In this eBulletin:
“We should be asking candidates in the provincial election what their party will do to ensure we have the social infrastructure that is necessary to build an equitable, inclusive and prosperous society.
What are their specific ideas for providing decent, affordable housing options, high quality early learning and child care, a strong public education system, and affordable public transit?
We should also ask what they will do to ensure that communities have the resources to develop and implement innovative programs that meet the specific needs of their most vulnerable residents.
We know that smart government investments can make a real difference in the lives of those experiencing poverty, so now is the time for all political parties to make the reduction and eradication of poverty a key election issue and to clearly outline a comprehensive plan for tackling poverty.”
Who said it? Gemma Smyth, chair of Pathway to Potential in Windsor, in the Windsor Star on September 23. Read the op ed in the Windsor Star here.
Toronto, September 27, 2011 –Ontario’s political parties have offered limited solutions this election to ending child and family poverty, a new report by Ontario Campaign 2000 has found.
The “Political Commitment Grid” released today by Ontario Campaign 2000 evaluates each of Ontario’s four major political parties’ plans on poverty reduction and eradication. Most party platforms mention poverty reduction strategies, but some parties still fail to make extensive commitments on critical issues that affect people living on low income and in poverty.
“All political parties committed to poverty reduction in their unanimous support for the 2009 Poverty Reduction Act, but their political commitments so far this election are underwhelming,” said Mike Creek, co-Chair of the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction. “Now more than ever we call upon all political parties to act to build an Ontario where everyone lives in dignity.”
The Grid informs a Call to Action letter from the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction, which spearheaded the call for poverty reduction in 2007. The letter calls on party leaders to act on their commitment to poverty reduction, and to pursue strong and comprehensive policies aimed at achieving an equitable and inclusive Ontario and a province free from poverty. The Call to Action has received endorsement from over a hundred organizations and individuals across Ontario.
“As communities work hard to remove barriers and provide supports for our most vulnerable residents, now is the time for all parties to demonstrate their leadership by outlining a clear plan of action on eradicating poverty, said Adam Vasey, Director of Pathway to Potential in Windsor. “Nearly 1.7million Ontarians – one in ten of us – live in poverty. Ontarians are counting on their political leaders to clearly articulate their vision for an equitable, inclusive province that ensures opportunity and dignity for everyone.”
“We not only want all parties to acknowledge these issues, we want them to bring in policies and set comprehensive targets now for achieving poverty eradication in the future,” said Alizeh Hussain, Interim Coordinator of Ontario Campaign 2000. “It should be unacceptable that 4 in 5 children in Ontario do not have access to licensed affordable child care, over 150,000 households are on waiting lists for non-profit housing, and 40% of food bank users say they go hungry at least one day a week. We need to know what the parties will do about these critical issues.”
“Now more than ever we need parties to address poverty, as it affects everyone and it’s the right thing to do for our social and economic well being,” said Greg deGroot-Maggetti of Mennonite Central Committee in Kitchener. “Firm commitments on poverty eradication would give everyone a secure foundation and strengthen Ontario’s economic outlook. It can’t be stressed enough how crucial it is that all parties act on eradicating poverty in Ontario.”