Jane Scharf


Jane Scharf

Jane Scharf is an anti-poverty activist from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada who ran for mayor of Ottawa in the 2006 municipal election. Jane is currently on Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and resides in Blue Heron Co-op in Kanata, Ontario a suburb of Ottawa.

Scharf has been a political activist in Ottawa for at least two decades.Fact|date=July 2008. She is a former member of the Ottawa-Outaouais branch of the Industrial Workers of the World, which organized the Ottawa Panhandlers Union and has worked closely with homeless youth.

2003 protest under Terry Fox Bridge

In the summer of 2003 Scharf was involved in a protest against the Safe Streets Act, which involved Scharf sleeping under a bridge where many homeless youth spend their nights. Scharf was arrested for mischief in August by the Ottawa Police in what is believed to be an attempt to shut down the protest Fact|date=July 2008 During her seven day trial, Scharf was found not guilty of these charges after a 2 ½ year prosecution.

Homeless Action Strike

In 2004 during another protest, the Homeless Action Strike at Ottawa City Hall, Scharf spent thirty-eight days in jail without bail after another arrest used to stop the protest. She spent several days of her jail time in solitary confinement after she reported a male prison guard was sexually harassing herself and other female prisoners. The charges she was being held on where dropped. [ IMC-Canada: [http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-canada/2004-September/0923-uo.html] ]

Scharf has supported the renaming of the Terry Fox Bridge (an unofficial name for the Rideau Street pedestrian underpass) to the name Cactus Memorial Bridge. Cactus was the street name of a homeless youth who was murdered under the bridge in the summer of 2006. A campaign included renaming the bridge and placing a plaque on the wall in the underpass.

On May 1st 2006 Scharf was part of a May Day march against the Rideau Centre in downtown Ottawa. One of the other organizers was Andrew Nellis who is also on the General Members Board of the IWW and an organizer with the Panhandlers Union. Scharf is currently on hiatus from the IWW while she campaigns for mayor of Ottawa.

Scharf has frequently spoken on behalf of the homeless. She is frequently mentioned in the X-Press newspaper, an alternative free weekly available in Ottawa. She was also the Ottawa correspondent for the Dominion newspaper.

Scharf is opposed to the Safe Streets Act and other legislation which she believes harms the poor. Scharf said in the X-Press newspaper: "I believe that panhandling is a necessity right now because of the inadequacy of social services and the Safe Streets Act is an unconstitutional piece of legislation as well."

Candidacy for Mayor

Jane Scharf mentioned her intention to run for mayor of Ottawa as early as 2005. Scharf attended all of the debates for mayor but became frustrated when the media would only mention the four main candidates for mayor. Scharf reacted to this by putting up posters listing the names of the seven candidates for mayor (six after Kilrea dropped out). The other candidates for mayor in 2006 were Piotr Anweiler, Bob Chiarelli, Robert Larter, Alex Munter, Larry O'Brien and Barkley Pollock.

Scharf again became frustrated when local news radio station CFRA had a candidates debate but only invited Bob Chiarelli, Alex Munter and Larry O'Brien. She called into the program and attempted to join the debate but was told by the host that these were the three candidates the citizens of Ottawa wanted to hear from.

Scharf also protested live on air at a CBC Radio debate because the format was arbitrarily changed from an all candidates debate to a debate between the frontrunners while the other three candidates were expected to sit quietly without opportunity to speak.

She finished fourth in the 2006 election for mayor, receiving 1467 votes (0.49% of the popular vote). She received the largest number of her votes from Rideau-Vanier

Scharf claimed publicly that 2006 election was fixed by deceptive manipulation of the public with unethical polls and unfair media coverage. "The polls do not use my name when polling the public and the media claims they are not covering me because I do not do well in the polls.The Citizen, CBC, A-Channel and CFRA are the worst offenders."

Scharf acquired a legal opinion that this activity is illegal under the criteria set down by the courts which allows one candidate to receive more coverage than another. The courts have determined that the media may cover one candidate more if they have political experience,or expertise in an election topic or if they have a public profile. Scharf filed a claim in Ontario Small Claims Court against the city claiming breach of duty. She indicated that City of Ottawa was in breach of duty under the Ontario Elections Act because they did not supervise the media coverage of candidates. This breach of duty resulted in Larry O'Brien receiving extremely more coverage even though he did not meet any of the criteria set down by the courts to allow more media coverage. Alex Munter and Bob Chiarelli had also complained that O'Brien had more coverage than them in the last two weeks. Scharf meet all the criteria set down by the court for additional coverage yet she received approximately 1% of the coverage. The City paid the claim in full without a court hearing.

References

External links

* [http://www.takebackcityhall.info/ Candidacy Website]


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