Toronto Council Votes to Increase Police Budget


by Barry Weisleder

It was a slap in the face to the tens of thousands who rallied and marched for weeks to protest cop brutality and murder. On June 29 Toronto City Council defeated a move, 8 votes to 16, to ask the Toronto police to cut its budget in 2021 by at least 10 per cent.

Instead, the Council adopted a series of motions backed by Mayor John Tory which propose reforms that don’t include immediate defunding of the police.

These hardly-novel ‘reforms’ include developing alternative ways for police to respond to calls that don’t involve weapons, a call for the Police Services Board to provide Council with a line-by-line breakdown of the budget, and ask that Council “commit to eradicating racial profiling in policing.”

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WEBCAST: The History and Praxis of Socialist Action and the Left in Canada

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East enders demand action after violent racist attack!

Members of Socialist Action along with many others particupated in the Say No To Racist Violence: Community Protest on Mondau July 6, 2020 demo outside of Toronto Police 55 division on Coxwell Avenue to protest the police inaction after a former Steelworkers and his parner were violently attacked.

‘On the morning of Thursday, June 25, Toronto east-end residents Mark Austin and Candace Zinkweg were victims of a brutal racist assault as they walked their dog in Dentonia Park.

Candace was pushed to the ground and then kicked in the head by a white assailant. She was knocked unconscious and taken by ambulance to hospital, where she was diagnosed with a concussion.

Mark, who is Black, and Recording Secretary of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1998, also was violently assaulted and subjected to racist abuse by the same assailant. The assailant made repeated death threats to Mark, including saying he would shoot Mark the next time he sees him.

The police have not laid any charges though the assailant is known to them, saying it is a matter of ‘he said, she said.’ It came to light that the assailant lives in the same apartment complex as the victims.

“We recognize this is not occurring in isolation. There is a growing climate of racist brutality around the globe and systemic racism in our communities and our institutions,” said Carolyn Egan, President of the Steelworkers Toronto Area Council and one of the protest’s organizers.

“We are demanding that the Toronto Police immediately lay charges against the assailant,” said Egan.

“Police across Canada are more than willing to lock up Black lives but when the same Black life needs justice it’s an uphill battle,” said Mark Brown, an executive board member of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU), Canadian chapter.

“Until the Black life is valued as much as the non-Black life, there will be no justice and there can be no peace,” Brown said.

“We won’t tolerate members of our community being attacked in this way. There is no place for racist violence in Toronto,” said Ken Neumann, the USW’s National Director.

“It is our collective responsibility to take on racism and violence against Black, Indigenous and people of colour,” said Marty Warren, USW Director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada. “Authorities must aggressively investigate and prosecute perpetrators of racially motivated violence in our communities.”


Rally for tenants rights against bill 184 in Toronto

On Monday, July 6, 2020 members of Socialist Action joined hundreds of other activists calling for the defeat of bill 184 which unfairly provides space for landlords to evict tenants who cannot afford to pay rent due to the COVID pandemic. The rally marched to Toronto Mayor John Torys home.

Report by Rob McBean:

Mondays’ hot and muggy weather was just perfect for turning up the heat in the class struggle. Ontario’s ultra-reactionary conservative government has decided that now is the time to cash in on the popularity they were able to squeeze out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They are trading the goodwill that the people of Ontario gave them for their perceived competent handling of COVID to get a nasty eviction bill passed. Bill 184 will make informal repayment agreements between landlords and tenants into legally enforceable contracts.
This means that landlords can corner tenants one on one anytime and anywhere they want and bully them into signing predatory repayment agreements. Tenants may not even understand what they are signing when the landlord tricks them into putting their signature on the line.
When the tenants break these agreements because they either didn’t know what they were signing, or they were bullied into impossible terms, that won’t matter. The contract will be viewed as valid and enforceable, and the landlord can get a speedy eviction without having to go through a hearing at the Landlord and Tenant Board.
This bill makes it harder for tenants to defend themselves at hearings. Before March 17 2020, if a landlord was trying to evict a tenant for non-payment, the tenant could bring up chronic maintenance issues as a defence. Now, for tenants to bring up issues like cockroaches, bedbugs, bad plumbing or no security in the building as a defence, they would have to provide written notice well in advance of the hearing.
Thug Ford wants to usher in mass evictions to punish anyone who participated in a COVID-19 rent strike, or thought that maybe they could keep some of their rent due to COVID unemployment. The conservatives want to keep workers terrorized and on the verge of homelessness.
But Thug Ford can’t just get away with hurting Ontario workers any way he wants without opposition. Parkdale Organize, along with allies in ACORN, Socialist Action, labour unions, and other class-conscious fighters have stepped up to oppose this mass eviction bill.
200 militant, organized, workers and allies took to the streets to march from the Ontario legislature to the front door of conservative Toronto mayor John Tory’s luxury condo building.
Speakers educated the protesters and passerby about the predatory nature of the mass-eviction bill and of the correct tactic to defeat it. Mass community organizing and solidarity of neighbors against any eviction attempts by property owners and their agents.
The enemy class was educated as well. The property owners were reminded that, yes, we do know where they live. The traitors amongst lawyers and paralegals who can’t wait to represent landlords during evictions in return for measly little paycheques were reminded that we know who they are too, and where they carry on business.

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