Asking us where to hold the Basic Income Pilots feels like the Hunger Games!

Asking us where to hold the Basic Income Pilots feels like the Hunger Games! 

“This feels like the Hunger Games” is what one participant said at the Basic Income consultation in Sault Ste. Marie on Wednesday evening, when asked to suggest which community should be in the Basic Income pilot.

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The bus from Coe Hill to Bancroft runs once every two weeks.

The bus from Coe Hill to Bancroft runs once every two weeks.

Coe Hill is a community of 708 people 35 km south of Bancroft. Twenty people packed into the ‘Mystery Market’ in Coe Hill on Friday to talk to the Put Food in the Budget campaign about poverty in their community.

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“Grassroots organizing is needed to put pressure on politicians” (Maynooth)

“Grassroots organizing is needed to put pressure on politicians” (Maynooth)

30 people packed into a room at the Arlington Hotel in Maynooth to talk about organizing to end poverty in North Hastings.

The conversation began with a discussion of people’s experience with poverty:

  • “I had my hydro cut off last year. So now I cook on a camp stove, get my water from town and I built an outhouse.”
  • Wynne’s Band-Aid subsidy is not going to solve my neighbour’s hydro problems.
  • Poverty is not as visible here as in the city. Lots of couch surfing.
  • More women live in poverty than men
  • There is a lethargy that comes from eating processed foods like you get from the food bank. If you have enough money for a healthy diet and lifestyle you can stay healthy and avoid problems.
  • Catastrophic events – accidents, health emergencies - are part of life – but the results should not destroy your life.  The social safety net has big holes and doesn’t get you back on your feet after a catastrophe.
  • “Have to be very creative and resilient to get by in a rural community”

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Will a monthly hydro subsidy of $45 put food in the budget of people in North Hastings community?

Premier Wynne re-booted the Liberal government with a Throne Speech last week and promised a special $45/month subsidy ($540 a year) to reduce hydro costs in rural communities beginning in January. Will this subsidy be enough to reduce the hydro rates of people in rural communities so that they no longer have to choose between electricity and food?

The Put Food in the Budget campaign travels to Maynooth on Thursday and we will ask people directly! Friday we will meet people in Coe Hill and Bancroft. Saturday there will be a march and rally.

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Why Wait?

WHY WAIT?  RAISE THE RATES!


LET’S BREAK THE CYCLE OF ENDLESS POVERTY REDUCTION STUDIES AND CONSULTATIONS

 

Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government has started yet another cycle of consultation on poverty reduction. Since 2008, social justice advocates have participated in a series of policy consultations regarding social assistance reform, only to be disappointed every time by government inaction. Almost a decade of empty discussions about ‘poverty reduction’ has shown that consultation is a diversionary tactic to avoid tackling poverty. 

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Putfood

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Put Food in the Budget will travel to North Hastings County Sept 22 to 24.

 

The North Hastings Community Trust (NHCT) has invited the Put Food in the Budget campaign to visit their community to hear from people about the nature of poverty there and to support their organizing to raise social assistance rates.

NHCT followed the dispatches from our visit to communities in northern Ontario the past two summers. They invited the Put Food in the Budget campaign to inspire hope and support the organizing for social justice in their communities.

We are pleased to accept their invitation.

 

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Poverty

Poverty has drastic impact on health, especially in rural Ontario

We asked Katie Dorman a family physician in northern Ontario and a member of Health Providers Against Poverty to write an article for our Solidarity Blog. Katie did – and decided first to submit it to the Toronto Star as an Op-Ed piece and they printed it yesterday.  See here.  The full article appears below.

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This is just ‘public consultation theatre, all show and no substance’

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This is just ‘public consultation theatre, all show and no substance’ – Comments from our readers.



We asked our readers to respond to the bulletins we sent out this week on Minister of Social Services Helena Jaczek’s proposed consultations on social assistance reform. Here is a sample of comments from our readers this week.

 

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“We want to be really realistic”

“We want to be really realistic” or Planning to Fail



Minister of Social Services Helena Jaczek trots out a list of excuses that all but guarantee failure of any proposed reforms. “We want to be really realistic” is code for ‘you can’t blame us if we don’t live up to our promise’. Jaczek says she wants to “create a system of support both inside and outside social assistance that provides adequate incomes” and while she “hopes to begin implementing reforms in January 2018” she first warns us this will only happen “once the provincial deficit has been erased.” (Emphasis added).
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Winners

When Minister Jaczek talks about ‘winners’ she is simply putting a ‘smiley face’ on the Band-Aid of inadequate social assistance rates.

This June 27 article in the Toronto Star (see here) reveals a lot about the attitudes of Kathleen Wynne’s Ontario Liberal government towards people who are poor. Let’s break down just two of the comments the Social Services Minister makes in this recent interview.
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