We can’t afford poverty

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stcatharinesstandard.ca – Letters
July 9, 2010.   Tony Martin

Three years ago, I brought my End Poverty in Canada campaign to St. Catharines, committing to foster national leadership for this worthy goal.

As an update, I wanted residents there to know that on June 16 I introduced bill C-545, An Act to Eliminate Poverty in Canada.

It provides for a comprehensive poverty elimination strategy with Ottawa in the driver’s seat, partnering with provinces and other key stakeholders. Three provinces already have similar laws. Six have poverty reduction strategies. My bill calls on all future governments and Parliaments to make eliminating poverty their goal. The law would be anchored on Canada’s international human rights commitments and hold the government to account for its action or inaction.

I know it’s the right thing to do and I believe it’s also smart economics. With 3.4 million people poor, Canada leaves one of every 10 persons out of productivity. The bill for poverty is about $90 billion each year. A job may be part of the solution but, with an estimated 750,000 working and still poor, Canada also needs a bold strategy.

Liberal, Bloc Quebecois and Green party politicians have voiced their support.

I am convinced ending poverty will produce healthy communities and a strong economy. If we don’t, we leave so many behind and continue to pay for it massively and for generations to come.

I hope you contact politicians from all parties and at all levels of government to support C-545. We cannot afford poverty anymore.

Tony Martin

MP Sault Ste. Marie, NDP Poverty Critic Sault Ste. Marie

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