|Common Front for Social Justice|
Poverty is received little attention during the election campaign;
Only the NPD and the Green Party proposes solutions to poverty
Moncton, June 24, 2004 - Three weeks before the elections campaign, Campaign 2000 reportedthat child poverty not only persists, but has increased in spite of the engagement taken in 1989by the Parliament to eliminate it before year 2000. In the same time, the National Council ofWellfare published a study indicating that even the full-time workers remain under the povertyline. "Issues concerning poverty were excluded from the election campaign. It should beremembered that 16% of people in New Brunswick live under the poverty line. Nothing in thiscampaign allows them to hope for an end to their misery" confirms Mary Anne Leblanc of theNB Common Front for Social Justice.
After having noted the absence of debate on poverty, the Common Front in collaboration withother anti-poverty organization of the province, asked the New Brunswick representatives ofeach political party what concrete measures they would implement to significantly reducepoverty. Once the answers were obtained, Mary Anne Leblanc is categorical; "poverty willcertainly not decrease in Canada during the next few years. The two principal parties do not offerany tangible solutions.
"Only the NPD and the Green Party offered measures to reduce poverty in general. "Each of thesetwo parties are committed to reinvesting in post-secondary education and social housing. Themost concrete measure to reduce the misery of people living in poverty is the abolition of theGST on essential goods proposed by NPD." underlined Mrs. Leblanc and adding that from thepoint of view of a minority government, such proposals have better chance of becoming reality."What worries us most is to see that the Liberals still make promises without joining sufficientfunds to it and even worse, that poverty is straightforwardly out of the conservatives platform."says Mrs. Leblanc.
The liberals propose to create a Canadian program for early childhood, an item recycled fromtheir 1993 platform. According to Mrs. Leblanc, "the money which supports this promise isclearly insufficient given that the provincial programs have an important gap to fill. It is muchdoubted that the promised amounts will translate into an increase of places and even less chancethat they will be affordable. For the remainder of the promises of the liberals, the Child TaxBenefit and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, they only cover the increases in living costs".
On the question of the social housing, Mrs. Leblanc, who in theory supports the idea, says she isnot able to believe it because what she has seen these last years and what she hears are contradictory.
As for the Conservatives, who refused to answer any questionnaires, they offer nothing for the low-income earners in their electoral platform. The Co-president of the Common Front for Social Justice says she is upset with the only promise of the conservatives for young families; "an income tax deduction of $2000 per child is worth absolutely nothing for families with low income. It is a meaningless promise. Such a proposal is ridiculous and shameful".
The spokesperson of the Common Front still worries for the people most in need, "one can conclude that poverty is still not an important issue for Ottawa. We will have to continue to work very hard to simply put poverty on their agenda".
1-The question asked to the representatives of each political party
2-The list of groups which supports this endeavour
3-Liste of the representatives of each political party
For more information:
Mary Anne Leblanc, co-president (ENG)..................648-6989 (w), 633-9881 (h)
Marco Morency, liaison agent (FR & ENG)..............851-7084 (w)
The question asked to the representatives of each political party
June 16, 2004
To: N.B. lieutenant for the federal parties
"Where men, women and children are condemned to live in misery, Human Rights are violated."
Father Joseph Wresinski, 1987
The NB Common Front for Social Justice, and other organizations* are asking the following question to the representative of the federal political parties in the present federal elections:
Which concrete measures do you have in your electoral platform to significantly reduce poverty in Canada in next four years?
Please respond by fax or email at the above address.
*This endeavor is support by the following group:
Fredericton Anti-Poverty Organization, Melynda Jarratt
Justice et foi, Auréa Cormier
Comitéé des 12, Claude Snow
KAIROS, Greater Moncton, Bob Childs
Développement et paix, Jacqueline Savard
Urban Core Support Network, Brenda Murphy
Coalition pour l'équité salariale, Annie Matlais
N.B. lieutenant for the federal parties
Libéraux - Andy Scott (contact: Jennifer Coleman)
Conservateur - Rob Moore (contact: Doug McDonald)
NPD -NDP - Yvon Godin
506-548-4478 (bureau de campagne)
Parti Vert - Judith Hamel