Sunday, April 16, 2006

Welfare Hunger Strike Update

As I have posted about before (1, 2) an Ojibwe woman living in Sudbury, Sara Anderson, who depends on socal assistance for her income, is on hunger strike to demand an increase in social assistance rates, a restoration of the previous special dietary supplement, and changes that make it easier for people with disabilities to get on the Ontario Disability Support Program. Yesterday, on the 13th day of her hunger strike, Anderson met with her MPP, Minister of Mines and Northern Development Rick Bartolucci. Here is a media release coming out of that meeting:

Sara Anderson Meets with Cabinet Minister Rick Bartolucci

Yesterday on the 13th day of her hunger strike Sara Anderson met with Sudbury Liberal MPP and Cabinet Minister Rick Bartolucci. Present at the meeting were Sara Anderson, Rick Bartolucci and an assistant, and Rick Grylls, President of Mine Mill/CAW Local 598. Sara Anderson is demanding a substantial increase in social assistance rates; the re-instatement of the previous Special Dietary Supplement policy; making it easier for people with disabilities to get onto the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP); and that everyone on social assistance who moves be offered a Community Start Up Fund. Sara Anderson's hunger strike is continuing.

The matters discussed at the Saturday morning meeting included raising the social assistance rates and access to Community Start Up Funds. Bartolucci made it clear that he would not intervene regarding Sara Anderson's appeal of her rejection from ODSP which comes up on May 9th. Bartolucci committed himself to put in writing what he is going to do regarding raising the rates and Community Start Up Funds in a letter which Sara Anderson will receive on Tuesday. If these commitments are not acceptable to Sara Anderson the hunger strike will continue and the Hunger Clinic Organizing Committee will be calling on all anti-poverty and social justice groups across the province to join in a provincial day of action in support of Sara Anderson and her demands. For more information contact XXXX YYYY at 000-0000.


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