Stephen Harper abandons struggling Canadians
Conservative government gives up on country’s fight against poverty
“This government keeps preaching that jobs will end poverty, but remains silent on the 750,000 working Canadians who live in poverty despite their jobs,” said New Democrat Poverty Critic Tony Martin (Sault Ste. Marie). “Many of those people are barely getting by with their precarious employment.”
“Seven provinces with their own poverty strategies and credible organizations like Campaign 2000, Canada Without Poverty, Make Poverty History, Citizens for Public Justice, Food Banks Canada and the Toronto Recession Relief Coalition are all demanding national leadership to fight poverty. Yet the Conservatives abandon the fight, hence abandoning many poor people including Aboriginal people, persons with disabilities, single seniors and children.”
With the cost of poverty estimated at $72 to $80 billion a year and lower income Canadians are sidelined from joining the economy, New Democrats have said it is smart economics as well as social justice to launch a national poverty strategy.
Last November, when the parliamentary committee report was released, Martin called it a road map for a just and inclusive society that needed the political will in Ottawa to act. The focused strategy proposed a new poverty reduction fund, federal leadership in partnership with the provinces, territories, cities and aboriginal governments and a consultation process to launch a plan within two years to be updated afterwards every five years.
The three-year study, which included 63 meetings across the country, hearing from 260 witnesses representing 200 organizations, was table in the House of Commons last Friday.