Countdown to a Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) – 7 weeks until the December deadline

In this week’s bulletin:

Quote of the Week: Deficit ok in bad times, says bank economist

Act Now: Two quick actions that can make a difference on poverty reduction

Anti-poverty plan on track for December, confirms Premier

Fifteen cities and counting: October is the time for ACTION on poverty reduction

MediaWatch: Cross-community News Coverage on Poverty Reduction

Work isn’t working for too many: Check out the Good Jobs Now conference

Add your voice to the more than 400 that have endorsed the 25 in 5 Declaration

October 15 is Blog Action Day


Quote of the week

“If things were to deteriorate quite significantly and we saw pressures both in terms of softer revenues and increase on the spending side, then a deficit may well be in the cards. And I would argue that that’s not a bad thing. The last thing you want to see in a period of very pronounced weakness is the government raising taxes or cutting spending to avoid a deficit.”

Who said it?  Craig Wright, chief economist at RBC Capital Markets, arguing that a deficit is a necessary means of cushioning the economy against a downturn (October 6, Canadian Press).


Two Quick Hits: Endorse 25 in 5 and join us on Oct 27

First, if you have not already done so, take thirty seconds to endorse the 25 in 5 Declaration at www.25in5.ca – and, approach any organizations that you belong to with a pitch to endorse the Declaration.

Second, REGISTER NOW for the Toronto Network General Assembly event, Countdown for a Poverty Reduction Strategy, scheduled for the afternoon of October 27 at Macdonald Block, 900 Bay Street.  The Assembly will feature an update on the province’s poverty reduction strategy by Minister Deb Matthews, news from the US campaign against poverty, a reminder by Armine Yalnizyan as to why we can’t afford to wait to act, as well as a call to action from the 25 in 5 Network.  Register at www.25in5.ca


Anti-poverty plan on track for December, confirms Premier

Writing in response to the 25 in 5 September Open Letter, Premier McGuinty reaffirmed on October 1 that “by the end of 2008, our government will deliver a comprehensive, long-term poverty reduction strategy, including targets and indicators.”

Although the Premier says that the “first focus of investment will be on child poverty”, his description of the overall plan as “comprehensive” indicates that he is hearing concerns expressed by communities across Ontario that the Government’s long-term plan respond to the needs of all Ontarians living in poverty.

The Premier also writes, “Our poverty reduction strategy is not only the right thing to do, it is critical for our future economic success. Ontario needs all of its citizens to be strong if we want to compete in the global economy.  We cannot afford to let anyone fall behind.”

This is why 25 in 5 continues to stress how important it is that implementation of the government’s poverty reduction plan start with the 2009 budget:

  • Action to reduce poverty is the stimulus we need to weather the economic storm: we can boost consumer spending in local economies, invest in infrastructure to stimulate jobs, and ensure that all hands are on deck to pull us through the storm.
  • We owe it to each other: we must step up for Ontario families through job losses, reductions in hours of work, and other financial stresses
  • We can pay now or we can pay later: we can invest in people and ensure everyone is at their best or we can look forward to increased health care, criminal justice, and social service costs.

For the full letter from the Premier see www.povertywatchontario.ca


Fifteen cities and growing: October is time for ACTION on Poverty reduction

Check out the following events in your community as the next opportunity for you to get involved in the 25 in 5 movement.

Kingston

“Dying for a Meal” October 17h 11:00 AM at the Salvation Army, 183 Weller Ave.
In recognition of the UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, community anti-poverty groups are serving a harvest brunch and organizing a panel discussion on food security and the relationship between poverty and poor health.  Endorsements of the 25 in 5 Declaration will also be promoted to urge provincial action on a poverty reduction plan for Ontario.

Cambridge

Stand Up to Make Poverty History October 17th at 12:15 in the Atrium at Cambridge City Hall, 50 Dickson St. | Cambridge
The Social Planning Council of Cambridge & North Dumfries and the Community Response to Fair Income Group are inviting Cambridge residents to wear white shirts and come down to City Hall to Stand Up against poverty.  Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig will be among the speakers.  Endorsement of the 25 in 5 Declaration will be promoted.

Owen Sound

Poverty Reduction March and Stone Soup Lunch October 17th, morning, Farmers’ Market Building, City Hall
The Owen Sound/Grey Bruce Poverty Reduction Committee will hold a rally and march to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Paper plates with quotes from the stories of low income people in the community will be delivered to the local MPP during the march.  The marchers will return for a Stone Soup lunch to the Farmers’ Market, where local community agencies will provide information at booths and exhibits and more quotes from low income people will be displayed on walls.

“Bridges out of Poverty” and “Danny, King of the Basement” October 27th | Evening
The Grey-Bruce Children’s Alliance will hold a workshop with a roundtable discussion and dinner.  This will be followed by a play on poverty called “Danny, King of the Basement” to be performed at one of the local high schools, the Owen Sound Collegiate and Vocational Institute.  The play is open to the public at no charge.

Cornwall

Proclamation and 25 in 5 Endorsement October 17th at 9:30 AM at Justice Building in front of City Hall on Pitt St.
Members of the Cornwall community are invited to wear white and black to City on Hall on Friday where the Mayor and City Council will proclaim October 17th the “Day for the Eradication of Poverty” in Cornwall.  Statements will be made by low income people and other advocates as a white flag is raised to mark the special day.  The Social Development Council of Cornwall will read the 25 in 5 Declaration and announce local endorsements of the Declaration.  All present will then be encircled in a white banner signifying their shared commitment to the elimination of poverty inCornwall, Ontario, Canada and around the world.

Ottawa

Marking International Day to Eradicate Poverty October 17th at noon at Anti-Poverty Monument at City Hall
The Ottawa District Labour Council, the National Anti-Poverty Organization, and Citizens for Public Justice will acknowledge the UN Day to Eradicate Poverty at noon at the Anti-Poverty monument beside City Hall.  Participating groups will comment upon the relevance of the federal election result for action now on poverty.

Anti-Poverty Vigil October 17th at Anti-Poverty Monument at City Hall
The local October 17th Committee of persons living on low income will hold a vigil to emphasize the need to end poverty in Ontario. Information is available from Linda Lalonde at linda_lalonde_ottawa@yahoo.com or at (613) 325-4737.

Toronto

Toronto Network General Assembly – Countdown to a Poverty Reduction Strategy October 27th from 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM, Macdonald Block, 900 Bay Street
Minister Deb Matthews will join Pat Capponi of Voices from the Street, Armine Yalnizyan of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and Lisa Donner of the “Half in Ten” Project out of Washington, D.C. in addressing a large gathering of 25 in 5 members and partners from across the province as we come together to share updates on campaign activities, government actions, and strategies around next steps. Register online at www.25in5.ca or call Mary at 416-351-0095 x.251 (no fees).

Community Rally Against Poverty October 17th from 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM at southeast corner of Jane-Finch
The Jane-Finch Community and Family Centre is inviting the community to Stand Up for the eradication of poverty in its own community and around the world.  Statements will promote affordable housing, decent wages for all, income security, universal childcare, dental and prescription plans for all, and an end to racism and sexism as measures to reduce poverty.

Queen’s Park Vigil October 17th from Noon to 1:00 PM at Queen’s Park
Join the Ontario Coalition for Social Justice for this vigil where groups will urge a) the newly elected federal government to take action on poverty; and b) the provincial government to honour its promise to announce its poverty reduction strategy by the end of this year, and to include concrete measures to reduce poverty in the next provincial budget.

Growing Poverty and Social Inequality in Toronto October 26th from 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM in Rm LIB 72, Library Bldg., Ryerson University, 350 Victoria St.
A panel discussion on poverty and social inequality in Toronto highlighting housing affordability as a crucial concern.  Panelists are David Hulchanski, Pat Capponi, Avvy Go and Marvyn Novick.  Part of the Third Annual Shirley Shipman Memorial Lecture.

Hamilton

Quilt Display and 25 in 5 Postcard Campaign October 21st at 10:00 AM at the Workers’ Arts and Heritage Centre
The Hamilton Work Group for Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy is organizing a public event where it will announce the number of signed postcards that will be forwarded to Minister Deb Matthews in support of the 25 in 5 Declaration.  The anti-poverty quilt used as an illustration on the postcard will be on display as guest speakers from a variety of fields will speak to the 25 in 5 Declaration.

Sault Ste. Marie

Strategic Planning to End Poverty October 22nd from 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM at the Indian Friendship Centre
Poverty Reduction March
October 24th | March will commence in the afternoon at Indian Friendship Centre
The Algoma Community Legal clinic is holding a poverty reduction meeting to release publicly its provincial report on poverty reduction.  This meeting will consist primarily of those living in poverty who participated in the workshop referred to in the report.  On October 24, a poverty reduction march to the offices of the local MPPs and MPs will present them with the report and get a commitment from them to follow up on the recommendations/strategies addressed in the report.  Media and city councillors will be invited to participate in the march.

Belleville

“Taste of Poverty” October 24th at noon at City Hall, Front St.
Participating community members will be asked to bring an empty plate (paper ones will be provided for those who don’t bring one).  Endorsements of the 25 in 5 Declaration will be announced.  The “Quinte Covenant on Poverty” will be signed and presented to the Mayor and City Council.

Windsor

“Colour of Poverty – Open Air Forum” October 17th 4:00 – 7:00 PM at Windsor Water World, 400 Wyandotte St.E.
A chance to learn more about the Colour of Poverty Campaign, share your thoughts and enjoy a barbeque.

Cambridge

Reduce Poverty in Ontario – Now is the Time October 24th |8:00 AM – 9:30 AM, Breakfast Meeting in Bowman Room at Cambridge City Hall
Opportunities Waterloo Region, the Social Planning Councils of Cambridge & North Dumfries, and the Social Planning Council of Kitchener-Waterloo are co-sponsoring a community breakfast focusing on promotion of the 25 in 5 campaign and coordinating a Stand Up for poverty reduction in Canada, Ontario and Waterloo Region. Local political representatives will be invited to hear speakers on the 25 in 5 Declaration and on the importance of strong community infrastructure to effectively reduce poverty.  Breakfast will be catered by Kitchen Works of the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank.

Thunder Bay

Media Conference on Ending Poverty October 25

The Ending Poverty Project in Thunder Bay will be holding a media conference to report on findings from the community consultations since the spring with low income individuals.  Their experiences in poverty and solutions to poverty will be highlighted.  The report will then be delivered to local Liberal MPP’s, Michael Gravelle and Bill Mauro.

Renfrew

“Making Poverty Reduction a Political Priority in Ontario” October 29th from 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM at St. James Lutheran Church, 66 Elgin St.
Marvyn Novick, CAMPAIGN 2000 and Social Planning Network of Ontario, will address the Annual General Meeting of the Renfrew County Legal Clinic.

Pembroke

Mobilizing for Poverty Reduction October 30th from 9:00 AM – 12:00 Noon at The Marguerite Centre
The Renfrew County Children’s Anti-Poverty Network is organizing a presentation by Marvyn Novick, CAMPAIGN 2000 and Social Planning Network of Ontario, and discussion with local civic and community leaders on a provincial poverty reduction strategy for Ontario.

Sudbury

Reducing Poverty for a Healthy Community October 30th | Community Breakfast, Exact time and location TBD
The Social Planning Council of Sudbury will hold a breakfast meeting on October 30 engaging members from the economic, environmental, social and health sectors in a discussion of the impact of poverty on Sudbury’s population.  Guest speakers will include the President of the Sudbury Chamber of Commerce and the Sudbury Medical Officer of Health.  As an action coming out of the meeting, all present will be encouraged to endorse the 25 in 5 Declaration.

See www.povertywatchontario.ca for a full calendar of community events and activities on poverty reduction across Ontario.


MediaWatch: Cross-community news coverage on poverty reduction

Davenport vision of inclusive and just community
The Davenport West Income Security Council in Toronto submitted a report on its poverty reduction forum in June to Minister Matthews last week. Endorsing the 25 in 5 Declaration, the report argues for a “vibrant and healthy neighbourhood . . . organized around principles of inclusion, equity and social justice.  This vision stands in stark contrast to the reality of our community where many people live in despair and feel helpless to overcome the immense barriers they face.”

Candidates missing in action on poverty reduction
Luisa D’Amato, columnist with The Kitchener Record, observed that local Conservative candidates for federal election had not appeared at two debates and discussions on poverty during the campaign and commented “there are many Canadians who are ashamed of the high levels of poverty that are still tolerated in this rich country. They want to know what their national leaders plan to do about it. And the Conservatives, who called the election in the first place, owe us a full and open discussion.”

Joint city and county council commitment to poverty reduction strategy in Windsor-Essex
The Windsor Star reported on October 8 that Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis and Essex County Warden Nelson Santos released a joint commitment to poverty reduction saying “they want to combat poverty by improving access to affordable housing, reducing the high school dropout rate and expanding child-care and early learning programs.”

Study reports many immigrant seniors “penniless”
A report commissioned by a planning group representing the Chinese, South Asian, African and Hispanic communities marks the high rate of poverty among immigrant seniors, most of whom do not qualify for government income supports programs and face discrimination in trying to get work.  Citizenship Matters: Re-examining Income (In)Security of Immigrant Seniors states, “Compounded with other intersecting issues, like language barriers, cultural differences, ever-increasing cost of living, lack of affordable social housing, immigrant seniors are often entrapped in social isolation and financial dependence.”

Welland Tribune editorial condemns “National Shame”
The Welland Tribune states that the “government has to take a leadership role on poverty” and criticizes the current federal election campaign for not giving enough attention to the issue. “Despite plunging stock markets, the massive loss of manufacturing jobs – particularly in Ontario and Quebec – and the prospect of a long, nasty recession, there has been little talk of the effect this will have on Canada’s poverty rate and what can be done to help families stay in their homes and feed their children.”


Good Jobs Now to Reduce Poverty

“Work isn’t working” for too many Ontario families says a report from Ontario CAMPAIGN 2000, the Toronto & York Region Labour Council and the Canadian Labour Congress (Ontario Region).  “In today’s labour market, many Ontario parents cannot achieve financial security and create a supportive family environment for their children, not because they cannot find work, but because they cannot find a good job.”

This report will be a focus of a one day conference on November 22 at the Metro Convention Centre on what it will take to improve living and working conditions in the GTA.  For the Good Jobs Now poster and registration form go to http://www.labourcouncil.ca/events.html.

For the Work Isn’t Working Report, go to http://www.labourcouncil.ca.


Add your voice to the 25 in 5 Declaration

By endorsing the 25 in 5 Declaration we can send a clear message to the Provincial Government that action on poverty reduction cannot be delayed:

Just some of the new organizations to endorse this week:

  • Dixon Hall
  • Kingston Literacy
  • Kingston and District Labour Council
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cambridge
  • The Phoenix Centre for Children and Families
  • Abigail’s Learning Centre Inc.
  • Campaign for Adequate Welfare and Disability Benefits (CAWDB) [Hamilton]
  • Community Advocacy & Legal Centre
  • Girls Incorporated of Upper Canada
  • Child and Youth Health Network for Eastern Ontario
  • Parkdale Community Legal Services

Add your voice. Visit www.25in5.ca and sign on for poverty reduction by endorsing the 25 in 5 Founding Declaration.


Thousands of Bloggers Share Their Views on Poverty

Tomorrow, October 15, is Blog Action Day and more than 8900 bloggers worldwide, with an audience of more than 9 million people, are already signed up. The 25 in 5 website and Facebook community will be collecting and sharing blog stories from Canadians writing on poverty. If you keep a blog or are on Facebook, consider sharing your thoughts on poverty and the 25 in 5 campaign tomorrow, and participate in the global discussion.

Blog Action Day Explained

Bloggers Unite: On October 15th bloggers everywhere will publish posts that discuss poverty in some way. By all posting on the same day we aim to change the conversation that day, to raise awareness, start a global discussion and add momentum to an important cause.

Why? Every blogger has a unique voice, audience and perspective. By speaking to their readers on topic about an important issue we can discuss global issues like poverty in a new and hugely multi-faceted way. And from discussion springs action.

For more information visit the Blog Action Day website.


About the Countdown to a Poverty Reduction Plan eBulletins

The 25 in 5 Network is steered by a coalition of Ontario organizations including Campaign 2000, the Income Security Advocacy Centre, the Social Planning Network of Ontario the Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition, The Colour of Poverty Project, the Ontario Coalition for Social Justice, Voices From the Street, among others.

This is a weekly bulletin from 25 in 5 to its contact list of supporters and interested parties across the province. The Countdown Bulletin is intended to keep you up to date on the development of a poverty reduction plan for Ontario and to let you know how you, your organizations and networks can help make it happen.

For more information visit www.25in5.ca

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