Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Poor people kicked out of session on poor people

Well, if this isn't typical. Premier Dalton McGuinty of Ontario was elected partly on his party's platform of reducing poverty by 25% in five years, but now that he is starting the process of "getting firsthand feedback" (his words) apparently that doesn't include getting any input from the people actually living in poverty.

Today poor people protested the invitation-only poverty session. Some of the protesters had their mouth shut with tape with the word "silence' written on the tape. Infoshop has a good story about people's struggle to be heard..

I must say, however, the Premier's 25% reduction on poverty sounds a whole lot better than what is promoted in cities around the country including Springfield-- and some states have their own plan, also; Massachusetts does-- although sometimes I get confused: is it eliminate chronic homelessness in five years? or all homelessness in ten years? or ten percent in five years? or five percent in...oh, never mind.

Premier McGuinty must know something about where the economy is headed that I don't know, to set his sights so high.


avonbargen said...

Hi there! Thanks for keeping tabs on social justice. Just to clarify...McGuinty didn't run on a 25% reduction platform, rather, that's a multi-sector campaign called the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction ( that is working to pressure the Ontario government to adopt a measure of a 25% reduction in 5 years, based on the British model that accomplished the feat. We're making a lot of headway, but as you saw, governments aren't open as community groups when it comes to consultation...they're starting to come around and do more public meetings after much bad press and pressure. Our group believes that we need to address poverty now - a recession or economic downturn will only worsen the problem. In over 20 years of unparalleled economic prosperity, it hasn't been the right time to address the underlying poverty amid the wealth, so that tells you that there will never be a "good" time for government. Which is why we're putting the heat on now - we're making it the right time. Cheers.

Michaelann Bewsee said...

Hey, thanks for clarifying. You're right about the time never being right-- that's what they tell us about more housing, benefits increase, etc.

Make hay while the sun shines, we say in the U.S. (Do you say that in Canada?)