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n Monday Perry had led a small group to protest in front of Scott’s office

Basic income sit-in participants — even media — barred from entry to MPP’s office

in Poverty Reduction/Provincial by

On day two of a peaceful protest in front of local MPP Laurie Scott’s office, lawyer and social worker Mike Perry was informed they were not welcome to enter the constituency office. Neither, apparently, is media, as Scott’s staff members would not even let Pamela VanMeer of Kawartha411 in to ask a question about the protest.

Not even the postal carrier could get in because of the locked door and simply moved on with the day’s mail.

On Monday Perry had led a small group to protest in front of Scott’s office beginning at 9:30 am. After peacefully demonstrating outside for awhile, the small group went inside to ask for an apology from the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, Lisa MacLeod, for the government’s treatment of participants in the basic income pilot program. Perry told Scott’s staff they wouldn’t be leaving until they heard back from the minister.

Staff members from Scott’s office asked the small group to leave on two different occasions. The group politely refused. On their third ask, staff members told the protesters they were now “trespassing.”

Finally, a police officer from Kawartha Lakes Police Service showed up from the back entrance of Scott’s office and asked everyone to leave.

At no time did the protester interfere with constituency business or people entering or leaving the office.

Scott has now posted a notice to her Facebook page. The first line reads: “I welcome any and all inquiries and comments to my constituency office, either in person, over the phone or via email.”

(Apparently not, given Kawartha411’s experience.)

Due to privacy concerns for constituents, she writes, “we are inviting demonstrators to remain outside our office while engaging in their right to free speech.” (No one was “invited,” but they were certainly ‘told,’ according to participants who were locked out.)

The ongoing three-year income was cancelled just after a year when the Ford government took office last June. The pilot program provided a basic income of up to $17,000 (for single people) with the goal of helping them take steps to get ahead out of poverty and was abruptly cut last year.

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Roderick Benns is the publisher of The Lindsay Advocate. He is the author of 'Basic Income: How a Canadian Movement Could Change the World,' and is also Vice Chair of the Ontario Basic Income Network. An award-winning author and journalist who grew up in Lindsay, Roderick has interviewed former Prime Ministers of Canada, Senators, and Mayors across Canada. He also wrote and published a series of books for youth about Canada's Prime Ministers as teens.

5 Comments

  1. You forgot to mention how 2 elderly old ladies, 2 other ladies I would guess in their 40-50’s and 1 male lawyer is being accused of terrorizing a public official’s office while sitting quietly in their seats waiting for a reply and how when asked for some privacy for the office to deal with an issue walked out and waited in the entryway to give way for another person’s privacy that had come in seeking assistance for an officer to sneak in the back way and hand them their personal effects in that front entry section and to be told to leave as the office was closed with a constituent still inside. Also how some are misconstruing destructive or aggressive behavior sustained at this location months ago as having been caused by BI recipients (based on the image which was presented while reporting a peaceful protect on Monday with a less then pristine image of the front of Laurie Scott’s office due to Labour disputes where the words $15 an hour were spray bombed on the side of her building, to which Basic Income did not make an hourly wage). Sorry if I ate up some time in clarifying some misconceptions that have come to my attention.

  2. I think that Laurie Scott’s actions are shameful and deplorable as a representative of all of the citizens of the City of kawartha lakes. While i understand that Ms. Scott as a minion of Ford’s government could not offer an apology without permission; she could have offered to forward that request in a heartfelt manner after her government fully backtracked on their election promises. Perhaps a ‘truthful’ apology would read like this: Unfortunately the basic income program is not financially sustainable because we have to give 10 million dollars to the horse racing industry.

  3. Sorry Rev. Mary-Margaret Boone

    The protesters were wrong to threaten the people in that office by giving an ultimatum.
    People have to grow up and proceed through the proper channels when wanting to move mountains.

    Dick

    • Dik, please do tell us what this “ultimatum” was, I mean I was there at the office all 3 days and know who all else was there but I must have missed you and missed the ultimatum. I know we all have been told that any questions and concerns would be gladly discussed on many fronts, we did not ask for anything demeaning, we did not cause violence or impose fear (with 4 ladies in their golden years and a Lawyer/Social Worker) we have not blockaded the office doors, and even offered those who came by while the door was locked a phone to call in so the office girls knew someone was there. At no time have we tried to force our way into the office, at no time have we moved close to the door while another was at the door to gain entry and at no time has anyone from within the office come out to interact with us, whom have been standing outside in minus 0 degree weather at times, and many of advanced years sitting in the cold waiting respectfully, even going so far as to keep the front of the office on the outside free and clean of debris and obstructions while keeping numbers on the sidewalk reasonable and segregated at times so as not to make a public nuisance of ourselves or to be misconstrued as a threat to anyone.

  4. Dick, “ultimatum” is too strong of a word. I was there and observed how it was handled professionally by Mike Perry. He even instructed the other couple of people with him to ensure they stayed well off to the side in case anyone came in to conduct business. An ultimatum is “A final demand or statement of terms, the rejection of which will result in retaliation or a breakdown in relations.” That is not the case here.

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