P.A.C.C.'s Response to York Region Transit Strike in Ontario, Canada

P.A.C.C.'s Response to York Region Transit Strike in Ontario, Canada

The York Region Transit strike has entered its 11th week with no end in sight.

Here is the P.A.C.C. (Poverty Action for Change Coalition) Chair Tom Pearson’s response to York Region (Y.R.) Transit Strike in Ontario, Canada:

NEWS RELEASE

January 5, 2012

Y.R. Transit Strike 2nd Longest in Canadian History

York Region, Ontario, Canada – Poverty Action for Change Coalition (P.A.C.C.) condemns in the strongest of terms the lack of action and responsibility the York Region Council has taken to end the transit strike, now Canada’s 2nd longest in history, and that its hands off attitude towards the issue has acted to lengthen the strike in our opinion. It is our position that since the Region made the deal that got everyone into this mess they are obligated to assist to end it. Their duty to ALL residents of York region as council demands it.

P.A.C.C. who represent low income earners in York Region, first published a book of true stories, “Voices From The Edge”, from the lives of income challenged residents in 2006, and recently hosted York Region’s first ever social audit (Behind The Masks testimonials from those marginalized by income) co-Convened and its report co-Authored by P.A.C.C.’s Chair, which included hearing from dozens of low income recipients, social workers, agencies reps and resulted in rare actual Y.R. data and a report that the region itself endorsed – yet to date has acted on none of the recommendations nor asked to consult with P.A.C.C. on any of the initiatives.

P.A.C.C. recognizes this council has a track record of ignoring or paying lip service to its lower income earners such as through the G.T.A. pooling dollars which have been getting returned to the region from being paid to Toronto after 110 groups fought for the funds back in order to pay for York Regioners’ own social programs. Yet council has since ignored that fact and spent the bulk of the returning pool dollars on debt and infrastructure costs.

The Region also discriminates against low income earners by creating qualifications that completely eliminate low income earners from tapping into the anti-homelessness programs here which they distribute through several religious organizations including the Salvation Army. This policy actually moves low income earners to the front of the homeless line as the first to be sacrificed.

P.A.C.C. finds Council’s irresponsible disregard for those thousands of commuters and transit users which include school students, workers, disabled, mental health patients, homeless people, environmentalists, and part time workers – such as low and middle income kids who have been unable to work over xmas and beyond – putting their post secondary school plans now in jeopardy, unacceptable.

We do not accept their hands off approach – when they set the stage – and ask that Chairman Bill Fisch be asked to step down for his lack of vision and disparaging to the process remarks he has made, which further acted to put a wedge between the bargaining sides.

The fact that this strike has saved the region millions of dollars per month and that they were already planning how to spend the “windfall” as contained in the last Regional Council meeting agenda where P.A.C.C. Chair Tom Pearson made a deposition to Council imploring them to step in or leave their cars at home until the strike ended.

The motion was denied.

Says Mr. Pearson of the whole affair:

They have devastated entire families with their lack of social service programs vision and now with their arrogant lack of action. 50 and 60 years olds who are unable to get to work will never get those jobs back. The complete lack of responsibility this council seems to think it has on the matter is appalling, and frankly the M.P.P’s in the area have done not much more than go through the motions. It’s a sad reflection on our elected politicians here frankly. I just hope their attitudes don’t reflect the status quo as that would be truly tragic, in a place I grew up.

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