Like many of you, we witnessed the needless police violence against unhoused residents and allies yesterday at Lamport Stadium.
Let us be clear: policing – of residents, of demonstrators, of media – is not a housing strategy. Addressing housing and homelessness across this province requires deep care, compassion, and commitment – not handcuffs and pepper spray.
Instead of violence, we need to ensure access to affordable housing and maintain safety for all protestors.
As trade unionists who support the right to protest free from violent retaliation, we believe that the 22 people who came out to support their fellow community members should not have been arrested. And in the recognition that the media are a critical component of any democracy, serving as a mirror to power, journalists should not have been detained.
We’ve said it before but it bears repeating. Toronto City Council must end the clearings. The Ford Conservatives must develop a provincial housing strategy that provides housing as a basic right. The Federal government must develop a comprehensive national affordable housing strategy. And front-line workers who find themselves directed by their employer to take part in removals must know they have the right to refuse unsafe work.
Now’s the time for real action that supports people: unhoused, precariously housed, and all of us.