By Jonathon Brodie/London Community News
Coming off the heels of a mass rally in Victoria Park, locked out Electro-Motive Canada (EMC) workers and their supporters crashed Conservative MP Susan Truppe’s fundraising dinner Tuesday (Jan. 24).
About 50 people stood along Windermere Road at the entranceway of the Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre, welcoming guests attending the London North Centre MP's benefit. Two police cruisers were also parked close by to monitor the protest.
Between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., the demonstrators waved flags and handed out flyers to people pulling into the conference centre.
“Hi, hope you enjoy your dinner!!! We are the workers of Electro-Motive Caterpillar,” read the flyer printed on Canadian Auto Worker Union (CAW) letterhead. “We request that you keep in mind during your meal, the fact that many of our family members are worrying about their next meal.”
Demonstrators claim people attending Truppe’s fundraiser paid $150 a plate. A representative of Truppe’s said the MP was too busy to comment and refused to give any details on the event.
“I think that as a member of parliament duly elected by the constitutes, (Truppe) has an obligation to speak to the people,” said Tim Carrie, CAW Local 27 president. “I think she has an obligation to speak up on behalf of the members and their families. I think she has an obligation to speak up when families are being attacked like this.”
The impromptu protest garnered attention and interest from those driving by, Carrie said, evidenced from the horn honks of vehicles driving by and the number of people who rolled down their window to see what the flyer had to say.
“I find it interesting, the one’s with the most expensive vehicles aren’t taking the flyers,” he said.
For Donna Almas the flyer is more than just words on a paper. Her husband worked at EMC the last 23 years and with little savings, Almas said the couple are now living cheque-to-cheque.
“We’re fighting for our family and it trickles down,” she said. “We have three children and six grandchildren that are affected by this, so I’m out helping.”