Ottawa ACORN demonstrators brave the rain yesterday outside an ODSP office on Preston Street.
STEVE COLLINS, METRO OTTAWA
Poor people with special dietary requirements need more money, not tighter rules, anti-poverty activists say.
Members of Ottawa ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) picketed outside Ontario government offices on Preston Street yesterday on behalf of Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and Ontario Works recipients.
The protesters circulated a petition and filled out “valentines” to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty demanding increased payments, expanded medical and
dental coverage and cancellation of planned changes to the special diet allowance, which covers food for people whose health problems impose special nutritional needs.
“We have the right to get sick and go to the hospital and get surgery and chemo or whatever we need for that, but we don’t have the right to eat a healthy
enough diet,” said ACORN’s Michelle Walrond, an ODSP recipient.
Her benefits, she said, don’t cover her living expenses.
“Anything beyond my rent and utilities I have to charge on my credit card,” Walrond said, “And I’m doing better than most people (on ODSP). I don’t know
anybody else who has credit cards.”