Labour leaders join Toronto solidarity action to oppose extremism and support Ottawa residents

Author of the article: TORONTO, Feb. 20, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Leaders from the Ontario Federation of Labour attended the Community Solidarity Rally and March organized by labour and community organizations in Toronto. The action was held in solidarity with Ottawa residents who have been subjected to over three weeks of hate and harassment during…
Labour leaders join Toronto solidarity action to oppose extremism and support Ottawa residents

Author of the article:

TORONTO, Feb. 20, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Leaders from the Ontario Federation of Labour attended the Community Solidarity Rally and March organized by labour and community organizations in Toronto.

The action was held in solidarity with Ottawa residents who have been subjected to over three weeks of hate and harassment during the occupation of their city. The action also vowed to keep Toronto residents, workers, and neighbourhoods safe from extremism.

“Everyone who has stood up to the convoy and confronted its rhetoric of hate has demonstrated what’s possible when a community comes together and stands up for love, not hate, and for solidarity, not division,” said Patty Coates, Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) President. “At the Ontario Federation of Labour we are committed to challenging the hate and division fueled by the convoy while putting forward a hopeful and optimistic vision for a better Ontario.”

Over the past three weeks workers have faced harassment and bullying for trying to stay safe while doing their job. They have lost wages from their workplaces being forced to shutter, and they have faced unnecessary hardship.

“The real heroes and freedom fighters in this pandemic are the ones who sacrificed their own health and safety to keep us safe, healthy, alive, fed, and clothed. Every single Canadian who wore a mask to protect their neighbour, friend, and coworker,” said Sara Labelle, 2nd Vice-President, OPSEU/SEFPO. “We have been united through this pandemic in common goals to care for each other and keep each other safe – that is what workers across this province have done,” added Labelle. “This convoy doesn’t represent the majority – the majority sacrificed every day with a common goal of minimizing death and illness. The majority rolled up their sleeves, wore masks, and delivered vital services in their communities every day, to protect the most vulnerable.”

The OFL believes that the convoy has attempted to mobilize the discontent felt by many after two years of government mishandling the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the convoy is rooted in hate. It is led by white supremacists who have spread Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and racism on social media and elsewhere.

“As long as it’s necessary, we’ll keep naming – loudly, clearly, and collectively – what we’re witnessing. These are white supremacists, plain and simple, who desperately latch onto whatever the issue of the day might be in order to spread their ideology of hate, sow seeds of chaos and dissent, and upend the lives of residents and workers,” said Fred Hahn, CUPE Ontario President. “Enough’s enough. No more hate. No more chaos. No more sleepless nights for, and harassment of, our neighbours. It’s time to forcefully oppose these currents of white supremacy; offer a vision of the solutions we need, like real affordability, permanent paid sick days, and investments into childcare and healthcare; and organize to make this vision a reality.”

“The pandemic has been devastating. People are angry, exhausted, and frustrated. People wish things would go back to normal,” said Coates. “The solution to our anger and frustration about the pandemic is not hate and division. The solution is protections for workers and investments in the people of Ontario.”

The Ontario Federation of Labour represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow @OFLabour on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information, please contact:

Melissa Palermo

Director of Communications

Ontario Federation of Labour

[email protected] l 416-894-3456

sy/COPE343

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