Not On My Sidewalk: G.U.T.S. suppers in trouble
Monday, January 16, 200614 Comments
Out of sight, out of mind?
Three times a week, there is a free picnic in front of the Legal Clinic on the corner of Wyndham St. N. and MacDonnell foranyone that wants to come and participate. We reclaim public space and share food together.
The City of Guelph, downtown businesses and the Downtown Board of Management have been trying for some time to gentrify the downtown core by harassing and removing poor people and anyone considered undesirable. The City is using Public Health as an excuse to stop these communal picnics. The Public Health Inspector indicated he is acting at the request of a couple of downtown restaurants, including Frank'n'Steins. This is clearly not a public health issue – the businesses don't like people getting free meals. The restaurants have tried unsuccessfully in the past to get the meals moved or stopped. In the process, people have been beaten up, harassed and attacked.
Public Health should not be trying to shut down an event which makes free food accessible to dozens of people. Many people don't have enough to eat and the regular picnics enable us all to come together, help ourselves to food, eat and chat together. If Public Health were actually concerned about people's health, they would be encouraging and supporting such free meals. Public Health should turn their attention to those responsible for the malnutrition of social assistance recipients, to the people that have cut the Special Diet program for people on social assistance.
The City is pretending that the issue is our lack of a certified kitchen. We believe this is is only a smokescreen and not the real issue. The City does not like poor people visibly on their streets and this is but another attempt at gentrifying thedowntown.
We refuse to disappear. Anyone who wants to show their support and enjoy a free dinner with us is welcome to come out. We ask as many people as possible to come and show their oppositionto the City's ongoing attempts to force poor people out of sight.
Food is a right.
Fight to win!
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