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MEDIA RELEASE: Sudbury Community and Labour Groups Come Together to Oppose Austerity

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Media Release

For Immediate Release – April 8, 2013.

Sudbury Community and Labour Groups come together to oppose austerity measures in the upcoming Liberal provincial budget.

On Friday April 12th Community and Labour groups are coming together in a rally and march to oppose austerity measures in the upcoming provincial budget scheduled to come down in mid-April. A Free Meal and Rally starts at 4pm in Memorial Park followed at 5pm by a march to the Provincial Building and Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci’s office. This is part of a province wide week of action by the Raise the Rates campaign which calls for major raises to social assistance rates and raising the minimum wage rate.

Clarissa Lassaline of the Raise the Rates campaign and a member of the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty said “Despite Kathleen Wynne’s claim to be the 'Social Justice Premier' the upcoming budget promises a new series of attacks on poor people and working people more generally. Community activists and union members are coming together to say NO to these austerity measures.”  

The event is supported by the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty (S-CAP), the Sudbury and District Labour Council, the Sudbury Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Council, Idle No More, Centre de santé communautaire du Grand Sudbury,  the Sudbury Worker's Education and Advocacy Centre, Radical North and the Poverty, Homelessness and Migration Research Project at Laurentian University. Speakers will include: Carrie Lynn Poole of CUPE Ontario and the Raise the Rates Campaign; France Gélinas, MPP for Nickel Belt; Monique Beaudoin Coordonnatrice en promotion de la santé, Centre de santé communautaire du Grand Sudbury; Lianne Bergeron, Superviseur Clinique du coin; Gary Kinsman of S-CAP.  The indigenous opening will be the N'Swakamok Native Friendship Centre drumming group and music will be provided by Silvertongue and Dayv Poulin.

The central concerns being raised at the rally and march are the following:

* No cut to the Special Diet. * Restore the Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit

The Liberals have totally cut the CSUMB and severely restricted the Special Diet Supplement and may be planning to cut it entirely. These are two vital benefits that poor people need to survive. The Special Diet put healthy food on the table and the CSUMB kept a roof over people’s heads. We demand that these benefits be fully restored immediately.

* No downloading of ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program) or forcing people with disabilities into poverty jobs

The Liberals are considering transferring ODSP to the municipalities where the needs of people living with disabilities will have more difficulties being addressed. They are also considering imposing workfare on people on ODSP where people would be forced into poverty jobs with the threat of being cut off ODSP.

* Restore OW (Ontario Works) and ODSP rates to where they were in 1995 - A 56% increase is needed now

Since 2003, the Liberals have failed to reverse the Harris’ Tory massive cuts to social assistance. Welfare rates have barely increased, while the cost of living has skyrocketed. Thanks to the Liberals, poor people in this province are surviving on far less than in 1995.

* End the freeze on the minimum wage. Set it at $14 and index it to inflation.

Ontario’s minimum wage has been frozen for 3 years and the cost of living continues to rise. We need to melt this freeze and have a minimum wage that brings workers and their families above the poverty line.


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About the Sudbury Working Group

The Sudbury working-group of The Media Co-op was formed to create independent media in the North, to speak to our issues and outlooks on our communities as well as the world around us. Independent media provides an avenue for people who are wishing to gain critical perspective on the issues that matter most to us, and to give a voice to those people and stories that you won't find in the mainstream media.

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