Thursday, September 13, 2007

Baby Steps Will Never Fix Child Poverty – NDP Calls for National Plan

from Soo News

As Campaign 2000 in a new report calls on governments to commit to a comprehensive non-partisan poverty reduction strategy, the NDP challenges Prime Minister Stephen Harper to put poverty reduction high in the government’s fall priorities.

The NDP has a national anti-poverty strategy and political will to significantly reduce the one in six Canadians living in poverty, including 1.2 million children. The Conservatives to date have no plan and no political will. Baby steps will only make more children poor.

“Our Child Care Act, affordable housing and education, real income security, and $10 minimum wage are pillars for a national strategy,” said NDP Social Policy Critic Tony Martin.

The NDP has secured crucial Parliamentary hearings this fall to study the prosperity gap that traps more and more hardworking Canadians in economic insecurity. “Those hearings must happen as soon as we return in October, when we can study jurisdictions like Quebec, Newfoundland, Ireland and Britain who are making real progress because they adopted plans with strategies and timelines.” Martin said.

Last February, a NDP opposition motion was defeated by the Conservatives and Bloc that called on the federal government to implement a national anti-poverty strategy. The motion set the federal minimum wage at $10 per hour.

“The Conservatives tout their Child Care Benefit and child tax credit but child poverty is not being reduced. We need a comprehensive plan now,” Martin said.

“Ireland took leadership and pumped a lot of money into training, child care and affordable housing,” said NDP child poverty critic Olivia Chow. “The result is that 90 per cent of their young people graduate from high school. That’s 15 per cent higher than in Canada. When will the government take action and work with us to introduce an anti-poverty strategy and close the prosperity gap?”

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