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Students stage mock inquest, lament the death of social services in Ontario

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College and university students held a mock coroner’s inquest Thursday outside provincial government offices at 900 Bay Street in Toronto to bring attention to the “death” of social services by the McGuinty government.

“Finance minister Dwight Duncan recently foreshadowed budgetary cuts and we’re here to say that Ontarians need help through this recession, we need social supports and services,” said Shelley Melanson, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students – Ontario, organizers of today’s event held to raise awareness of events taking place across Ontario on the November 5 Day of Action.

Two characters dressed in suits, one donning a Dalton McGuinty mask, the other wearing a Dwight Duncan disguise, carried “budget” clipboards and closely examined each funding priority: public healthcare, public education, public childcare, employment insurance, employment equity, living wages for all, social assistance, affordable housing, good jobs and post secondary education.

Using big red markers, they drew giant X’s through the sandwich board of the person representing each priority. As the “politicians” worked their way down the line killing each priority, they patted each other on the back and congratulated themselves on making the “tough choices.”

After the “politicians” left the scene, three “coroners” dressed in white lab coats examined each of the bodies and declared the priority dead. One of the “coroners” affixed a large toe tag on each corpse that announced the cause of death: unsupported, under funded or ignored. Another pulled a white sheet over the corpses with the words “Revive Ontario” spray-painted across it.

The chief coroner then declared that students, workers and community members will revive Ontario on November 5, through a massive show of support for proper investment in public priorities, as well as call on the McGuinty government to create a poverty-free Ontario.

Click here to see photos from today’s action.

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