Hot! Ontario’s budget should target poverty

TheStar.com – opinions/letter – Re: 400,000 Ontarians rely on food banks, March 22
Published On Wed Mar 23 2011.   Murray MacAdam

What kind of society are living in? Where are our values?

This article profiles one person, Mike Crawford, for whom hunger is a daily reality. Yet in fact, many people are stuck in the same boat, enduring hunger in this affluent society, simply because they don’t have enough money to buy food. The church groups with whom I work are painfully aware of this tragic situation.

Community and faith groups are doing a tremendous job in alleviating the problem through their food bank and meal programs. However, they cannot meet the enormous need, and moreover, we need to work toward a society where people can meet their own food needs, with dignity.

Our governments need to respond to the hunger emergency with a wide range of responses, including more affordable housing, an increase in the minimum wage, and reforming welfare rules to make it easier to go from social assistance to work.

Right now, however, one measure that would make an immediate difference would be the introduction of a $100 per month healthy food supplement for social assistance recipients in the upcoming 2011 provincial budget. This “put food in the budget” campaign has won widespread support.

Let’s hope that Premier Dalton McGuinty and Finance Minister Dwight Duncan heed this call.

Murray MacAdam, Social Justice and Advocacy Consultant, Anglican Diocese of Toronto

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