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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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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Stop the Consultation Merry-Go-Round – Put Food in the Budget

 

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Stop the Consultation Merry-Go-Round – Put Food in the Budget

This June 27 article in the Toronto Star (see here) reveals the strategy of misdirection that the Ontario Liberal Party (now led by Kathleen Wynne) is using to once again avoid raising social assistance rates:  

  • A plan to design a pilot project on basic income;
  • consultation on the design
  • a separate Income Security Reform Working Group to provide recommendations 
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Solidarity from Front Line Workers

Preface

The following is a story written by Tony Black, a social worker at the Fred Victor Centre in Toronto, and is based on facts given to him by a client. It gives a detailed account of the efforts of a single mom of two to obtain suitable housing for her family only to find doors being shut at almost every turn. While the details of her experience are not all ones that we see each day, it is a very true illustration of the gaps in services that exist in the city, and which many people do face each day.

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Tony Black

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