Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

November 09, 2011 12:15 ET

An Open Letter to London Mayor Joe Fontana and Occupy London Participants

LONDON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 9, 2011) - Media across the globe, have, since early this morning, been covering your misguided actions of sending in police to rout Occupy London participants, noting that it is the first Canadian city to forcibly removed a camp that is part of the countrywide protests.

We believe that when the history of this extraordinary movement is chronicled, residents of London will feel betrayed by the lack of leadership you have displayed in standing up for them, their aspirations and their deep-seated fears about the economic chaos that has been fostered by elite interests and their political allies.

Over the past weeks, you had countless opportunities to amplify the many political messages and concerns expressed by your own citizens. Instead you chose to trample on their rights and destroy their property.

Surely you must know that there is no power greater than an idea whose time has come and that the Occupy movement and the truths it tells are everywhere sparking new and bigger actions. It will continue to grow as people seize the opportunity to foster economic, social and democratic change.

With respect to your astonishing comments that I "should not get involved in the City of London," who should? Anyone and everyone has a stake in our province, country and world and we pledge to do everything possible to both help the Occupy London movement rebuild and to assist it – and every other one – to spread the message of social, economic and environmental justice as far and wide as possible.

There should be no misunderstanding about the fact that the OFL and labour movement have a long and proud history of support for civil disobedience. It represents the finest instincts of citizens in a democracy to correct the actions of their governments when all else fails. Without it, there would have been no Civil Rights, women's rights, environmental or other seminal movements that have changed the course of history. Millions across the globe are free because of civil disobedience.

Our message to the Occupy London protesters is this: While the mayor of London may not care about local unemployment rates approaching 10%, you do. While the mayor, the corporations and those at the top may not care about affordable post-secondary education, public pensions, living wages, quality public health care and basic entitlement to democratic rights, you do.

Your view that every single human being deserves an opportunity to work, to contribute to society and to a life filled with hope and the opportunity to live up to their full potential is what has fuelled the public's imagination to support your efforts.

The OFL stands in solidarity with you. We will do everything possible to support you in your desire to make the lives of the 99% of the people in your community better.

We pledge to give you the resources to help you to recover your stolen property and to rebuild at a location of your choice.
We thank you for bringing hope. We honour you for spreading a vision. You have given all of us a truly inspiring display of passionate and principled civic and democratic engagement.

We are one.

Finally, to Mayor Fontana, let me emphasize that you will not kill this worldwide protest, nor impede its ideas. Occupy London will reestablish itself and the Occupy movement will take root everywhere across the country and globe.

Sid Ryan, President





Contact Information

  • Ontario Federation of Labour
    Sid Ryan

    Ontario Federation of Labour
    Lynn Simmons
    Communications Department