Party platforms thin on fighting poverty, says coalition

TheStar.com – news/canada/politics/provincialelection
Published On Thu Sep 29 2011.    Laurie Monsebraaten, Social Justice Reporter

Tim Hudak’s Progressive Conservatives have made no campaign commitments to help vulnerable children and families get ahead, says a coalition of anti-poverty groups that has analyzed the various party platforms for the Oct. 6 election.

But the Liberals, NDP and Greens offer only limited solutions to ending child and family poverty, according to the analysis by Ontario Campaign 2000, which has joined with the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction in calling for more political attention to the issue.

“The response has been underwhelming,” said Mike Creek, co-chair of the 25 in 5 Network, a coalition of more than 400 groups and 1,000 individuals dedicated to solving the problem. “I don’t think any of the parties are taking poverty as seriously as they should.”

“When the Conservatives completely ignore a problem that affects so many of our citizens, it just shows you how out of touch that party really is around social justice issues,” he added.

More 1.2 million Ontarians are struggling to make ends meet, the advocates note. More than 150,000 households are on waiting lists for affordable housing, four out of five children have no access to affordable child care and provincial food banks recorded more than 1 million visits in the past year.

The party platforms were judged against four broad areas of need including: income security, fair wages and employment opportunities, social programs such as affordable housing and child care, and targeted strategies to fight poverty for those most at risk, including the disabled, natives, people of colour and newcomers.

All parties committed to fighting poverty in their unanimous support for the Poverty Reduction Act, which was passed into law in May 2009. But advocates say the parties need to tell voters how they would build on that commitment if they win the election.

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1 Comment

  1. Just reading some additional material on Poverty. It is interesting to find out that there is no agreed upon definition of poverty between countries. However, some agree that poverty is not only having no means of being able to provide for themselves and their families, that even middle class people in Canada are about two pay checks away from losing their homes and their live styles.

    Furthermore, poverty is not just looked at in economic terms, or financial terms, but that poverty is also about being denied the opportunity to change or expand, that its also to do with not being fully engaged in Society or even meet the expectations, societies expectations with respect to participation.

    Even though there may be evidence to suggest that the traditional laissez-faire attitude towards poverty is changing, that poverty is only recently being viewed as a global problem.

    It is only in recent years that such a heavy issue that affects many many Canadians, it is individuals, community groups and some businesses and volunteer workers that do the lag work.

    Just goes to show that yes, a small, yet determined group of people can have long lasting positive effects in Society.

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