the tory coronation at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre this weekend is going to find its groove to the beating of pots and pans, courtesy of the activist Ontario Common Front.The group hopes to remind Conservative members coming to vote for the province's new premier of what Tory policies have done to the poor. The noise-making procession will weave its way through the downtown, hopefully creating a little indigestion for conventioneers as they drink and dine.
According to OCF activist Sarah Blackstock, "As the Tories are sitting down to a really posh meal, thousands of people across this province are going hungry or looking at their shelves trying to figure out how to feed their families."
But the OCF will not participate in the Ontario Federation of Labour rally Saturday in Simcoe Park on Front, an action centred around "seven minutes of reflection" for the seven years of Tory rule.
When asked about the cooperation, or lack thereof, between the labour rally and that of the OCF, the federation's Dana Boettger replied simply that "basically, they are two distinct activities."
On Friday night (March 22), members of the OCF will meet at 6:30 pm in Moss Park at Queen and Sherbourne for a short rally, to be followed by a snake march to the downtown core. Friday night's march is slated to end at a squat, or, as it's described by the OCF, "an overnight sleepover in one of the many buildings in this city that sit empty while people sleep on the streets."
At a planning meeting last Saturday afternoon, OCAP's Gaetan Heroux explained that the more people who join the sleep-out, the greater the chances for a successful action. A publicized squat on the eve of the convention, organizers say, sends a clear message of defiance to Tory leadership hopeful Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who proudly threatens to round up the province's homeless for incarceration.
The next day, Saturday (March 23), OCF demonstrators will meet again at noon in Allan Gardens, located at Carlton and Sherbourne, for another short rally and snake march toward the leadership convention, where organizers hope to "cause as much disruption to the convention as possible while avoiding confrontation with police."