from Thunder Bay's Source
The chair of Thunder Bay's Economic Justice Committee feels the local provincial candidates need to make poverty a higher priority and after the election his committee will hold them accountable for the campaign pledges they made.
Along with compiling their latest report, the committee asked the local candidates three questions regarding poverty in the city and their comments will be available on the web site www.kalc.ca
Committee Chair George Drazenovich says after listening to the candidates' responses they'll make sure to push the government in the next term to keep their promises.
'We have this now on record. So, whatever party comes into office, they're pledging certain things, they're putting it on paper. We will certainly be there to hold them to account for the issues they have pledged to address' he said.
Drazenovich says he's pleased with the response from the candidates and while they're aware of the issues, they need to make it a higher priority in Thunder Bay.
With the provincial election less than a week away, the Economic Justice Committee released its latest report called Poverty in Thunder Bay: Rich Conversations with the Poor on Thursday and is encouraging area residents and local candidates to think about the less fortunate, the impoverished people that live in Thunder Bay. Stats Canada showed that 14 per cent of the population in the area, or specifically 16,790 people survived in 2000 on a low income and that food costs in the city, are about $60 higher per month than the provincial average. A full time, minimum wage job brings home an income for instance, that is $4,174 shy of the poverty line.
The report shows local poverty rates, the increasing cost of food and barriers low-income people suffer with and how people feel about being poor. The committee is asking people to vote to end poverty and to choose the party they feel will improve the current situation of those living with very little.
Tracy Hurlbert lives on ODSP, the Ontario Disability Support Program. She has multiple disabilities and isn't able to work and it's a challenge to live on what she receives. Hurlbert says she struggles to pay phone bills, buy clothing and food. The government needs to increase their long-term pensions she says, to match the cost of living as well as supports for those who are able to work to help them get a job.
''For the little bit of money that you put out to give them a raise, so that they can get a job, you get all that money back when they get a job, they start paying their taxes, and stuff like that - they get it all back. And even people on disability, if I don't wind up in the hospital, because I was cold all Winter, that's money saved, just because you gave me enough money to buy a jacket.''
The report is available online.