By ANTONELLA ARTUSO,
Queen’s Park Bureau Chief
Ontario anti-poverty activists are pushing the provincial government to invest in a $100-a-month healthy food supplement for social assistance recipients.
At a “Put Food in the Budget” rally Thursday in front of the Queen’s Park building that houses the finance ministry, dozens of activists called for the measure to be included in the upcoming spring budget.
Anglican Bishop Linda Nicholls, speaking on behalf of 80 parishes representing over 30,000 Anglicans, said the deficit-plagued government doesn’t have to necessarily spend more but rather should adjust its priorities to ensure the poor have enough to eat.
An estimated 400,000 Ontarians rely on food banks, both those who are on social assistance and the working poor.
Nicholls said she was one of many prominent Ontarians who attempted to live on the “poverty diet” provided by food banks.
“I was shocked at how quickly within a day or two you began to feel not well. No fresh fruit. No fresh vegetables,” Nicholls said.
Tracy Mead, a social assistance recipient and member of the South Riverdale Health and Strength Action Group in Toronto, said the support payments don’t go far enough to buy fresh food.
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Laurie Monsebraaten Social Justice Reporter
Back in 1995, the opposition Liberals scorned the Mike Harris government’s so-called “welfare diet,” which purported to show that a single person on social assistance could eat for $90 a month.
Today that meagre Tory shopping list — which included pasta but no sauce and bread but no butter — costs $48 more. And yet since the Liberals took office in 2003, a single able-bodied person on welfare gets just $29 more in their monthly cheque for food.
“It’s no wonder food bank use in Ontario is soaring,” said social policy expert John Stapleton, who used the 1995 shopping list to buy the welfare diet at a Scarborough discount grocery store in January.
It is one more reason anti-poverty activists across the province are calling on Finance Minister Dwight Duncan to put a $100 monthly food supplement for welfare recipients in this spring’s provincial budget.
On Thursday, the Toronto Anglican Diocese is highlighting the need at a Queen’s Park rally. About 80 area parishes, representing more than 30,000 Anglicans, are backing the call for the Liberals to “put food in the budget.” They will be joined by food activists from other faiths and representatives from 30 other Ontario communities who are also concerned about rising hunger across the province.
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The day was wet but we were not discouraged! The finance minister, Dwight Duncan did agree to meet with a couple of people and has agreed to a future meeting with some key people from the Anglican church and Put Food in the Budget!
The Speakers at the Rally!
Michael Prue – NDP
Cheri DiNovo – NDP
Emma Frees – The Stop
Tracy Mead – Health and Strength Action Group
Elin Goulden – Anglican Church
The Rt. Rev. Linda Nicholls- Anglican Church
Rev Andrea Budgey- Anglican Church
Valentine’s for Dwight Duncan Day: On February 14th at 11:15 in the morning a cherubic delegation delivered almost 300 Valentines to Andrew Chornenky, Press Secretary to Dwight Duncan. We know that over the course of the day Finance Minister Duncan received several hundred more (over 1100) and acknowledged these in a post on Dwight Duncan’s Blog. You will see there are many additional comments on the blog responding to Dwight Duncan. Please add yours! If you click here you can see Susan Bender presenting the Valentines on behalf of the delegation. At the very end you can see Emma Frees point out to Andrew the negative health consequences of poverty.
Mike Balkwill reading an email from Amy McPherson, Amy MacPherson, Founder, Executive Director, Wasaga Cares, regarding Put Food in the Budget
Yes, I’m going back a bit, but I’ve fallen behind in posting – so I’m going to get all caught up now… thank you Dreamwalker for the push! lol 🙂
Put Food in the Budget Rally November 15th, 2010 – Opening remarks from Mike Balkwill.
Rally to Put Food in the Budget – Speakers
Rally to Put Food in the Budget – Speakers, Part II
The %100.00 Choir!
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)
2825 Lauzon Parkway [map]
Windsor ON N8T 3H5
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
Toronto, ON, M7A 1Y7
Phone: (416) 325-0400
Fax: (416) 325-0374
E-mail: email@example.com, or visit www.fin.gov.on.ca
CLICK HERE TO LEAVE HIM A VALENTINES ON HIS FACEBOOK!