OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas sent the following letter to Hon. Ted Arnott, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in response to legislative staff targeting a group of young people for so-called “sidewalk chalk vandalism” at Queen’s Park.
June 22, 2019
Hon. Ted Arnott, Speaker
Main Legislative Building, Queen’s Park
Toronto, ON M7A 1A2
Dear Speaker Arnott:
I am writing to express my absolute disgust that a group of young people are being targeted for so-called sidewalk chalk vandalism at Queen’s Park. I cannot believe that legislative staff would try to shakedown a bunch of kids to the tune of $1,444.51 because they wrote a few slogans in chalk during a protest against government education cuts.
What knucklehead came up with a bill of $1,444.51 for a cleanup? Come on, a couple of buckets of water or a half decent rainfall would have taken care of it.
Chalk one up to bullying our youth by a legislative kangaroo court.
In a time when it is so difficult to get our young people engaged in the political process, we should be applauding them for getting involved. We shouldn’t be trying to beat them out of their allowance.
Kids have a right to protest like anyone else and if they made a small mess on the asphalt, it’s nothing compared to the mess your party is making of their education and their future.
Legislative staff were quoted as calling these chalked messages of protest “vandalism” and “obscene.” What is really obscene is how democracy is being trampled on by Premier Doug Ford and the vandalism this government is inflicting on Ontarians.
I hope you will see how absurd this is and since you are responsible for the legislative grounds, I hope you will rescind this invoice for “cleanup costs” that was sent to these young people.
If you don’t want to do that then send the bill to me. OPSEU applauds the dedication of these young people and stands with them. We’ll pay this ridiculous bill.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union