MPP Consultation Scarborough (June 9, 2008)

Summary Observations on the June 9th Poverty Reduction Strategy Consultation in Scarborough
By Liyu Guo, with input from John Stapleton

Introduction

Super Monday proved to be quite a night for the Scarborough anti-poverty activists and low-income residents in Scarborough. While the consultation was announced just a few days prior to the event and was held in a sweltering public school gym bordering Pickering and Scarborough, more than 100 people showed at the door and participated in this important public dialogue. It was truly a cross-section of participants, including concerned local residents, social activists and social service reps, youth reps, seniors, labour, faith community… Reps from 25in5, Campaign 2000, Family Service Association of Toronto, Colour of Poverty and a number of Scarborough-based coalition members were on hand as well, handing out info to the attendees.

Co-sponsored by three Scarborough MPPs:

They were joined by Gerry Phillips (Minister of Energy) at the table.

Children and Youth Services Minister Deb Matthews made a surprising appearance when she addressed the audience briefly as well. The 2-hour discussion and dialogue was for the most part orderly and moderated by a local TV journalist, discussions and debates heated up from time to time, when members of the audience disagreed with the views of MPPs.

Toronto Star reporter Kerry Gillespie also attended with a photojournalist who took many pictures throughout.

Some from the audience also raised concerns about the six questions being used as the guide, saying they are inappropriate in terms of what people wanted to say.

Some of the highlights of the public voices included the following:

Each of the MPPs spoke briefly, indicating where they stand on the issues:

The audience was then asked to comment on what programs and initiatives in the community have worked. A number of them were suggested and commented on from the audience, including breakfast programs in schools, Best Start early learning and child care programs that have lost funding from the federal government, ethno-racial specific youth programs, Tropicana community services in Malvern, etc. The audience also shared their frustration with these MPPs re trying to access government funding to continue some of these successful programs.

Event Reports

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