UPDATE: November 30, 2020
We are concerned about the inconsistency between the City of Hamilton’s earlier messaging and today’s actions with respect to the peaceful protest on the City Hall forecourt. On Friday a bylaw officer was recorded stating that protesters could remain and now several have been issued Trespass to Property orders. It is additionally disappointing that the City has elected to take these extreme measures without any meaningful dialogue with protesters about the policing and affordable housing issues raised
November 25, 2020
Hamilton is in the midst of a full blown housing crisis. It has been compounded by the pandemic that has exposed long-standing social inequities. Vulnerable and marginalized individuals and communities are bearing the brunt of rising rents, dwindling stock and low vacancy rates, as well as COVID-19.
Housing is a human right and it is the linchpin social determinant of health. There is an urgent need for the provision of affordable housing. In these desperate times, citizens of this community are taking extraordinary measures to bring attention to this emergency.
We stand in solidarity with the peaceful, impassioned protesters in the forecourt of City Hall. They deserve our respect and to be heard. We call for an immediate dialogue about a collaborative plan to address this crisis as a City and in conjunction with the provincial and federal governments.
We are concerned that an intentional protest not be mischaracterized as an encampment. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms encourages all of us to assemble and express our views. We are particularly alarmed that a protest organizer has been ticketed and faces a $10,000 fine for event participants breaching COVID-19 measures while exercising a constitutional right. At a time when a Toronto restaurant owner’s actions to flagrantly breach lockdown restrictions result in minimal, the crackdown on a young, Black woman speaks to an oppressive double standard that our democratic society cannot tolerate.
We urge caution and cool heads. We call upon institutional leaders to recognize and respect the protest for what it is and enter into immediate dialogue.