"There Are Not Twelve People In Ontario That Can Find These Men Guilty"



On the fifth day of deliberations in the so-called 'Queen's Park Riot' jury trial of John Clarke, Gaetan Heroux, and Stefan Pilipa, Superior Court of Ontario Judge Lee Ferrier has declared a mistrial.

At 9:50 this morning,for the second time since deliberations began, a juror was taken to hospital for stress-related reasons, and the judge reconvened court in order to announce his decision to dismiss the juror. While it is possible to drop up to 2 jurors, even during deliberations, the circumstances of the previous days in this particular trial - the jury sending a note to the trial judge describing their extreme exhaustion, frustration, and division, including emotional outbursts and, most importantly, a 9-3 split on whether or not the events on June 15th, 2000 at Queen's Park could even in fact be considered a 'riot' - led the judge to pose questions to the jury this morning, as to whether or not they could continue in their decision-making in a just and fair manner, in accordance with the oaths they had sworn.

The jury responded to the questions with the following answer - 8 jurors felt they could continue, 3 felt they could not. Upon confirming this response with the jury, the judge declared that the trial could not continue, and that he found it to be a mistrial.

While it is true that the defendants are theoretically still on trial, until a decision with regard to re-trial is reached, and while this decision will not be formally announced until June 18th in Superior Court, the serious difficulty the jury had in breaking their obvious deadlock, and their apparent inability to agree upon whether or not the events of the day constituted a riot - the most fundamental premise of the charges laid - is extremely significant. That the Tory government and the Toronto Police were politically motivated in laying antiquated and serious charges against three long-standing and deeply respected members of OCAP has always been apparent - unless a government that shortchanges the people of Ontario every single day is willing to put out even more than the reprehensible amount of money it has already spent and to launch another trial - this is a huge battle won.

Three years of stringent bail conditions, months in court, and years in jail looming over their heads, the defendants and the organization as a whole have refused to back down. Clearly, people living in Ontario have been affected by the policies and realities of the Eves-Harris reign, far beyond what is conveyed by polls and press. The rage which brought people to the steps of Queen's Park on that day in June runs deep. The events today should be seen as a vindication.

OCAP would like to thank counsel for the defendants - Peter Rosenthal, Bob Kellerman, and Jeffrey House - for their diligence, commitment, untiring effort and belief in the actions and principles of the men on trial. As well, a heartfelt thanks to all those who attended the proceedings and stood vigil during the past days, weeks, and months, and also to those who sent messages and donations in solidarity and support. And finally, to all those June 15th defendants who did time, endured house arrest, were found guilty, lived through stringent bail and probation conditions, and continue to do so - to all those who stood up on that day and fought back.

As an organization that has had millions of state dollars thrown at it in an attempt to shut it down, we wish to close this chapter with resilience, in the wake of the failure of the state to neutralize forces of opposition. It is with this resilience that we send out the following call, for another step forward in the fight in which the June 15th 'riot' played such an important role. As we move forward, we do so in the spirit of those who have lost battles with judges and juries, and died at the hands of politicians and police.


Since returning from his gold plated 'retirement from public life', Ernie Eves has tried to suggest that his brand of Conservatism has more 'compassion' about it than came out of Queen's Park when Mike Harris was in charge. This is nothing but a threadbare lie. He has reversed none of the harsh measures that were adopted by the Tories during the period when he was Finance Minister. The massive cut to welfare has been kept in place. The Tenant Protection Act continues to put thousands on the streets. The vicious Safe Streets Act is still there to enable cops to harass those forced to beg on the streets.

It is more than clear that Eves wants to retain power so as to deepen the attacks the Tories are dedicated to. He openly campaigned for greater Canadian complicity in the US led slaughter in Iraq. His cohort, Bob Runciman, assembles a special police snatch squad and shops for high security jails to deal with so called 'illegals' seeking refuge in Ontario. In the last number of weeks, reports of a set of vile new policies, a 'Common Sense Revolution Part Two', have emerged. Eves wants a two-year cap on the receipt of welfare, crackdowns on the homeless and a ban on teachers' strikes. The only real difference between Eves and Harris is a higher level of opportunism and dishonesty. In all other respects, the apple hasn't fallen very far from the tree.

While they play for time and agonize over the calling of an election, the agenda of the Tories becomes clear but ours is clearer still. There is only one demand that can be put to a regime like that of Ernie Eves - "GET OUT!"

The time has come to take our resistance to their constituency offices, their public events and to the operations of their corporate backers. We need a new level of opposition to the implementation of the Tory Agenda and it is already beginning to take shape. In Belleville, the Tenant Action Group has forced the County to step in and maintain hydro for hundreds of families that Eves would have seen cut off. In Toronto, provincially owned buildings are being identified with a view to their being taken over as housing.

Regardless of election timing, a movement is called for that is widespread, co-ordinated, capable of quick and decisive action and that has Eves and his cronies squarely in its sights. Just as importantly, we must make clear right now that the regime that follows Eves can expect no peace if it leaves the damage done by the Tories unrepaired. OCAP will go to the next Government as soon as it takes office with demands for:

a.. Safe, accessible and affordable housing.
b.. A minimum wage that is a living wage.
c.. A social assistance system that enables people to live with dignity.

We hope that others will advance their just demands in the same spirit.

We are making plans for a series of actions against the Eves Government.

There are four immediate ways to get involved:

* If you live in Toronto and would like to work with OCAP directly, give us a call. We can put you on a phone tree/e mail list that can be activated when the Tories show their faces in this City.

* If you are elsewhere in the Province, we urgently need allies who can organize the same kind of 'rapid deployment' mobilizing against the Tories. There will be no more unchallenged baby kissing and ribbon cutting for Eves and crew!

* If you work in an area that gives you access to information on Tory plans and events, we need you to feed us that information. It's not ratting when the target is Ernie Eves. Think of it as a morally superior version of Crime Stoppers!

* Please watch for notices of a public meeting and other events coming shortly.

We must not allow the Tories to prepare a second Common Sense Revolution.

We have to stop them and the time to act is now.