“It sure would be nice before I die to see low income people be given the means to have a decent life” Deb O’Connor
“It sure would be nice before I die to see low income people be given the means to have a decent life”. These are the words of Deb O’Connor of the Northumberland Coalition Against Poverty at the Basic Income consultation in Coburg on Wednesday last week.
Ms. O’Connor has been calling for a raise in social assistance rates for 25 years. Deb interrupted the Coburg consultation to introduce an Emergency Resolution to immediately raise social assistance rates. You can see the 2 minute video here of Deb O’Connor speaking out.
Robert Case and Suzi Gorsoy interrupted the consultation held in Kitchener on Friday. (You can see the 2 minute video here)
Suzi Gorsoy who receives social assistance said “I am sick of consultations. Something needs to be done now, this is a crisis.”
“Overwhelming support for immediate increase in rates”
Robert Case reported the following about the Kitchener consultation to the Put Food in the Budget campaign:
“ The emergency resolution was very well received. Everyone appeared to be not just in favour of the resolution, but enthusiastically so. Hands shot up in support of the resolution, amid whoots of support and applause.
Later in the consultation, when asked what could be done to promote participation in the pilot, participants said that the Ministry could reduce the skepticism surrounding this pilot by immediately raising welfare rates to show that they are serious about actually doing something to address the inadequacies of the OW/ODSP system.
One table group of people drew applause and shouts of support from others by calling on the Ministry to abandon its consideration of a Basic Income pegged at anything below 100% of the Low Income Measure.
In the final, open round of comments that wrapped up the session, a woman stood up to express her support for testing out a Basic Income, but to also very clearly state her support for the emergency resolution that social assistance be raised in the meantime. Once again, these comments received loud applause and shouts of "hear! hear!" from throughout the audience.”
Consultations will be held this week in Kenora, Sault. Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay. There are plans to introduce the emergency resolution in all three communities.
Mike Balkwill will be travelling to Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay to speak to local groups before the consultations about the Basic Income and the need to raise social assistance rates now.
The Put Food in the Budget campaign needs $500 to support some of the costs of this trip. You can make a donation here.
Kinna-aweya Legal Clinic and Algoma Community Legal Clinic are generously covering the cost of air fare.
Our fund-raising goal of $500 is to cover costs for hotel and ground transportation.
Put Food in the Budget