Muskoka Residents Join Province-Wide General Strike Against Ford

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Muskoka residents in Huntsville and Gravenhurst joined community members across the province on May 1 in a general strike against Doug Ford’s government and the recents cuts announced for provincial programs.

The province-wide event was organized by Dakota Lanktree and Florence O’Connell. Lanktree is a documentary film-maker from Hamilton while O’Connell operates a housekeeping business in Toronto. The purpose of the general strike against Ford was to stop “the current agenda being played out in Ontario” and remind Doug Ford who he works for, according to a statement from the organizers. Groups in at least 26 communities across Ontario, including Huntsville and Gravenhurst, participated in the protest, while solidarity events also happened in communities such as Orillia, Barrie and North Bay. It’s also no accident that the event is happening on International Worker’s Day, according to the organizers.

“What’s most important in this, to my mind, is that the people of Ontario realize that they do not need permission to stand up and say that they’re not going to take it,” Lanktree said in a statement. “We’ll call it a success if it furthers the overall opposition to these dangerous and poorly researched cuts that we’ve seen from the Ford government, and it’s our hope that this being a people-led movement will also send a message to the unions that we stand with them when they move.”

Peggy Peterson organized the Huntsville portion of the general strike, which hosted a couple dozen locals at Riverside Park near downtown. Peterson believes in taking back 10 per cent from those on the Sunshine List, a list that shows public sector employees who are paid $100,000 or more annually, to fund the government.

“Ten percent clawback, [Ford] can do that. It’s easy paperwork and no job losses,” Peterson said. “It takes back a bit of the power with that because we have to remind the government that they work for us, they represent us. The only reason they exist is to provide the essential services like health care and education. That’s why we created government many years ago. We have to go back to that.”

Peterson said the group behind the event is also organizing a petition to garner further support for their goals. She hopes the general strike will draw attention to important local issues like infrastructure and healthcare.

Erin Horvath, NDP candidate for the Parry-Sound in the last provincial election, attended the strike in Huntsville and said it’s important for Norm Miller, Doug Ford and others in the government to understand that many people are not happy and feel unrepresented in recent decisions. Many people are trying to reach Miller to have a conversation, she said, and have received no response.

“This province-wide strike I think is really good evidence that people are not unanimously thrilled with what’s going on,” Horvath said. “We need to step back and I would say to Norm, you need to step back with your people. The allegiance needs to be with Parry Sound-Muskoka first.”

Horvath also commented on the recent provincial rebranding, saying that it’s frivolous to spend money on bolstering Ontario’s image in the face of so many governmental cuts.

“Don’t spend money on rebranding a logo when you’re going to be telling families that they’ve lost their employment,” she said. “Jobs in the education sector, in the healthcare sector, those are all jobs. You can’t say you’re growing the economy when you’re cutting essential jobs that are important for growth as a whole.”

Horvath said she hopes that constituents will understand that the movement is not just about anger and discontent but also about a way to find a solution.

“People are coming together to create a positive, progressive alternative vision for how to grow Parry Sound-Muskoka,” she said. “One that’s green, one that looks at people, planet and profits together.”

7 COMMENTS

  1. We live in a country of greed! We live in a country of entitlement! We live in a country that gives huge amounts of money away! We as a province have a debt of 380 billions plus, if I recall correctly! The liberals have ran us into the ground both province and country wise! It is a fact! You cant run on credit and I don’t run my house like that! So if Doug Ford wants to look over and make changes to the financial spending of this province then I voted in the right man! Norm Miller included! We all need to regroup and spend accordingly, besides, I wonder why southern people come to the north and demonstrate here! Like really, carbon foot print! {1} Keep up the great work Norm and Doug! {2} don’t slam people that have good jobs government or other wise! There are more people making 100K plus then you can imagine in the private sector! Me, I have no problem with that, good for them! They are all contributing to the economy of this country!

    • And reading these other comments makes me have faith in others. I thought I was the only one in Ontario that understands don’t spend more then you make

  2. @ Phil , I’m all for austerity if we are ALL actually going to feel the pain and balance the budget. However Mr Ford is appointing his cronies to top level positions, giving corporate tax breaks to the most affluent and business (e.g. nixing the cap and trade system which was profit neutral and has led to the implementation of the federal carbon tax). He has also stopped the minimum wage increase which benefits the business owner while giving the lowest tax bracket a break (when they’d be better off paying more tax while having the 1 dollar increase) and we are meanwhile going to continue to run a deficit until the END OF HIS TERM. Wake up boss; he’s for the people. . . rich people!

    • Morning Rob, I do believe he is on the right track, I may not agree with his whole policy but we have to start somewhere. Knowing people that have businesses, for every dollar they pay in wages their cost goes up, payments to cpp, ei. Just saying. People making less the $30 K should not be paying a income tax! Help at the start and not at the end of the year. Carbon Tax, well it is a tax grab and that’s my opinion only! I seen no benefits on my tax return this year! If he is concerned about carbon foot print, that being the Trudeau gov., then we need to look at the dirty coal coming out of the mid west USA, that was shut down by activists on all the USA ports. They then moved it to the western ports of B.C. YA we don’t hear about that though. Millions of tons of coal from Vancouver ports to the Far East. Just saying, we could go on for hours on that one! Bottom line is, you can’t spend money you don’t have, accounting one O one! Safe day to all first responders on the water issues in Muskoka!

  3. I stand by Doug Ford. Ontario overspend for so many years we have to make cuts. We are broke. And when entitled people don’t get free money of course they’ll be upset. Well simple put if your life style requires you to life off my hard earned dollars I paid in tax maybe you should reconsider your lifestyle and or career.

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