Ontario Nurses call on politicians to start taking Occupy Toronto concerns seriously

Applaud occupiers' temporary court victory protecting their right to continue assembling peacefully

TORONTO, Nov. 15, 2011 /CNW/ - In response to the eviction notices delivered to the occupiers of St. James Park on Tuesday, the largest nurses' union in Canada is calling on Toronto City Council to prevent an eviction of Occupy Toronto protesters by police.

"Just because the mayors of some other cities have ordered police to break up peaceful Occupy Movement protests at all costs, including violence and personal injury, doesn't mean that Toronto has to do the same thing," said Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN.

"The occupiers of St. James Park in Toronto have a very clear message," said Haslam-Stroud. "Business as usual doesn't work for 99 per cent of Ontarians and it's time to address income disparity, poverty, homelessness, and the need for good jobs for all, in a meaningful way."

Ontario's nurses support the efforts of Councillor Gord Perks and the 12 city councilors who have signed a letter demanding that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's proposed eviction be stopped and that council debate the issue.

"Nurses applaud the Superior Court of Justice for its temporary injunction against the eviction," said Haslam-Stroud. "The Court has recognized that freedom of conscience, expression, peaceful assembly, and association are at issue and we look forward to the full hearing about protecting these fundamental rights on Friday."

"As nurses, we know that health isn't an isolated concept. Access to post-secondary education, which is financially out of reach for many, and the amount of money workers are paid for their work can be directly linked to personal health."

"Good jobs that include fair wages, benefits, pensions, and job security are what made the middle class. We need more of them now than ever before to lift people out of poverty and to start a real economic recovery for the majority of Ontarians."

"Instead of focusing on cuts, let's have a serious debate at all levels of government about why a few people feel they deserve so much more money than the majority of us while children, right here in the largest province of one of the richest nations on earth, still live in poverty."

ONA is the union representing 57,000 front-line RNs and allied health professionals and more than 12,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in Ontario communities, hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, industry and clinics.

SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association

For further information:

Sheree Bond (416) 964-1979, ext. 2430; cell: (416) 986-8240
Ken Marciniec kenm@ona.org; cell: (416) 803-6066   



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