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LETTER: Getting poverty on the election radar

 Dear Editor,

We are writing to ask your readers to help us make poverty an issue in this election campaign.  We know the Harper government has the needed funds to reduce poverty, but instead it has chosen to spend billions of our tax dollars for things like the G-8/G-20 Summits, reduced taxes for large corporations, fighter jets and other “big ticket” items which don’t benefit people struggling, and all too often failing, to raise their children and make ends meet.
We believe that the effects of poverty on people in our neighbourhoods could be wiped out if the government spent a fraction of that “jets and summits” money on things like affordable housing, pensions for seniors, day care for children, skills training, adequate income assistance for those unable to work and support for mentally ill people.
That money would come back to us in reduced healthcare costs, reduced law enforcement costs, reduced food bank costs, reduced education costs - to mention just a few benefits. And we don’t have to have a degree in economics to know that low income people spend any money they have within their local communities, so small, local business would definitely be better off.
We think our entire community would “bloom” if people were adequately supported to move out of the suffering and despair of poverty.
A year ago, two Canadian Senators authored an excellent study on how to reduce poverty in Canada called “In from the Margins: A Call to Action on Poverty, Housing and Homelessness”.  Despite the fact that Canada’s Senate unanimously approved the Report, and despite the fact that the authors were themselves Conservatives, the Harper government has ignored the recommendations and refuses to take positive action of the issue.

In this federal election, we ask that people please make sure their candidate belongs to a political party that pledges to spend our tax money where it will do the most good for our people and our local communities. Forget high price fighter jets, extravagant parties for the privileged and reduced taxes for the already wealthy. It’s time to end the prison of poverty in Canada and to allow everyone a chance to live with dignity and respect.

Patti Flack, Linda Ady and Ann Godderis
For the “Poor No More” Trail Group