Common Front for Social Justice
Thirty seven thousand poor New Brunswickers were left out of the 2010-2011 budget
"The provincial budget has not set any money aside for rate increases for the 37,000 New Brunswickers who presently depend on social assistance to meet their basic needs. When the Finance Minister boasts that the present government has delivered 96% of its electoral promises, he is silent on a very important one, namely the promise of raising social assistance rates to the Atlantic average" says Linda McCaustlin, co-chair of the Common Front for Social Justice.
There are presently 38,972 New Brunswick individuals receiving social assistance. All of them receive a check which keeps them considerably below poverty line. Our province is the one which has the less compassion for its citizens living in poverty.
After the widely publicized poverty reduction plan, people were expecting concrete and immediate measures to start moving them out of poverty. Only 3.3% (1,220 individuals) found comfort in this Liberal government budget.
The $15 million dollars invested will go to such initiatives as Early learning and child care, promoting community schools and affordable housing, and increasing access to post-secondary education.
"The Common Front for Social Justice agrees with the decision to put money in children and education. However, children are part of families and, if their moms and dads don't have enough to eat, don't have a good roof over their head and don't have heat this winter, they will not see any improvement in their situation, compared to last year", continues Ms. McCaustlin.
In NB, 16.7% of children are poor, highest percentage in all of the Atlantic provinces. This represent one out of every six children in the province (26,000 children). Thirty four percent of these children were using NB food banks in March 2009.
"Nelson Mandela said that poverty is not natural but is man-made and can be change by actions. The 2010-2011 budget does not offer much hope for over 37,000 NB citizens living in poverty", concludes Ms. McCaustlin.
The Common Front for Social Justice is one of the largest democratic and popular organization in New Brunswick, with close to 75,000 group and individual members. The Common Front brings together individuals as well as local, regional and provincial organizations to work towards the eradication of poverty.