Saturday, 25 September 2010

Free Transit Street Party, Ocotober 2nd 2010

Well, Taodhg suggested that we repost the Greater Toronto Workers' Assembly press release regarding the Free Transit Street Party, so here it is:

2/22/2010. Greater Toronto Workers’ Assembly (GTWA) to hold park party to raise awareness and campaign for free and accessible transit. Party and rally to take place Saturday Oct. 2 1-4PM in Christie Pits, Toronto

No Fare is Fair: Park Party for Free and Accessible Transit...

The Greater Toronto Workers’ Assembly will be holding a mass rally and family-friendly party at the Christie Pits in Toronto on Saturday October 2 from 1 to 4 PM, to increase the visibility of the GTWA’s campaign for free and accessible transit.

“This is a perfect time for this kind of community campaign,” says York University Professor Leo Panitch. “The public is fed up with cuts to social services and increasing transit costs, while the government spends billions on fighter-planes.” Panitch points out that the campaign can be paid for through a re-allocation of tax revenue, and possibly by floating bonds, given Ontario’s low interest rates.

Community organizer Jennifer Huang points out that for working class and migrant communities, the cost of transit makes life more difficult. “People shouldn’t have to choose between paying for either groceries or transit,” says Huang. Jonah Schein, Davenport candidate for Toronto City Council agrees. “Imagine free and accessible transit,” says Schein. “It seems difficult, but it also seemed difficult to imagine free health care before Tommy Douglas came along.”

The campaign demands that the public is provided not only with fare–free transit, but also for accessible transit. Those with accessibility needs are increasingly finding the TTC not ‘the better way.’ “Accessibility doesn’t just mean an elevator at the end of the platform” says labour activist Peter Brogan. “It means a firm commitment from the city to ensure that those who aren’t ‘able bodied’ have the same right to mobility as everyone else!”

The Greater Toronto Workers’ Assembly was formed after a series of meetings among progressive, labour and community organizations in Toronto in the summer and fall of 2009. Vowing to move beyond the divisions that have hampered progressive change in the Greater Toronto Area, the first Assembly was held in October 2009. The campaign for Free and Accessible transit was crafted by the campaigns committee of the GTWA and endorsed by Assembly members in April 2010.

Since April, a committee of labour activists, academics and community organizers has worked on crafting the campaign, researching and discussing how to pay for fare-free and accessible transit, creating and distributing leaflets and building our capacity to push for a new and better Toronto. “This is a great city” says Schein, who will be speaking to potential constituents at the party, “but another Toronto is possible!”

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