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UPDATE: Calzavara attends Occupy Toronto general assembly meeting

[[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”media_large”,”fid”:”1934″,”attributes”:{“class”:”media-image alignright size-medium wp-image-11021″,”typeof”:”foaf:Image”,”style”:””,”width”:”240″,”height”:”180″,”title”:”img00638-20111007-1718″,”alt”:””}}]]Council of Canadians Ontario-Quebec organizer Mark Calzavara joined a gathering of 250-300 people at Berczy Park near Front and Yonge streets in Toronto last night for an Occupy Toronto general assembly meeting.

Earlier that day NOW magazine noted, “As the worldwide recession deepens and U.S. activists continue their occupation of Wall Street, the grassroots here are planning their own Occupy Toronto. …The idea is to coordinate action and develop logistics for an October 15-16 non-violent protest in the financial district against corporate greed and governments that give it free rein.”

This morning, the Toronto Star reports, “About 250 people gathered in a downtown Toronto park Friday night to decide how, where and why they would change the world. Occupy Toronto held its first general assembly in Berczy Park to organize a protest that will be held on Oct. 15. The group, which has modeled itself on Occupy Wall Street, represents a loose federation of mainly young people who are fed up with the current economic and political status quo. …Much like the Wall Street ‘occupation’ (which began on Sept. 17), which has seen hundreds of protestors camped out overnight in a park near the financial district, Occupy Toronto is planning to hunker down for a lengthy stay. …Much of Friday’s meeting was spent discussing the logistics of feeding, comforting and keeping the group safe. …The group has no official demands, but it handed out leaflets it said would be distributed by the street teams to mobilize support for the Oct. 15 ‘occupation’. The leaflet asks a series of questions, such as do you have debt, are you satisfied with the government’s response to climate change, do you think the land we farm should be treated with more respect, and have you lost any investments. …Organized labour is watching the movement closely, said a spokesperson for the Ontario Federation of Labour (who attended last night’s meeting as an observer).”

The Globe and Mail adds, “Beginning next week, activists in Toronto say they plan to occupy a public space near the city’s financial district, with the broad aim of calling attention to the gap between the world’s wealthiest and the rest of the population. They are modelling their movement after Occupy Wall Street in New York, where demonstrators who took over a downtown park have sparked a growing global movement. …The topic of co-operation with police came up multiple times in the three-hour meeting. Some argued that letting police know what they were doing in advance might help protect them from tear gas or arrest, while others took a more cynical view. ‘They’re going to beat us anyway,’ one man shouted. Ultimately, the group agreed to halt talks with police until activists are more organized and can make the decision as a group. The Occupy Toronto group is operating on consensus, a decision-making tool that aims to ensure everyone agrees with a proposal before moving ahead on it.”

And CTV notes in their report, “There has been talk of holding demonstrations in Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon, Montreal, Winnipeg and Regina.”

The Council of Canadians has endorsed the non-violent, pro-democracy Occupy movement.
We are working to make contact with Occupy Montreal, which begins an occupation just five days prior to our ‘Indignez-Vous! Hope in Resistance’ conference in that city. Council of Canadians representatives will also be at an Occupy Vancouver meeting this morning.

For more, please see these Council of Canadians blogs: