a number of cuts and changes including:
– paid sick days
– increase the minimum wage to $15
– reverse changes to daycare and cuts to midwives.
– commit to funding increases to Sexual Assault Centres
– restore the Roundtable on Violence Against Women
– restore the Child and Youth Advocate Commissioner’s office
– invest in equitable, needs-based autism services for all children who need them
– stop the planned merger and privatization of Ontario’s public health care system
– reverse the hiring freeze in education