TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 8, 2012) - In a packed amphitheater at the University of Toronto, hundreds gathered for a day-long strategy session for Ontario's newest and largest community-based threat to the austerity agenda. Calling themselves the Ontario Common Front, over 100 community and labour groups have forged a coalition to challenge cuts to jobs and services that are threatening the livelihoods of nearly every Ontarian in neighbourhoods across the province.
"The ranks of the poor are swelling while corporations sit on hundreds of billions of dollars of dead money. These same corporations have created the economic crisis but instead of holding them accountable, our governments are cutting the services we rely on to maintain a healthy and fair society," said the Common Front Steering Committee Chair Nancy Hutchison. "We are demanding a budget where services are adequately funded and corporations and the rich are asked to pay their fair share. It is the only way to build a just and equitable society."
In August, the Common Front released a comprehensive report demonstrating that Ontario had fallen to dead last of all the provinces by nearly every measure of equality and social program support (http://weareontario.ca/index.php/falling-behind-report/). Today, the coalition resolved to take action.
"We are in a time of economic and ecological crisis. It's too late to just ask our governments for justice and equality, we have to make it happen ourselves," said keynote speaker Josephine Grey from Low Income Families Together. "It's time we demand that our governments do their job and shut down the corporate greed and austerity agenda of the one percent. It's time to elect those with the courage to fight for a just society and a liveable future. We must act both as a common front and within our communities to begin to build the better world we know is possible."
The members of this grassroots community alliance resolved to support education workers and take collective action to challenge cuts to jobs and services across the province. Organizations representing workers, students, environmentalists, retirees, immigrants and faith groups will be among those mobilizing alongside education workers at the Ontario Liberal Convention on January 26 to demand that the Liberal government repeal Bill 115, provide support for social programs and tax corporations fairly.
"We are coming together to challenge the draconian Bill 115 and to make inequality the top issue in Ontario's next election," said Natalie Mehra of the Ontario Health Coalition. "The cuts to jobs, services and democratic rights are affecting all of us and together we are demanding a major shift in provincial priorities. We are going to bring these demands to neighbourhoods, to the streets and to the polls."
The Ontario Common Front is a coalition of over 100 community and labour groups that has launched the "We Are Ontario" campaign to challenge cuts to jobs, services and democratic rights. Visit: www.WeAreOntario.ca.