ACORN and Allies Rally to Save Legal Aid

Posted May 9, 2019

On Thursday, ACORN members and allies from across Ontario held a Provincial Day of Action in protest against the provincial government’s 35% cut to the budget of Legal Aid. 
In Peel, members gathered outside the constituency office of MPP Natalia Kusendova, in solidarity with Mississauga Community Legal Services. Starting the rally on Hurontario Street, ACORN members called premier Doug Ford to protest the cut to funding and distributed flyers.  The members then marched towards the constituency office—chanting about the cuts, receiving supportive car honks and being photographed by the Mississauga News along the way.
At MPP Kusendova’s office, nobody answered and the door was locked. Members called her directly and informed her that ACORN members were outside her office and wanted to discuss Ford’s cuts. ACORN members chanted, left flyers and a letter detailing their demands.
In Hamilton over 50 ACORN members and allies rallied in front of the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic. The action was organized in solidarity with Hamilton's Community Legal Clinic. 
Hamilton ACORN's Downtown Chair Mike Wood led chants about the cuts and Doug Ford's continued attack on tenants and low income families. Allies from Legal Clinic spoke about what the cuts mean for Hamilton and how the cuts will impact the most marginalized members of our community. 
Following the rally, ACORN members attempted to make a call to Premier Ford but his voicemail was full! Members opted to text the Premier that justice isn't just for the rich!
In Ottawa, 30 ACORN members were joined by our allies from the Ottawa Community Legal Clinics at our petition rally outside of the Ontario Courthouse. Chair of our South Ottawa Chapter, Marie Lourdes Garnier, spoke passionately about how she came to Canada as a political refugee from Haiti and without the free legal representation from Legal Aid she wouldn't have been able to stay in this country and wouldn't have found justice in the courthouse we were standing outside of. 
Ottawa members wore signs with targets on them because in the words of ACORN leader Norma-Jean Quibbell, Ford's budget cuts are putting targets on the backs of the poor! ACORN members gathered petition signatures in downtown Ottawa and encouraged passersby to call Doug Ford's cell phone demanding he restore Legal Aid's funding and protect low income people's right to justice.
In Toronto, 22 ACORN members and allies from legal clinics came out to march on Caroline Mulroney at the Ministry of the Attorney General and tell her to reverse the cuts to legal aid that are putting low income tenants, refugees, immigrants, seniors and children at risk. Alejandra Ruiz Vargas, East York ACORN chair, kicked the rally off at the corner of Bay & College and then Ebony Menzies, a leader in Weston ACORN, led the march along College Street and down Bay into the Ministry of the Attorney General.
Security and staff were not ready for an ACORN action, and tried to get us to leave - but we stood our ground. Members occupied the lobby for 20 minutes and did chants, gave a speech and handed out some fliers to staff going on lunch break until eventually security agreed to take our demand letter up to the 11th floor where the Attorney General's offices are.


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