“Suppressing the vote” in London West

At the end of the car flyering session Around 4:00pm, the guys from "Justice for Injured Workers" show up to protest outside Ken Coran's office. They are pleased to be joined by 2 OSSTF activists (the third is busy at a nearby hospital parking lot, flyering the cars of health workers there with "Don't Vote Liberal" slips.

At the end of the car flyering session
Around 4:00pm, the guys from “Justice for Injured Workers” show up to protest outside Ken Coran’s office. They are pleased to be joined by 2 OSSTF activists (the third is busy at a nearby hospital parking lot, flyering the cars of health workers there with “Don’t Vote Liberal” slips.

The dreaded flyer that got the Lib campaign workers all upset. In case you didn't know, asking someone to not vote for a party/candidate amounts to "voter suppression". That campaign worker obviously was not paying attention in his Grade 10 Civics class.
The dreaded flyer that got the Lib campaign workers all upset.
In case you didn’t know, asking someone to not vote for a party/candidate amounts to “voter suppression”. That campaign worker obviously was not paying attention in his Grade 10 Civics class.

Tim Heffernan and I (Janice Patterson), travelled to London on Saturday July 27th to see what we could do to spread the “don’t vote for Coran” message.  It was Pride Week and we met up with Andy Wilson from Ottawa at the Pride fairgrounds.  The weather was rainy off and on.  We had lunch at Veg Out, which served one of the best vegan meals I have ever had, and planned our afternoon.

Andy had come to London, equipped with a stack of flyers that he had designed and printed.  The title of the flyer was, “Don’t Vote For Coran”.

After lunch, we decided to canvass Coran’s riding of London West.  At first, we decided we were going to canvass an apartment building in the riding, in order to stay out of the inclement weather.  But we didn’t have a riding map, so we drove to Coran’s campaign office to obtain one.  We then had a change of mind and decided to put flyers on the cars in the parking lot of the plaza that Coran’s office was located in.  Andy went into the office while Tim and I started putting flyers on windshields.  I guess I jumped the gun and the campaign staff denied a map to Andy.  You see, I had been putting flyers on the cars right in front of Coran’s office.

The staff were upset with me, to say the least.  One campaign worker came out and took the flyer off her windshield and slammed it into my hands, scream at me, “My two daughters are teachers and we want jobs!”  I couldn’t and still cannot fathom how voting for Coran would result in jobs for her daughters.  Her reasoning seemed rather selfish to me.  She then threatened me not to put a flyer back on her vehicle.  I ignored her.  I continued to put flyers on the vehicles and another campaign team member began taking the flyers off the vehicles as I put them on.  I asked her if she owned all of the vehicles and she said they all belonged to Coran’s workers.  She gave me back the flyers, which I re-used and put them on other vehicles in the parking lot.

Andy came out of Coran’s office to report that we had no riding map to work with.

We intended to go to adjacent plaza parking lots and put flyers on cars.  However, two male members of Coran’s staff went around the parking lot, removing the flyers we had placed on windshields.  I could understand them removing flyers from their own vehicles, but they had no business removing them from all the cars.  I called out to the two men and told them they didn’t own the cars and that the had no right to remove the flyers.  One of the men yelled back that we were committing voter suppression.  I countered that this was Canada and not Russia, and he yelled something unintelligible.

At this point, Andy decided to go to an adjacent parking lot – at the least the flyers would remain on the cars there.

Tim and I continued to re-flyer the cars in the lot, while several Coran campaign workers stood outside and watched us and took pictures.

In the meantime, Tim confronted the men removing the flyers, and a little set-to occurred. One of Coran’s workers claimed that giving out a flyer with the demand to vote against the Liberals amounted to vote suppression!!  Then Tim was approached by a woman who told him off about placing flyers on car windshield and claimedthat I had pushed the flyer while she was driving and that she almost ran over my toes.  This was a complete lie.  But her irrational behaviour didn’t stop there. I later saw her talking with one of the women from Coran’s office.

A little while after this, Tim was re-flyering the cars in front of Staples and National Sports and this same woman took them off the cars and then tore them up and threw the pieces up into the air.  I was on the other side of the parking lot and made my way over to help Tim pick up the torn flyers.  Tow truck drivers who had been parked in the lot for at least an hour witnessed this woman and called out to her that what she did was wrong.  Three National Sports employees, one of which was a manager, were upset with the woman and provided me with her license plate number as well as make and model of car.

One campaign worker, at least, had a sense of humour.  They placed a Coran flyer on the windshield of my car.  It was signed, “Sorry I missed you.  Ken Coran”.

Andy rejoined us and the three of us went into Coran’s office and spoke to one of the campaign workers about the woman who tore up the flyers.  The worker was rude to us.  When Tim asked her how Coran’s campaign was going, she said with a straight face, “It’s going great!”  We countered with something to the effect that you think 17% of the vote is great?  We left the office and told her to say hi to Ken for us. I gave her my name, but I have a suspicion she won’t pass it on to Coran.

At 4 o’clock, several men set up their WSIB protest in front of Coran’s office.  We stayed for about a half-hour but the rain started to really pelt down, so we called it a day.

I believe that removing campaign literature is an offense under the Elections Act, and I am going to send Ken Coran an email.  I’ll post his response.  Stay tuned.  I’ll keep you posted.

From left to right: Andy Wilson (OSSTF District 25, Ottawa); Tim Heffernan (OSSTF District 12, Toronto); Janice Patterson (OSSTF District 12, Toronto) At "Veg Out", great vegan restaurant

From left to right: Andy Wilson (OSSTF District 25, Ottawa); Tim Heffernan (OSSTF District 12, Toronto); Janice Patterson (OSSTF District 12, Toronto)
At “Veg Out”, great vegan restaurant

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Ken Coran’s 2005 vision

Ken in 2003_1Ken in 2003_3Ken in 2003_2

This the election material Ken Coran presented to delegates at AMPA (OSSTF’s annual assembly) in 2005 when he ran for the provincial presidency of OSSTF. A bit of a difference from the vision he is espousing now as a wannabe Liberal MP. And I wonder how Ken reconciles his new Liberalism with the official Liberalism of the OLP when they put out the following in the Kitchener-Waterloo by-election:

Ont Lib prop 2012but then Ken was supporting the NDP. He even, at the request of Andrea Horwath, called off strike votes 2 days before the K-W election as it was perceived that the publicity surrounding such votes would damage the chances of the NDP candidate.

Coran moves on

Coran_McGuinty-birds of feather

Early this morning, July 1st,  I sent this e-mail to Paul Elliot, new OSSTF President, and the other members of the Provincial Executive. Paul’s reply was prompt as was mine to him.

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Dear PE members

The news of Ken Coran’s potential career move to become a Liberal MPP has either shocked many ordinary OSSTF members or has confirmed them in their already growing cynicism. Maybe a bit of both.

A group of OSSTF activists in the GTA would like to meet with you to discuss the impact of this decision. Among the things we’d like to talk about are:

  • the possibility of the PE issuing a statement disassociating themselves from Ken’s move; the purpose of such a statement would not be to make a personal condemnation of a former leader but to counter the cynicism and disaffection that is growing in the ranks;
  • Making a clear statement for the upcoming by-elections that any political intervention from OSSTF, whether through offering financial or human resources, shall not be directed to Liberal candidates.

60 Mobile Drive would be a convenient place to meet. Please suggest a time, preferably in the morning. Thanks for your time.

In solidarity

Tim

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Good morning Tim,

I’m sure this won’t come as a surprise to you, but the PE does not have a protocol  established to meet delegations from districts or bargaining units. I’m sure that you would  understand that with over 60,000 members the bylaws of OSSTF have well established protocols for the calling of Provincial Council meetings where the concerns of locals may be addressed. I suggest that your issues are raised through the regular channels of working with your local bargaining unit.

Paul

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Paul

With all due respect, this is a bullshit response. If you don’t want to meet with a group of disaffected members, fine. But don’t tell me to go through the “regular channels”. We are in summer mode. We are talking D 12. There are no regular channels!
At least give me the courtesy of taking up the political points in my e-mail, particularly the issue of how OSSTF is going to intervene (or not) in the forthcoming by-elections.
In solidarity
Tim