Occupy Kingston’s Right to Remain

Occupy KingstonOver the past week, occupy movements in cities across Canada and the US have been dealt countless eviction notices, which have been met with both support and opposition. Arguments to allow the demonstrators to remain in place are empowered by our right to peacefully protest as well as freedom of speech, however justification becomes clouded when considering these rights against those of private property owners whose land is being occupied.  The local movement, which is stationed on public property across the street from City Hall, is limited to a tarp-enclosed structure, but it is nevertheless active and in tact.  Since the early days of the peaceful Occupy Kingston protest, the number of signs on the exterior of the encampment has swelled from what is pictured above to a sea of cardboard that presents humorous and serious slogans that target the likes of Wal-Mart.  With the local occupy chapter vowing to remain in place over the cold winter months and beyond, this week’s poll asks:

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The City of Kingston and City Police have stated that they will not yet take action against the Occupy Kingston movement, as the demonstration remains free of health and safety violations as well as other law enforcement issues. This is a positive sign, and certainly much of the credit lies with the local demonstrators who have implemented a Good Neighbour Policy, which sets the following ground rules for participants:

  • Occupy Kingston has zero tolerance for alcohol or drug use in the People’s Tent or the People’s Park.
  • Occupy Kingston has zero tolerance for violence or verbal abuse towards anyone.
  • Occupy Kingston has zero tolerance for abuse of personal or public property
  • Occupy Kingston encourages all participants to respect health, sanitation and safety, and will direct all participants to respectfully utilize off-site sanitary facilities.
  • Occupy Kingston will display signage and have community relations and work shops in the People’s Park or Tent in order to raise awareness of and respect for our guidelines and Good Neighbour Policy.

What are your thoughts on the occupy movement here Kingston? Are you satisfied to let the protest continue so long as it remains peaceful and safe, or are you concerned that the temporary encampment will become a blight on our historic Confederation Park?  Should the City of Kingston maintain the status quo, or begin to negotiate an appropriate time and date for the movement’s relocation or termination?

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

21 thoughts on “Occupy Kingston’s Right to Remain

  • "Who?" she asked. "Where, when, what, and why?" Sadly, none of these answers were to be found, as the journalist in question was terrible at investigative reporting.

    • If this is a reference to this post, I'm a little confused. One reason being that Harvey is a man and the second being that this post isn't about the who, what, where, when and why of the protest. I would hope we all know that by now. This post is about whether or not the movement should continue in this fashion. I personally think something needs to happen for this to be effective, otherwise it's just a bunch of people in a park.

  • Where is my last post??Too left wing for a right wing edition??

    • All comments are held for moderation, thankfully. From people selling Viagra to whatever you’re mean-spirited comment was trying to achieve, we’ve seen it all. Needless to say, as your offensive comment contributed very little to the conversation, it was not approved.

    • I wouldn’t mind reading your comment so I can judge for myself whether it was “mean-spirited” and “offensive” or not. Did you/will you post it somewhere else?

      • Senorship ….who made harvey…King Harrvey…let us decide what is factual ..mean spirited ..or un neccasary…we are quite capable and we live in a free democratic society or that’s what I’ve been told or is the truth about that being sensored as well

  • We've seen the judge's reasonings for why the Occupy Toronto protesters will be evicted… Occupy Kingston should simply look at the reasons why the judge says the protesters in Toronto can't stay and then act to make sure they do everything they can to have the right to stay. That means getting approval from neighbours, not hogging space in the park (which they aren't in comparison to Toronto), and to seek approval from city council members… go to it Occupy Kingston. I hope the tent can stay!

  • My son and I drove by Occupy Kingston today and he asked why they were camping there. I told them they were not camping but protesting. He said he is looking forward to protesting next summer and doing a little fishing and canoeing too

    • Maybe instead of making light of the situation, you should face the reality that fishing and canoeing might be a means of survival after total economic collapse. While these activities are fun when on vacation, this might not be the case if your family will go hungry if you don’t catch any fish. Look around you, the global economy is in the crapper, and this is the least of our problems. No one really cares how bad things are until “they” are directly affected. By that time it might be too late. Wake up! Securing the future of the planet for ourselves, your children and following generations is what this movement is all about.

  • Well I guess I kind of agree with Mike… although the comment re fishing and canoeing does verge on hyperbole. There are huge issues to be addressed, climate change, disparity of income, corporate manipulation of the democratic process to say nothing of human rights abuses by governments domestic and foreign. That being said I believe that the Occupy Kingston protest at Confederation Park has reached the point of diminishing returns. Do I want to see the Occupy Kingston protest forcibly evicted from Confederation Park – absolutely not. Would I like them to leave the park – yes. The movement if it hopes to succeed must move on and evolve. It has to be seen as something more then a ragtag collection of tarps occupying a park that belongs to all of the people of Kingston regardless of their political stripe or economic circumstance. Their point having been made Occupy Kingston should return the park to the citizens of Kingston and fight this battle on other fronts.

  • I think the Occupy movement needs to adjust their tactics, and have clear goals. Awareness has now been raised; how is it going to maintain that awareness and relevance? How is the Occupy movement actively going about bringing change to the system? Occupying/Camping in a park only goes so far. Unless tactics change, this movement will fizzle and burn out. At this point, occupying a park feels like "slacktivism".

    • Just because they haven't been reported that does not mean that they don't have any goals. Its hard to articulate a message when you don't have a voice.

      As you can see by the rules of the People's Tent there have been established rules and procedures developed for the tent. It makes sense that they must have some ideas for what their protest is to accomplish. Don't let the media lie to you about objectives. It is very clear at the Occupy Wall Street protest the goals are there, one being taking money out of politics.

      In Kingston you should find out for yourself, but I have a belief that a lot of the movement is surrounding the growing gap of rich and poor. Homelessness and the city's low vacancy rate are also right up there near the top of the list.

      I bet you didn't know that the tent is also providing proper first aid for people who need it. And has been a rallying point for petitions and actions throughout the city, ie. the Memorial Centre's farmers Market.

      • If the Occupy Kingston goals are unreported, then the general public will perceive the Occupy movement as having no direction, no goals, and weak ideals. My point was, the Occupy Movement as it stands, is running out of steam and general public support is waning. I agree that corporate interests are driving government policies; those interests can end up hurting consumer interests, the environment, and have severe unintended consequences.

        The message I perceive from the Occupy Movement is, "We have the right to occupy public space 24//7, don't you dare remove us from this space". This only muddies the original Wall St. Occupy Movement. Is the message corporate meddling in politics, or the right to occupy a public space?

        Locally, I would like to see the Occupy movement promoting the "99%" to run for government positions. if individuals of the 99% can successfully obtain these positions, then they should publicly pledge not to allow corporate lobbying and interests to sway their future votes.

        I would like to see the local Occupy movement tracking and publishing how our federal, provincial, and municipal officials make their decisions, and their impact on our community. For the times when an elected official votes "against" the Kingston community, there should be a friendly follow up with them asking for their reasoning. Perhaps the choice was a short term loss, but has a significant long term gain. The publishing of the accumulated voting record of our elected officials votes needs to have proper context, and written with a very professional tone.

        • Increasing democratic dialogue is something I completely agree with you about. Having more people that are part of the 99% run for office is also a great idea. But I don't think that the Occupy tent in Kingston is the be all and end all for that type of discussion. I think they can certainly help facilitate that type of discussion, but that needs to start within a different context (maybe even this forum).

          Having talked to some of the organizers on a few different issues already, I believe that the People's Tent is meant to be a rallying point for those types of conversations to take place. It is wonderful that we are able and actually starting to have these conversations and wanting to push for a better Kingston. Perhaps the tent can move us to coming together over actual ideas and issues.

  • I think the tents should be removed, and the city should stop providing free services. If they want to stay and protest, fine, but the camping thing has got to go. We should also be tallying how much this group with no particular goal is costing tax payers. Every police and fire visit is time and money not being provided elsewhere. With budget reviews currently in place and a 3.5% increase expected, the city should be mindful about enabling these types of situations.

  • I think the City is in danger of creating a precident here. Who is to stop people from setting up tents next summer to protest say a property tax increase. The ideals are good but they are becoming too much into being a "rebellous teenager" versus actually attempting to change.

  • A quick word for you 'occupy' haters: during the French Revolution, there were no doubt lords and homesteaders who were saying "What the hell is wrong with these serfs and peasants? Why don't they just go build their own castle and such?" You know what we got from the French Revolution? Equality, freedom from religious persecution, and the first bill of human rights; without which the world would be drastically different. You may not want to believe the world is injust but it is. You may not understand a movement of people who DARE to say that "yea, things COULD be better", but don't look down on the people who are standing up for YOUR quality of life!

    • I do believe the world is injust but the occupy movement is not going to make things that much better. They want to get rid of Bankers, Lawyers, Accountants, Sales people, insurance brokers etc. How would the world be better when they get 50% of the people unemployed through their changes. They also don't believe in a global economy so all the better things like shopping on the internet are gone. The ideals are sound but have no comprension of how their "improvements" are going to make life worse for the majority of people

  • This movement is a joke. They are trespassing and Confederation park is for public use. If the homeless were to set up tents and a camp they would be removed immediately.

  • City Council will be debating a motion to close down Occupy Kingston at its next meeting (which I think is Tuesday Dec 6). If you support Occupy Kingston, please send an email to your city councillor (or to all of them). You could also consider signing this petition, which will be sent to Council:

  • The fact that the vote to evict the Occupy protesters from their space in Confederation Park was 7-6 in favour of eviction, is a clear indication that much of the community is split on this issue. Of course, this movement has been difficult to gain traction in Kingston because they have not effectively transmitted their message to much of the working class and working poor that inhabit much of the outskirts of Kingston and their places of employment. Leadership within the Kingston movement has also not effectively given the movement a unified voice to transmit a clear and direct message to the movement's potential followers.

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