Listen to the Public Conscience

By Ben Bull
Published July 13, 2007

I'm not sure if this news reached the Hamilton papers. [It did; a search of the Hamilton Spectator returns four articles as of July 13, including the article linked from the Toronto Star. -Ed.]

Campaign 2000, a group of citizens dedicated to ending child poverty in Canada, has issued a poverty reduction strategy, in time for the upcoming Provincial election.

Their aim is to push their platform onto the political agenda:

  • Immediately hike the minimum wage to $10 an hour.
  • Increase and index welfare rates to inflation.
  • Increase annual child benefits by $1,260.
  • Bring in regulated daycare, with parent fees based on income, for all kids under 12.
  • Build 8,300 new affordable housing units and provide 45,000 rent supplements to bring down the cost of existing units.

It's high time our political leaders realized that there are two main issues that dominate the conscience of the public: Poverty and the Environment.

And its high time they did something about it.

Ben Bull lives in downtown Toronto. He's been working on a book of short stories for about 10 years now and hopes to be finished tomorrow. He also has a movie blog.


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By beancounter (registered) | Posted July 13, 2007 at 23:22:25

Sorry, that should read example.

Having been on welfare in the pre-Mike Harris days I don't know how people can make it on the reduced stipend paid by Ontario Works now.

On the other hand, is increasing welfare payments something like adding more lanes to a congested highway, which often encourages more people to commute longer distances?

Perhaps we need to take a harder look at helping people get off the merry-go-round, to break the poverty cycle.

To start with, let's have the politicians actually talk to people on Social Assistancde or people who work for low wages. How can we help them become more employable in higher-paid jobs?

And why not pay rental allowance directly to landlords? Why have all the low income people live in welfare ghettos and have a huge bureacracy to run social housing empires?

Finally, and this may be a little bit too utopian, can we face the fact that there are very few single parents? Most of these children living in poverty have living fathers. Let's make sure that they take responsibility for their children.

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By beancounter (registered) | Posted July 13, 2007 at 23:24:54

The standard argument against increasing the minimum wage is that it will result in lost employment, because businesses cannot afford to pay higher wages.

Does anyone have an exsmple of where higher mimimum wages have actually helped the working poor? I think maybe the Irish found that it worked for them.

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By Al Rathbone (anonymous) | Posted July 16, 2007 at 18:52:25

I agree with everything there except the minimum wage. Unfortunately only 3% of jobs are minimum wage and most are starting positions or jobs that are "extras" that wouldn't be done if more had to be paid to the employees assigned to them.

The problem with a higher minimum wage is it discourages businesses from hiring and "trying out" new employees.

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