So I had my first experience with “Question Period” on Monday…. we went to Queen’s Park to do a press release. It was all very exciting. The four speakers were fantastic! Archbishop Colin Johnson spoke first, then Nadia from Bread and Bricks. She was followed by a woman, Diana Stapleton – she runs the Weston food bank, and last Fred Hahn from CUPE…. I’m so glad they did it in this order. Starting with Colin was starting with the common sense angle… then we hit the personal. Then moved on to the fact that food banks are not the problem… they are doing their best but can only stock items that will last… and last up, Fred Hahn – and he got the spirit and umph going.
After the press conference we all went to Question Period where Michael Prue asked the Speaker about Putting Food in the Budget and the opposition just babbled about other things until the time was up…rather discouraging. It’s no bloody wonder nothing ever gets done in that room… it’s ludicrous, they just yell over one another, cat call at the other side of the room, no one actually listens. Kids in grade one act with better behaviour. Not very encouraging, and rather disgusting. If you are so inclined I’ve attached the Hansard….
And they have kids running notes back and forth for them. They call them pages. Frig me… what era are we living in? It’s supposed to be quite a coup to get this position. Yes, teach the children young to treat the youth like little slaves and to fight amongst yourselves. Shame.
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ONTARIO
ASSEMBLÉE LÉGISLATIVE DE L’ONTARIO
Monday 4 October 2010 Lundi 4 octobre 2010
Mr. Michael Prue: My question is to the Premier. Five NDP caucus members, including myself, are supporting the Put Food in the Budget campaign and will live on one bag of food-bank food for the week. We are doing this to understand the hardship faced by thousands of Ontarians who have to survive on social assistance rates as low as $2 a day. Even government members agree that rates are inadequate.
Will the Premier join us this week and live on a food-bank diet to better understand the utter inadequacy of social assistance rates in this province?
Hon. Dalton McGuinty: To the Minister of Children and Youth Services.
Hon. Laurel C. Broten: I’m pleased to stand and speak to this issue and I was pleased to stand beside my Premier last week as we launched the campaign at Daily Bread Food Bank for their Thanksgiving food drive. I congratulate the Daily Bread Food Bank, which has worked in my home community for many, many years.
We’re absolutely committed to combating poverty in Ontario. We thank all the community partners, the poverty reduction advocates and everyone who continues to raise issues. I’ve had an opportunity myself to go on to the Do the Math website. What I say to the member opposite is that it highlights the need for the work that our government has been doing already through our poverty reduction strategy.
We took a bold step. We introduced the poverty reduction strategy, where we outlined a plan to reduce the number of kids living in poverty by 25% by 2013. We have a plan and the plan is working despite these tough economic times and despite the lack of support from the—
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. Supplementary?
Mr. Michael Prue: I had asked the Premier whether he’d go on the diet. Perhaps the minister can answer that, too.
Social assistance rates have fallen by about 30% since 1994. Recipients are forced to rely on food bank handouts to try to get through the month, yet the McGuinty government refuses to acknowledge that it is impossible to live a healthy life on their inadequate social assistance rates. The government provides a child benefit, but cuts the special diet allowance and claws back basic assistance so recipients are never, never better off.
Why won’t this minister, this Premier and the cabinet join me and my colleagues and live on a welfare diet for just one week?
Hon. Laurel C. Broten: On this side of the House, we’re about taking positive action steps to help Ontarians living in poverty. On the opposite side of the House, they’re a lot of talk.
We accelerated the phase-in of the OCB two full years ahead of schedule and they voted against it. We introduced full-day kindergarten for four- and five-year-olds. We’ve ensured tax fairness for low-income families, removing 90,000 low-income Ontarians off the tax rolls, and they voted against it. They voted against our six increases to social assistance rates. They voted against our creation of 22,000 new affordable child care spaces. They voted against stabilizing the rent bank. They voted against raising the minimum wage. They voted against 90,000 low-income Ontarians off the tax rolls.
We’re taking positive steps. We have a strong plan. We’re committed to reducing child poverty in this province. We take steps every day, and we’d like to see actual support from the party opposite—
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. New question.