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article imageDozens protest, march against Ontario's 'Special Diet' cut Special

By Andrew Moran     Jul 21, 2010 in Politics
Toronto - The Ontario provincial government is under fire by protesters for taking austerity measures to cut their debt and deficits. A recent protest in front of the Ministry of Community and Social Services in Toronto gave demonstrators to voice their concerns.
All levels of governments around the world are either proposing or have already instigated austerity measures, which would see the government cut a proportionate amount for their budget in order to lower their debt and deficits.
The Ontario provincial government is one of those governments and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is facing criticism from some groups. The Premier’s policies since being elected into office several years ago have made some Ontarians upset.
On Wednesday, dozens of activists, protesters and concerned citizens protested in front of the Ministry of Community and Social Services at the corner of Bay Street and Wellesley Street. The protest, which was organized by the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), saw community members and organizers deliver speeches highlighting the dangers of cuts to social services and the hypocrisy of McGuinty.
Sign at rally to stop the Special Diet cuts.
Sign at rally to stop the Special Diet cuts.
Sign at Stop the Special Diet Cut rally.
Sign at Stop the Special Diet Cut rally.
Sign during the Stop the Special Diet Cut rally.
Sign during the Stop the Special Diet Cut rally.
Sign urging the government to raise welfare rates.
Sign urging the government to raise welfare rates.
Sign at march against Special Diet allowance cuts.
Sign at march against Special Diet allowance cuts.
Leader of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty speaking out at rally.
Leader of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty speaking out at rally.
Doctor speaking out at rally to end the cuts for Special Diet allowance.
Doctor speaking out at rally to end the cuts for Special Diet allowance.
Hamilton community member speaking out against the Special Diet allowance cuts.
Hamilton community member speaking out against the Special Diet allowance cuts.
One of the specific policies they’re protesting is the cut to the benefit called the “Special Diet Allowance,” which gave Ontarians up to $250 per month if a health care worker, whether it be a dietician, nurse or doctor, claimed the person needed that money for food.
According to a flyer handed out at the rally, “People have been holding their breath and waiting month-to-month for news of when that money will be taken from their cheques. Many people have already been cut-off or denied access to the Special Diet or seen the amount they receive dwindled to almost nothing.”
Speakers pointed out that poor people will lose approximately $200 million for food, single people on welfare who receive the Special Diet will lose 30 percent of their annual income and social assistance will be cut by 3 percent.
Activist holding sign that s anti-austerity.
Activist holding sign that's anti-austerity.
Man marching with sign.
Man marching with sign.
Flag hanging from Liberal Party office after activists took over the office.
Flag hanging from Liberal Party office after activists took over the office.
Police officers securing the area after activists were arrested.
Police officers securing the area after activists were arrested.
The protest then turned into a march where they walked from the Ministry of Community and Social Services to the Liberal Party offices near Yonge Street and Bloor Street. When they arrived, about 10 people spoke from the windows with a megaphone. The demonstrators were then arrested by Toronto Police, which led to the chants: “Let them go! Let them go!”
“The time to negotiate with the Liberal government has come to an end, the time to challenge them is now,” states the OCAP
Click here for a second video.
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