MEDIA RELEASE: Occupy Sudbury
MEDIA RELEASE: Occupy Sudbury
To the People of Greater Sudbury,
After 6 weeks, Greater Sudbury City officials have deemed the Occupy Sudbury encampment
at Memorial Park to be in violation of the city by-laws; as a result the city has served the Occupy
Sudbury movement with a trespass to property notice. The rumours of eviction are a little extreme
at this point.
City authorities have also announced in a letter that in light of extreme cold weather and the
recent fire at the site, the city can no longer allow the current use of memorial park to continue
between the hours of 11pm and 8am.
One of the major things that Occupy Sudbury has learned over the last 6 weeks being located
in Memorial Park is how the city and social agencies are dramatically failing poor and homeless
people here in Sudbury and are making the lives of many people living in poverty far worse.
Through policies of marginalization and exclusion many people living in poverty without housing
are literally forced out into the cold in the winter with no one available to meet their needs or to
provide assistance for them.
We need immediate action to produce more quality and accessible social housing and to end
these policies of exclusion and marginalization. We also call upon the City of Sudbury to support
the province-wide Raise the Rates campaign to dramatically raise social assistance rates and
to stop the cuts to the special diet supplement for people on Ontario Works and the Ontario
Disability Support Program
Occupy Sudbury would like to express grave concern over the issue of the homeless persons
who have been receiving shelter and food at the Occupy encampment; they will now have
nowhere to turn as the weather conditions worsen. City authorities have assured Occupy
Sudbury the availability of space at the Elgin St Mission, which is now currently open 24 hours for
anyone in need of a warm and safe place to sleep.
We are grateful that Sudbury has a shelter that is open 24 hours a day; however, the fact of the
matter is Occupy Sudbury houses the homeless people that Greater Sudbury Shelters have
turned away. It has come to our attention that if citizens are suspected of being under the
influence of drugs, alcohol or deemed to be intoxicated, they are refused services. Occupy
Sudbury will be keeping a very close eye on how our citizens are treated.
Occupy Sudbury believes that this is inhuman and that this oversight reflects the city’s lack of
concern for the safety of all its residents. Occupy Sudbury would like to remind the public that
there were a number of fatalities last year due to exposure, or hypothermia if you would. Occupy
Sudbury has been working hard to prevent those fatalities from happening again this year.
Occupy Sudbury would like to secure further reassurance from the city authorities that this issue
will in fact be resolved. Otherwise the city’s claim of concern for public safety would be false.
We, Occupy Sudbury are engaged as citizens of the world, not just occupiers, People need to
take the initiative in their communities and people should get involved.
Occupy Sudbury is connected to the global movement and we have a significant following
globally. We have a number of creditable well known people involved in the movement; however,
we realize that there are those who are directly opposed to this movement. We are also unsure
if the tent fire was intentionally set by one of those people. We have a significant advantage
because we move much faster then they do.
There are only a few necessary protocols in our General Assemblies. i.e. peaceful action, talking
in turn ( and waiting for your turn quietly), using hand signals, and consensus. This has
been a success! We have raised awareness and sparked dialog. We have begun to shape a
universally understood message right here in Sudbury Ontario. In any event, what is to follow our
members will continue to monitor the homeless situation in Memorial Park. Occupy Sudbury has
already taken steps towards its Phase II.
To the Greater City of Sudbury, Mr. Doug Nadorozny (Chief Administrative Officer);
The purpose of this letter is to advise city officials, as well as the police, and
community, that Occupy Sudbury (O.S.) has, through the process of consensus, reached a
non-decision agreement, to comply (to some degree) with the City's trespass to property
notice. What this means is that, although some believe we should comply, others do not.
Thus, each has given consent to the other, to carry out their own will. Some will vacate the
park, others will not. We acknowledge that the city has, to some degree, respected our
right to peaceful assembly. It has been a mandate of O.S. to facilitate cooperation between
our group and city officials, while actively engaging in peaceful, civil disobedience. Occupy
Sudbury is appreciative of the level of respect to which it has been treated with by the city,
and we have remained respectful in return.
Some members of Occupy Sudbury would like to state their actions are in reference
to Section 2(b) of the Good Samaritan Act; an individual, other than a health care professional
described in clause (a), who provides emergency first aid assistance to a person who is ill,
injured or unconscious as a result of an accident or other emergency, 2001, c. 2, s. 2 (2). Some
of us feel that those who we provide assistance to, in light of “the extreme cold weather we
are experiencing”, addictions, mental health issues, and/or no access to food/water/shelter,
constitute as an emergency situation, and as such, some believe that, in part, our presence in
the park is to provide assistance to them and improve quality of life, and that, pursuant to the
Good Samaritan Act, should not be met with any legal action.
That being said; it would not be peaceful disobedience if we complied with each and
every order. The city must recognize that the members of O.S. will only comply with orders
which we individually, or collectively, deem as reasonable, and justified. In light of the
recent combustion of a prospector's tent, this eviction notice has been deemed as a
justified request; but not all justifications are reasonable, or moral.
It is quite clear that the trespass notice sent to Occupy Sudbury is surmountable to an
eviction order, in that one facilitates the other. All across Canada, and that of the USA, various
reasons have been cited to evict the occupiers; we believe these are not isolated efforts, but
rather coordinated between provinces and city officials of different municipalities. It is shameful
that Canada had followed suit with decisions/responses in the USA, and that Sudbury had
followed suit with the decisions/responses in Toronto.
In the 1st paragraph of the letter written by Mr. Nadorozny, it is noted that "The
city has become very concerned with the impact it (Occupy) is having on the community".
What, exactly, is the impact that Occupy is having on the city? Could it be that it has begun
to problematize the nature of our community, and make it an open question? That we have,
whether through dissenting opposition or welcoming support, generated dialogue in the
community about issues that matter, such as homelessness, inequality, austerity, social
stratification, aboriginal issues, student debt/rising tuition costs, workers’ rights, social
support programs, etc.? That we have encouraged the community to get involved, and help
create a better Sudbury? To provide an area where everyone's voice is heard, where they
bring the issues to the table? If these things are among that which concerns the officials
of Sudbury, perhaps it would be wise for the citizens of Sudbury to be concerned about the
motives and intentions of their city officials.
The trespass notice sent to Occupy Sudbury, in the 2nd paragraph, express's the
city's concern for Occupiers health, citing "The extreme cold weather we are experiencing"
as one of the causes for eviction; We ask, where was this concern when our heaters were
to be removed? Where was this concern when we were ordered to remove our chiminea
fire? The truth lays in the nature of eviction; their concern seems not just for us, but also
for themselves. Their concern is to be viewed by the citizens of Sudbury as caring, to look
as if they responded quickly and effectively, in the interest of the citizens of Sudbury (We
now ask you to reflect on how quickly the city's response [or lack thereof] was in regards
to the homeless citizenry. How much do they really care?); the only concern the city has,
it seems, is to save face. The City Officials of Sudbury must recognize that we willingly take
these risks; we put ourselves in that park, and inasmuch, Occupy Sudbury formally requests
that we not be belittled by the notion that the city has to worry about whether we are cold
or not; it may be worthy to note that, had Occupy Sudbury been allowed to carry on with its
outdoor, chiminea fire, we would have stayed warm, and the preconditions would not have
been created for the ignition of the tent in question,; though we retain responsibility for
that event, it could have been avoided. *Note; it is still unclear as to whether the fire was an
accident, or done purposefully.
Lastly, we would like to address a misleading statement put forth by the city; In
the 2nd last paragraph, it is stated "We are well aware that O.S. has become more than
a protest site, and has become a refuge for many residents in the Sudbury Downtown; I
would like to assure you that anyone who needs a warm safe place to sleep is welcome to
utilize the shelters,". Mr.Nadoronzy goes on to state, "We have confirmed there is available
space, open 24 hrs/day". These two assertions, together, beg the question; why has Occupy
Sudbury become more than a protest site, why has it become a refuge?" Seemingly, if the
shelters were open to anyone, and sufficiently equipped to care for all who need it, Occupy
Sudbury would not become a refuge, since everyone would already be accommodated.
The fact of the matter is, these shelters are not open to "Anyone", and do not adequately
provide to everyone a warm and safe place; countless times Occupy has taken in people
who were refused these services, people who could not afford them, or people who avoid
them because they are not treated fairly. In fact, the night the eviction was served, we
housed 6 individuals who were denied/did not have access to the services which are “open
24 hours for anyone”. This claim regarding the availability of shelter is inaccurate; so quit
misrepresenting a system that doesn't work by telling us that it does, because we're here,
in this park, and from our experience, we have learned otherwise, and we will call out
misrepresentations as we see them.
To conclude; we (meaning most of us) will comply with this order to abide to the park
curfew and the city by-law, but do not confuse our intention to cooperate, with that of an
intention to give up or give in; for anytime one willingly concedes to a demand, or in this
case an order, they are, in fact, in charge. Occupy Sudbury wishes to remind the council, and
city officials, that we, the people, have the power. Willful Compliance to this eviction order
is not, in anyway, a submission to power; it is the act of exercising of it. We will continue
to occupy, be it in the parks, libraries, schools, or city halls; in your living rooms on your TV
sets all around the world, on your way to work. We will continue to drop banners. We will
continue to chant. If the city deems we cannot use a megaphone, we will use the people’s
mic. Through the winter, if the city deems we cannot erect structures, we will build with
snow. If the city deems we cannot stand for what we believe, we will instead march. If the
city tells us to leave, we will simply move somewhere else. We will not go away. We will
continue to hear the voices of the community, and continue to facilitate an area for the
public to engage each other. We will continue to be involved, and come next spring, we will
We are Committed. We are inspired. We
We are empowered. We are the 99%.
- Occupy Sudbury -