Social safety net needs repair

TheStar.com – opinion/letters
Published On Sun Dec 18 2011.   Kate Chung

Re: Rise in black prison population worries ombudsman, Dec. 16

Why are people so surprised? The rise in the black prison population is a direct result of systemic racism combined with the legacy of Mike Harris and his Conservative vendetta against the poor of Ontario.

The cuts to the social safety net in Ontario (now being replicated across the country) greatly magnified the effects of systemic racism, which had already resulted in a disproportionate number of visible minority poor.

If you are a hungry child struggling in school due to your hunger and poverty, of course you will be tempted to find some way to feed yourself, even if it means getting involved in drug-selling or other crimes. Why is anyone surprised?

No clearer evidence is needed to show why we need to strengthen our social safety net — raise welfare rates, provide hot breakfast and lunch in all schools, build more affordable housing, drive out slum landlords, provide programs to steer young people toward steady jobs, provide high quality child care for all children who need it. So let’s just do it!

Kate Chung, Toronto

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