What some Hamilton residents and a local MP want from Trudeau, as the city hosts federal meetings.
Hamilton-area activists and a local MP are hoping Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will hear what they want to prioritize as he and his ministers stay in Hamilton for a three-day cabinet retreat.
NDP Hamilton Center MP Matthew Green wrote an op-ed. An open letter Pointing to a series of federal meetings held in his riding, saying the city “serves as the canary in the coal mine for Canadian economic and social pressures.”
Green listed issues he believed should be prioritized, including fulfilling the promise to create the Canada Disability Benefit, taking “massive and urgent federal action” on housing and defending “equal access” to health care. .
“The Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation was founded on the post-war Victory Homes project that built one million much-needed social and rental housing units for low-income families, heavily subsidized by the federal government. Gone… Now is the time to revisit. These kind of bold nation-building policies,” he said.
“We need a public health system that adheres to the principles of the Canada Health Act, including equal access to care for all, prohibition of charging patients for insured care, additional Includes restrictions on billing and priority access.”
The meetings lead to several protests.
Hamilton was also hosting various protests on Monday, including a rally organized by the Migrant Rights Network, which closed King Street near the Hamilton Convention Center for a few minutes in the afternoon.
A crowd of at least 100 people held up banners reading “Status for All” and “Regularize All”.
They also chanted various slogans including “No Chef, No Food” – a reference to John Mulva, the Hamilton chef facing deportation after seeking refuge from violence in Kenya.
“The government is good, the leadership is good, but I’m just asking them to consider the people who are here and working hard,” Mulvi told CBC Hamilton on Monday.
“If someone comes into the country, works hard, stays out of trouble, I think it’s only fair to allow them to work and help develop this country.”
Another demonstration took place nearby, in front of the Art Gallery of Hamilton, led by the Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War.
The group criticized the Trudeau government’s response to the war in Ukraine and the federal government’s multibillion-dollar deal to buy a fleet of 88 F-35 fighter jets.
Doug Brown, the group’s co-chair, said the money could be spent on other priorities than the military, adding that the jets would work against the nation’s climate goals.
“The government’s purchase of the F-35 is a terrible waste of taxpayers’ money,” he said.
There was also a separate protest in the afternoon by people opposing the public health measures implemented during the pandemic. Later on Monday evening, protests on King Street – which included truck derailments and people holding signs that read phrases such as “freedom of choice” – forced road closures and transit routes for several hours.
By 11 p.m., Go Transit said service was back to normal.
Horvath will meet with Trudeau on Tuesday.
By Monday evening, the first meeting as part of the retreat had come and gone, with 2 days of preparation planned, including a Tuesday morning meeting between Trudeau and Hamilton Mayor Andrea Horvath.
Like Green, Anthony Fresina, a 42-year-old lawyer from Hamilton, hopes to see progress this week on disability support. He said the government needs to implement the Canada Disability Benefit and increase rates for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).
People who use the ODSP can earn no more than $1,228 a month, which is less than the average price of a one-bedroom apartment in Hamilton. Zumper, a site for property rentals, puts the price at $1,645 per month, while Rentals.ca puts it at $1,764 per month.
“The ODSP needs to be equal to or above the poverty line … we definitely need to look at it from the perspective of those who cannot work,” he said.
“Our standard of living is not worth guarding the door.”
Trudeau and Liberal ministers will remain in the city until Wednesday.