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article imageDozens rally to protest KPMG report, Toronto Mayor proposed cuts Special

By Andrew Moran     Jul 21, 2011 in Politics
Toronto - Dozens rallied outside the KPMG office in downtown Toronto to protest the company's recent core service review recommendations and Mayor Rob Ford's proposed cuts to various public services and possible privatization.
Earlier this year, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford hired consulting firm KPMG, which cost $3 million, to look into the various ways that city hall can cut and trim the budgets of agencies, boards and commissions.
KPMG released the report Thursday in which it urges the city to sell parking lots, contract out the Toronto Transit Commission Wheel Trans program, eliminate late-night TTC bus service, shut down some public library branches and reduce hours at others, sell the Toronto Zoo, reduce police salaries, eliminate or reduce dental health programs and sell or integrate city-run arts theatres.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford poster during KPMG protest
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford poster during KPMG protest
Although the mayor ran on a campaign of cuts, community groups forewarned of potential cuts when Ford entered office. During an executive committee meeting in February, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) and other poverty groups stormed into the city hall room, which led to absolute chaos.
OCAP President John Clarke stated to the crowd: “This year they’re only delivering the first blow. Much worse is to come. The vision that Ford has of this city is a police force and a few privatized services operated by non-unionized cheap labour. If we’re going to stop that, we better fight. If you don’t fight back, they will crush you.”
On Thursday, community organizations held a small rally outside of the KPMG office on Bay Street where dozens criticized the report and the mayor’s possible $740 million in budget cuts to environment programs, public health and public transit.
John Clarke  President of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty.
John Clarke, President of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty.
To the sounds of classic rock music, demonstrators held signs stating: “Stop the War on the Poor,” “KPMG We Don’t Want Your Austerity,” “Keep Yer Paws Off Mah Gravy,” “Childcare is not gravy” and “Fight Rob Ford – Stop City Cuts.”
The noon-hour peaceful protest consisted of individuals who were quite concerned over the impact of such cutting measures.
Although some were inebriated as to why the demonstration wasn’t held at city hall, Clarke said if you understand politics in Canada then you would understand that Bay Street is where a lot of the political decisions are made.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford poster during KPMG protest
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford poster during KPMG protest
“The first thing we would like to say to KPMG is that you are a group of inhuman, bean counting, purveyors of human misery and social retrogression and you have no business at all, sitting up there in your tower, and telling us in our communities what services we should or shouldn’t have,” said the OCAP organizer.
“We know your record; we know your international record, KPMG. We know how devoted you are to the agenda of austerity. We know that you proposed megacity and amalgamation. We know where you stand.”
Meanwhile, Sarah Vance, a protestor, said the suggested elimination of more than 2,000 child care spaces would make life even more difficult for parents and that there is already a large demand (19,500 names) for these spaces.
Protestor covered in black during KPMG protest in Toronto.
Protestor covered in black during KPMG protest in Toronto.
Instead of eliminating, Vance proposed alternatives because she claims the province of Quebec charges $5 per day for child care. “The reality is we already have a lack of spaces. We have a daycare crisis.”
There was a brief exchange between the rally organizers and private security as well as Toronto police officers, but after the sides had talks, the protest carried on and ended just before 1 p.m.
It was announced at the end of the rally that when the Toronto Mayor meets with the executive committee to discuss the report and endorse the proposed measures, the community groups will meet at Dufferin Grove Park.
More about Toronto mayor, Rob Ford, Kpmg, stop the cuts, City hall
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