P.O. Box 73620, 509 St. Clair Ave. W
Toronto, ON M6C 1C0
(416) 651-5800; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
OPEN LETTER #2 TO
RICHARD CURRIE, PRESIDENT,
RE: HUNGER IN ONTARIO
November 19, 1997
First off the mark, let us congratulate you on your Order of Canada honour. You must be feeling very proud. However, while you were away in Ottawa, you may have missed the news that the Thanksgiving food drive fell short, and had to be extended. Even with that extension, however, targets were not met, and the problem of hunger continues to grow in our communities.
For two years, members of our organization have been holding corporate hypocrite pickets outside your Loblaws outlets, protesting the fact that you get good PR for sponsoring the food drives, but noting that your support of the Harris Tories, refusal to pay almost $40 million in deferred taxes, and the outrageous amount of money which you are paid (including a $1 million bonus last year) contribute to the inequalities which produce hunger.
Indeed, today's news reports that Loblaws continues to charge ahead with monster profits, with a 21% increase in earnings over last year's third quarter figures. It's no coincidence that as corporate profits continue to rise, so do the numbers of people in poverty.
Now that you are back -- and given that we have yet to hear from you regarding our first open letter -- we hope you will take the time to think over what could be done to alleviate the hunger problem, and perhaps tackle its root source: corporate and personal greed.
In our last letter, we noted that as President of Weston Industries (and former president of food drive sponsor Loblaws), you make $1.4 million a year and received a $1 million bonus in 1996. The bonus aside, your regular bi-weekly take-home cheque must be in the neighbourhood of $53,846.15, or almost three times what the average industrial worker in this country takes home altogether every three years! No doubt you have many financial obligations, but so do the welfare recipients in Ontario who have been told to feed themselves on $90 a month. For many, the choice is now between a roof over their heads and going hungry.
You also hold stock options valued at $15 million at the end of 1996. Given that Loblaws is already making a profit off of food drives, and that as head of the corporation which owns Loblaws, you yourself make a profit off ofnger, we were hoping you would consider a simple solution that would go a long way towards ending hunger in Ontario: putting an end to the greed which places so many millions in the hands of so few while so many go hungry.
Given that the charity of individuals can only be pushed so far, we call upon you and the corporation you represent to start showing real accountability to the community: pay the $40 million in deferred taxes owed by Loblaws, put your millions in stock options toward feeding the hungry and housing the homeless, and set an example by rejecting the greed which is inherent in a biweekly $50,000 paycheque.
We hope you will consider these ideas as well as those in our (as yet unanswered) first open letter to you, and that you will take real steps toward ending hunger in Ontario. Please call us at the above number or write if you would like more information.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Toronto Action for Social Change
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