PM prefers to look away

Posted on October 3, 2010 in Social Security Debates

Source: — Authors: – Opinion/Editorial
Published On Sat Oct 02 2010

Last December, when a Senate subcommittee released its anti-poverty blueprint, the most common criticism of it was that it covered too much ground, with no fewer than 74 recommendations. But given that, how could Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government not find a single recommendation worth pursuing? The government’s response to the report, finally released this week, merely catalogued existing poverty programs and said the committee’s recommendations would be taken under advisement.

In nine months, that’s the best they could come up with?

There is ample evidence that far too many Canadians are falling through the cracks of existing income support and housing programs; yet Harper’s government evidently prefers not to think about new ways to help the 3.4 million Canadians the report identified as still living in poverty. Worse still, the Senate report concluded that, far from lifting people out of poverty, many of our existing programs are so badly designed that they hold people down.

Fighting poverty ought not to be a partisan issue. Indeed, the Senate subcommittee was notable for its bipartisanship, with Art Eggleton, a Liberal, as chair, and Hugh Segal, a Conservative, as vice-chair. That makes it doubly disheartening that Harper’s government has ignored the committee’s call for a comprehensive anti-poverty plan.

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