We Own It supporters had a simple message for the people who braved the snow and sleet to attend a town hall meeting on privatization in Chatham on December 11: your future is in your hands.
"You can have the kind of community you want," OPSEU Region 1 Regional Vice-President Len Elliott told the crowd. "All you have to do is speak up for it."
Elliott, who is one of more than 45,000 people who've signed up as supporters of the We Own It campaign for quality public services, pointed to the successful fight to maintain a birthing unit at the nearby Leamington District Memorial Hospital.
"It wasn't somebody in Toronto who saved that service. It wasn't somebody in Ottawa who saved that service," Elliott said. "It was the people in Leamington. They spoke up for that service, and because they did, they still have that service today."
The latest in a series of We Own It events in communities across the province, the Chatham town hall featured presentations by Elliott, We Own It mobilizer Jordan McGrail, and Hydro One Not For Sale chairperson Rosario Marcherse.
"Stopping privatization will take many voices in many communities speaking together," said McGrail. "Stopping privatization will take everybody in this room speaking together to say, 'We want strong public services.'"
Marchese, a former MPP, echoed the encouragement of McGrail and Elliott.
"Incredible power resides right here in this room. Together, you're incredibly powerful," Marchese said. "If everybody in this room gathers some neighbours and takes them to a meeting with your MPP, your MPP will understand that if they want to be re-elected, they'll have to stand up for the services you need."