Media release from April 1.
This morning the S-CAP 3 appeared in court. One member had her charges withdrawn through participation in a ‘restorative justice’ process. The other two had their charges ‘diverted’ into community service work. After this community service is completed the charges will also be withdrawn. Below is background and the statement of the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty (S-CAP) on these developments.
For more information contact S-CAP at 249-878-7227
Media release from 13 Jan 2014.
Last night three members and supporters of the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty (S-CAP), an activist anti-poverty organization, were arrested for participating in a support work delegation that went to the Out of the Cold Shelter to ask that a person who had been barred from the Shelter be allowed to say there in warmth and safety. This individual had been barred even though they had no other place to stay out of the cold. This kind of support work is what S-CAPengages in on a daily basis for people living in poverty in Sudbury. The issue of finding this individual a place to stay out of the cold was eventually resolved successfully, but not before the police intervened to make arrests.
When the S-CAP delegation arrived Salvation Army staff called the police. When the police arrived, they asked the S-CAP delegation to leave even though the Shelter staff had told them they could wait in the lobby until the situation for the person seeking shelter was resolved. When an S-CAP member said to the police she was not going to leave until this person got a place to stay out of the cold, she was immediately, and quite forcefully arrested. Excessive force was used on this mother as she called back to her son as she was arrested. Then two other people were arrested as they were leaving — one for simply looking back through the window of the Out of the Cold Shelter and the other who was standing on the sidewalk outside. It was this uncalled for over-reaction by the police that created the disturbance at the Out of the Cold shelter last night and that led to entirely unjustified arrests. The S-CAP delegation had no intention of causing a disturbance or of interfering with residents at the Shelter. In fact, an S-CAP member had brought her son with her to the Shelter, as she has done before. It was the police overreaction and arrests and interference with the S-CAP delegation that created the problems. S-CAP apologizes for any anxiety caused to the staff person at the front desk of the shelter when the delegation first arrived.
The three individuals are charged with “trespassing” and “causing a disturbance” (which is a criminal code offence) and have had non-association conditions imposed on them which means that they cannot even communicate with each other. This condition makes it very difficult for them to organize a defence.
S-CAP calls for these charges to be immediately dropped. S-CAP already has a history with the police trying to stifle our ability to organize, most recently with the S-CAP 11 charges, but now they have moved onto criminalizing people doing support work for people living in poverty. This harassment must stop.
S-CAP will continue to support people who have been barred from the Out of the Cold Shelter, will continue to advocate for more extended hours for this crucial Shelter, and for the elimination of barriers for accessing this Shelter. We also need accessible, affordable and safe housing in this city and we need a major raise in social assistance rates so that people can afford the housing that is available. In the long run we know shelters are not the solution, and that we need to address the root causes of poverty and the marginalization of people living in poverty in government policies that consistently put the interests of the rich ahead of those of the poor.
For more information contact:
S-CAP at 249-878-7227
Dear S-CAP supporters:
Last Monday was a very cold and we ended up having only a small S-CAP meeting. It was a very useful meeting but we need more people to get involved to carry out our activities. We are therefore having another organizing meeting this coming Monday, Jan. 12th at the Labour Council Office at 6:30pm. Please come it you can. If you cannot attend but have some time to engage in S-CAP activities please let us know.
S-CAP has a lot of plans but with one of our members moving away, and another going away for a few months, we really need more people to get involved to ensure we have the capacity to carry out our actions. This January we are continuing to challenge the City to expand and improve the Out of the Cold Shelter especially as temperatures during the day have plummeted, to provide CSUMB rates and policies for CHPI exceptional circumstances funding, and making sure that the SAMS computer crisis does not have a detrimental impact on people on OW and ODSP or on OW and ODSP workers.
And we are also now dealing with a Sudbury by-election on Feb. 5th where Glenn Thibeault, now running for the provincial Liberal Party, needs to be challenged on the Liberal Party record of cutting the CSUMB program; slashing the Special Diet Supplement; allowing people on social assistance to sink deeper into poverty so that now a person on OW needs an immediate 55% increase just to get back to the buying power they had in 1995; organizing unfair medical reviews of people on ODSP designed to push them off ODSP; organized the SAMS computer program crisis for people on OW and ODSP and for OW and ODSP workers; has refused to repeal the so-called ‘Safe Streets Act’ which is used against panhandlers; and has refused to increase the minimum wage to $14 an hour for low-income workers. We will also be challenging all the other candidates in the by-election to support anti-poverty action.
A series of important City meetings are coming up on Jan. 19th and 20th that we are mobilizing for for anti-poverty and Handi-Transit access action. On Monday, January 19th the Operations Committee meets at Tom Davies Square at 4pm and we are asking everyone who supports access for all people with disabilities who need it (including for people with disabilities without mobility problems) to attend and to support this position. At 6pm that same day the Community Services Committee meets at Tom Davies Square and we want as many people as possible to be there to support more extended hours for the Out of the Cold Shelter and making sure that it is a City Shelter and not a Salvation Army Shelter; supporting CSUMB policies and rates for CHPI exceptional circumstances funding; and that the SAMS crisis not hurt people on OW or ODSP or OW or ODSP workers.
The next day at 6pm on the 20th the Finance and Administration Committee of the City meets at Tom Davies Square for community input into the upcoming budget deliberations. S-CAP is asking to be on the agenda to argue for funding for expanding the Out of the Cold Shelter and to ensure that CSUMB rates and policies are followed for CHPI funding – including for community start-up needs.
We will also be mobilizing people for all-candidates meetings and for any further appearances by Premier Wynne in Sudbury during the by-election as we press for anti-poverty action. If you are able to assist in this please let us know.
Later on Sunday March 1st along with the Sudbury Media Co-op we will be sponsoring a workshop with Chris Dixon the author of Another Politics: Talking Across Today’s Transformative Movements, and a former member of S-CAP, on strategy and campaign organizing.
There are no upcoming events.