“Show us the money” – Stop the Poverty Reduction Charades


“Show us the money” – Stop the Poverty Reduction Charades

Three recent articles illustrate the false promises that are made at Queen’s Park and Toronto City Hall in the name of poverty reduction. This email is also to let you know about two upcoming actions. (See end of this email)

10 Years on and no reduction in poverty: Craig Foye and Tom Cooper have co- authored "The Right to an Adequate Standard of Living in Hamilton. Cooper says "Unfortunately, it is a sad reality that the lives of people living in deepest poverty has not changed”. In addition Tom says “it's shameful that the provincial government has "institutionalized poverty and food banks" by making them permanent realities for those on social assistance.

Legal clinic lawyer Craig Foye, says: "It is an international disgrace that a country as rich as Canada is not addressing these issues." We haven't seen the changes to let people keep up (with the cost of living)."

Their report shows there is a 25 per cent gap between increases in social assistance and rises in the cost of living since 1986. The Liberals under McGuinty and now Wynne have been in power for all ten of the years this report covers. (Read the full article here).

Meanwhile at Toronto City Hall: City Council unanimously adopts a poverty reduction plan and then fails to fund it. Mayor John Tory and Council are correctly criticized from across the political spectrum.

  • Maytree foundation: “For the anti-poverty movement in Toronto, January has been a month focused on the City of Toronto budget process, and there is growing concern about whether Council will deliver on the promise of a strategy approved only three short months ago”.

    “On the afternoon of November 3, Council Chamber was filled with promise and expectation. TO Prosperity, the city’s first poverty reduction strategy, was presented and a unanimous vote confirmed the good intentions of Toronto City Council. But this was perhaps an easy vote to cast, since councillors voted for a strategy not a financial commitment. Some even admitted from the floor that they were voting for the strategy with the full knowledge that the money would not be there – and that they wouldn’t support any cuts or new taxes to fund the strategy”.

    This is not responsible leadership…”(Click for more)

  • Ontario Coalition Against Poverty: John Clarke in his article “The Austerity Agenda in Sheep’s Clothing” says the following “As we go into the New Year with Justin Trudeau's Liberal Government in place, it's worth noting that the struggle against poverty in Toronto now unfolds with a complete set of federal, provincial and municipal regimes all seeking to position themselves politically as moderate if not progressive. This has particular implications and poses particular challenges in terms of effectively resisting austerity, poverty and social abandonment”.

    “The advantages to be gained from the ‘poverty reduction’ circus have not been lost on John Tory and his team. The approach that the Liberals put in place at the Provincial level is now being replicated municipally. The main political capital provided by this approach is that it creates the illusion that the ‘complex problem’ of poverty is being duly considered, solutions sought and the ‘stakeholders’ consulted. Through this procedure, community anger can be safely channeled, expectations put on hold and ‘solutions’ presented that don't conflict with and even facilitate the prevailing agenda”.

    “We can be sure that there will be no great desire to ensure that the City run welfare offices adopt a less restrictive approach to the provision of benefits. Any housing initiatives that emerge will be focused on facilitating upscale development, with token ‘affordable housing’ measures included and an emphasis on furthering the privatization of public housing.”(See the full article here)

Having a ‘poverty reduction strategy’ has itself become the ‘strategy’. The Ontario government did this first in 2008 and, and now is being copied by the City of Toronto. Premier Wynne and Mayor Tory ‘tick the box’ that says ‘strategy’ and then continue with the ‘business’ of implementing the austerity agenda – evidence Cooper and Foye report provide when they report there has been no reduction in poverty in ten years.

Upcoming Actions

  • RALLY AND "BAKE SALE" FOR ANTI-POVERTY ACTION (Organized by Commitment2Community)

Tuesday, February 9 at 9:00-9:30 am 
Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen Street West 
Toronto Mayor John Tory said tackling poverty would be a priority. Council adopted a poverty reduction strategy. But the city’s proposed Budget fails to include needed investments in affordable transit, childcare and housing to help Toronto's 585,000 residents living in poverty. And Council is refusing to implement revenue tools to fund anti-poverty action. 
More information at povertyreductionto.ca or email.
Facebook event page.


March on City Hall
Wednesday, February 17
Assemble: Queen and Sherbourne, 11.00 AM
Soup Provided 
Facebook event page
Event page on ocap.ca (with posters and flyers)

Put Food in the Budget

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