It was an afternoon of tactical contrasts. On a bright, crisp autumn day last Thursday, October 17, two protests with distinctly different communications strategies targeted the same government failure on poverty.

At noon, OCAP, along with reps from OPSEU and CUPE and members of Put Food in the Budget, headed down to the minister of finance’s office at College and University, where they chanted “Raise the rates” and made fiery speeches against Liberal austerity preoccupations.

An hour later, a more subdued expression of dismay about the 12.9 per cent of Ontarians living in poverty took place in Queen’s Park. There, Stitching Our Safety Net, a coalition of 30 groups from Social Planning Toronto to St. Stephen’s Community House and the Christian Resource Centre, displayed a huge quilt illustrating in pictures and text the unravelling of social services and income support in Ontario.

The styles surely differed, but the message was pretty much the same: raise social assistance rates significantly and implement a $14-an-hour minimum wage.