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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