The Toronto Chapter of the Council of Canadians joined about 2000 protesters outside Toronto City Hall last night to tell Toronto Mayor Rob Ford that they rejected his proposed cuts to city services and the 2012 budget. Chapter members as well as the Toronto Stop the Cuts Network, city workers, and unions have been fighting austerity and the ongoing cuts to social services.
Ford’s projected 2012 budget showed a surplus of $154 million dollars, yet still included sweeping cuts to social programs such as libraries, TTC, parks and recreation, childcare, homeless shelters, and environmental programming. “A $154 million surplus is an opportunity to expand services and build a better city for all, not to push through unwanted service cuts. Why are there $80 million in useful, necessary services on the chopping block when the City actually has twice that much money over and above the budget?”
The rally began with speakers from the community and unions and then many tried to make their way into city hall but were faced with lines of police. Cops fired pepper spray and arrested 4 people. The rally then marched to 52 division where the cops brought those arrested.
Thanks to all of those who have been taking part in the ongoing fight against the austerity agenda, Ford’s proposed cuts were voted down 23-21. The Toronto Stop the Cuts Network has made a video outlining some of the Ford’s major cuts and spending, as well as what community and neighbourhood groups have been doing against local austerity. The Torontoist outlines some of the jobs and services which were saved from massive cuts such as immigrant services and the Toronto Environment Office.
Next week the Council of Canadians and our allies will be putting pressure on Toronto City Council to demand that Toronto be exempt from the Canada-EU Trade deal. They are asking residents of Toronto to call and email their city councilors and executive committee members, or to come and attend the executive committee hearing. For more information, check out the Action Alert and resource page.