TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 15, 2011) - On behalf of 230,000 CUPE members in every community all across Ontario, we write this letter as an open and clear declaration of support for the Occupy Movement across the globe and right here in many communities in our Province.
Today, Toronto's city manager handed out eviction notices to the protesters in St. James Park. This follows the actions of some other mayors across Canada who have recently chosen to work against public interest by interfering with the Occupy movement and forced peaceful protestors out of public parks. By doing so, they are stepping on our collective right to free expression, but more importantly, they are ignoring both the international importance of the movement and its huge accomplishments.
For some, there seems to be confusion about that last element: the accomplishments. But they are both real and tangible.
For years, corporate leaders, many columnists and media outlets, and right-wing politicians have tried to hoodwink the public. They have used past and current fiscal crises, every one of which they created, to enforce a climate in which public services, responsible democratic government, fair wages and supporting the economic well-being of the majority of people have been made into things to attack.
In a few short weeks, the Occupy movement has successfully changed the public debate. Corporate attacks on the majority of people continue, aided by Stephen Harper and Dalton McGuinty, who continue to blindly insist that corporations and the rich must get tax breaks in order for our economy to recover. This is simply untrue. The truth is our current economic system is broken and needs to be fixed. And now people are talking about the real problems of a society that empowers only a rich and powerful one percent, and leaves everyone else behind.
This change in public debate is necessary, healthy, and long overdue. It is one we at CUPE must support and encourage. A healthy democracy is one in which all citizens participate on a level playing field. It is not one in which a handful of billionaires have exclusive, back-room access to power. It's more clear everyday that our democracy is also broken and needs to be fixed.