According to me…..

Posts tagged ‘do the math’

Giving Dwight Duncan the LOVE!

This Valentines day we are all sending Dwight Duncan a lovely valentine to show him our love!!!  For all he has done to support and help folks that live in poverty, while he lives high on the hog.

Grab yourself a valentine!  You can copy and paste to an email, or download using the link below each picture!  The more the merrier!!

They can be printed off and mailed so that you can add to them… pasted on his office windows..get creative!

Let’s make sure on Feb 14th that he feels all our love!




And this final version – print it off and write what you like on it… mail it?


Dear Honourable Duncan:

Poverty is bad for our health and bad for the economy.  Welfare (OW) and Disability (ODSP) income support programs do not provide enough money for people to be able to eat a healthy diet and to live with dignity. A single person cannot live on a maximum of $592/month. A poor diet  and  the stress caused by not having enough money to make ends meet leads to much higher rates of heart disease, diabetes and many other health problems. Poverty costs our health care system about $2.9 billion annually.

In this budget, do something to change this situation. Ontario does not need to have corporate tax rates 15% below the American rate by 2013. We do need you to Put Food in the Budget! Allocate funds so the government can immediately introduce a $100 Healthy Food Supplement for all adults on social assistance.




Hon. Dwight Duncan, M.P.P (Windsor-Tecumseh)
Constituency Office
2825 Lauzon Parkway [map]
Suite #211
Windsor ON N8T 3H5

Phone: 519-251-5199
Fax: 519-251-5299

If you wish to contact Hon. Dwight Duncan as the Minister of Finance

The Honourable Dwight Duncan – Minister of Finance and Chair of Management Board of Cabinet
7 Queen’s Park Crescent
7th floor
Toronto, ON, M7A 1Y7
Phone: (416) 325-0400
Fax: (416) 325-0374
E-mail:, or visit


What Does it Mean to Me?

I’ve been asked to speak at the rally on November 15th.  Put Food in the Budget and The Stop are holding a rally to wrap up the October Do the Math Challenge.  We are going to have speakers and music and someone is creating a slide show.  There were 350 people last year, so I’m really nervous and not sure yet that I can do it. LOL  I’m sure I’ll pass out and die..right there… :S

I’ve been asked to speak to the question of *what this campaign means to me*.

I’m on Social Assistance, so that makes me an expert on this topic.  No one can survive on the amount of money you are given on social assistance, so local services become very important.  I discovered that location is everything.  I recently moved to Scarborough.  I was living downtown.  I used to walk to a church winter program called *Out of the Cold*.  We would make breakfast each morning through the week and dinner on weekend nights.  I can no longer access these services as I would need $6.00 for each trip and I would have to travel long before 6 am.  The bus service here doesn’t start until 6:45.  I would go and eat and they often handed out food to take home.  I can’t go to any of the food banks or drop ins that I used to use because they are based on your address.  These are the reasons I had food before my move.

I got involved with South Riverdale Community Health Centre a year ago.  We created a group called the Health and Strength Action Group.   I started volunteering there because Social Assistance gives you an additional $100.00 if you can prove you volunteer somewhere.  It’s supposed to be for transportation – for a metro pass that costs more than $100.00, but I use it for food.  I was skeptical when I first joined.  Yes, it all sounded good in theory – the fact that all humans have rights and should be allowed to eat, to have dignity, and health so I decided to stick with it.  I used to feel ashamed of being on social assistance.  If anyone asked where I worked I would tell them and quickly change the topic, avoiding eye contact, avoiding the scornful look that was sure to follow.  I know that people think recipients are lazy, living off the system, and they have no desire to work – I even believed it.  My self confidence, self esteem and self worth didn’t exist.  In the beginning I was embarrassed to talk about this campaign.  I thought I had no right to ask for the things we were demanding.

Since then I’ve been to rallies, handed out fliers, put up posters, attended meetings, spoken and sang in public, and I’ve listened.  I’ve listened to all the people that now surround me and they are saying I have a right to eat a healthy diet.  They are telling me that I’m a person and I count.  I was at the first Do the Math report back, at the Barns, last year and to say that my eyes have since been opened is an understatement.  In the year that has passed I truly understand how diet plays a key role in your mental and physical health.  Watching the Do the Math Challenge unfold this time around has been astounding.  Being involved in this campaign I have seen the changes, the solidarity and growing support, and I’ve seen opinions and misconceptions shift toward empathy and understanding once knowledge is gained about the harsh reality of trying to survive on social assistance.  All of Ontario is saying the same things that I’ve been hearing all year!  Imagine, it might just be true!  Living on Social Assistance doesn’t have to be so painful and people in over 20 communities in and around Toronto will tell you that this is the case!  The government would have us believe there is no money for feeding the people that vote them into office, or that they would have to choose between programs and someone else would have to do without.  Apparently it isn’t important that you have strong, confident, healthy citizens that can contribute to society.  The people don’t agree.

Being a part of this campaign means that I can hold my head up.  I don’t feel ashamed and I believe with every fiber of my being that all people deserve food.  It’s a basic right.  I know I’m not alone anymore, and I walk with my self respect, my self esteem and my self worth in tact.  I walk with all the people who are involved in this campaign, the people that are fighting for change.  It gives me strength and confidence to know that people actually care.   It took years for people to build up these biased notions of people wanting to be on assistance because it’s easier than working and it may take just as long to reverse this thinking and bring about change, but change is what we need because people are starving.  Ask yourself if you could survive on $585.00 a month, take the math challenge, then try to look me in the eye and honestly say everything is ok.

What this campaign means to me is that people will be able to eat, they will be able to make healthy choices for their diets.  It means that food banks will no longer be a necessity to survival.  Winning this campaign means that we can all hold our heads high.  I’m proud to be a part of this fight and I demand change.  I also hope there’s no need to hold another rally next year!

Put Food in the Budget!

Queen’s Park – Sooo Classy! NOT.

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.



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.

DTM Scarb.

So yesterday we went to the deep dark depths of Scarberia. lol

We went to a centre called The Storefront Scarborough / Residents Rising – they provide all sorts of great resources for their community.  We presented them with the Do The Math tool – between the entire room, we came up with a minimum of 1500.00 a month for one person to live a healthy, dignified life – not luxurious, lol…. just rent, food, transportation, etc.  No extras.  A person on the system get 591.00 – so they start out each month 900.00 in the hole.  It was a really great meeting – we all learned something.  They already have some terrific services so what we do fits right in with them!  They have gardens for folks to grow their own fresh food, and a market – they’ve also been very involved in the TTC battles.  Pretty much everything we are involved in.  It was a great experience – meeting people that are fighting for the same thing – makes it more global – as opposed to just doing our own local things. 🙂

CP 24 Links!

Check this out…CP 24 has some great links!

Do the Math AND The Stop!

CP24 Links!

CP24 Links!

Click the picture to go visit!!

A poor excuse for a food allowance

A poor excuse for a food allowance

The Stop delivers a shot to the gut with its Do The Math campaign

By Corey Mintz Columnist

This is the best carrot I will ever eat. What’s special about it is that I’m hungry and it’s the only vegetable available to me. I ate my other carrot yesterday.

It’s my third day of the Do the Math campaign, an initiative by The Stop Community Food Centre, asking participants to eat only what’s provided in one of its food hampers. The goal of the campaign, which began in August, is to highlight the inadequacy of provincial funding for the food portion of social assistance.

To read more from the Toronto Star, click here!

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