THIS IS PARKDALE Volume 2, Issue 4 – May 2019
THIS IS PARKDALE
Volume 2, Issue 4 – May 2019
ONE DAMN THING AFTER ANOTHER
It can sometimes feel like we’re surrounded. It feels like we’re under attack. In a lot of ways we are. Every week (even every day) brings a new threat to our homes, our schools, our jobs or the services we rely on. There’s no easy way to put it: Parkdale is in danger. It’s important we understand the level of danger we’re in but also the ways we can fight back and defeat these threats – TOGETHER.
The Provincial government has cut all funding to legal assistance for refugees trying to build a life with some safety here in Ontario. Hundreds of our neighbours are now in even more danger of deportation than they already were. Deportation to places where they and their families face discrimination, violence and persecution. Our neighbours come from all over the world and now call this neighbourhood home. Something they have every right to do. They build lives here, they build up and contribute to the life of Parkdale. The provincial government is trying to destroy that with this racist cut.
Teachers in Parkdale struggle to educate, support and help raise the youth in our neighbourhood. One of the biggest struggles schools in this neighbourhood have faced is not having the resources to do these very important jobs. Now the provincial government plans to make what was a difficult job one that is impossible to do well. They plan to gut almost every program and support students and families in this neighbourhood rely on schools for. On top of that they want to cram 40 students in to classrooms that were already too full.
For decades people in this neighbourhood have turned to Parkdale Legal Services for assistance in dealing with landlords, bosses, immigration and social assistance. Without the workers at Parkdale Legal over those years, literally tens of thousands of people would have been railroaded through the courts with no chance whatsoever. If Legal Aid Ontario has its way, that’s exactly what is going to happen. PCLS is in real danger of being shut down. If that happens thousands of us in Parkdale will be left with no legal support in courts that are built to side against us.
Food Security and Job Security
Every year over 1 million trucks arrive at the Ontario Food Terminal at The Queensway and Parklawn filled with fruits and vegetables. Every day and night workers unload those trucks and make sure we have food to eat. Many of those workers live in Parkdale, and MOST of the fruits and vegetables people in Toronto eat come through the Food Terminal.
In the last few years workers at the Food Terminal have organized and gone on strike for better wages and working conditions. Now the Provincial Government is making plans to shut down the Food Terminal, destroying the progress workers have made and leaving the flow of produce east of Manitoba under the control of only the biggest grocery store companies. If this happens, our neighbours will lose the jobs they’ve fought so hard to make better and we’ll be forced to pay whatever price Loblaws and Metro want us to for fresh fruits and vegetables.
The majority of the units people in Parkdale rent are owned by three very wealthy and powerful companies. Metcap, Akelius, and Timbercreek have been gouging people in Parkdale Parkdale teachers and students demand and deserve on rent, failing or refusing to do repairs and better. pushing people out of the neighbourhood with rent increases and evictions. There are plans to make all of this much easier to do. There are plans to make evictions and rent increases even easier for landlords. The government and landlords want none of our homes to be safe and they are working hard to make that a reality.
Working class people in this neighbourhood, city and province have never had it easy. Everything we get we have to fight for. In the next few months people in this neighbourhood will be organizing and fighting against attacks that threaten all of us. If that fight is going to be successful we must support each other and get organized – TOGETHER.
WE ARE PARKDALE: ALL HANDS ON DECK
Every working class person in Parkdale – and Ontario – is under attack. We have a handful of powerful enemies that are threatening us. But we have literally millions of potential allies, too. We have a responsibility to ourselves and each other to fight and defeat these enemies. It’s not enough to wait and hope for an election. It’s not enough to sign petitions and send emails. Protests at parliament on a Saturday afternoon won’t stop this.
In the coming weeks and months workers will go out on strike, people will occupy offices and courts, picket lines will go up and organizing will happen. We need to be a part of that. We need to make it clear that when push comes to shove, working class people will shove back.
In order for us to do this we need to be serious. We need to take these threats and our response seriously. We need to prepare for, plan and participate in a real fight against those that threaten all of us. This means real things we can do right now. Conversations with our family, friends, neighbours and coworkers need to turn in to meetings and plans at our buildings and workplaces. Those plans need to turn in to actions. Those actions need to turn in to a fight that people can join.
It won’t be easy to win this fight. But it won’t be half as hard as life will be if we lose. This fight isn’t going to be won or lost in Parkdale. But we can use the lessons we’ve learned and the strength we’ve built in this neighbourhood to fight in a way that can be an example for other working class people. An example of how we can actually win – together.