Adding Another Count to the Fiefdom Indictment 

© 2008 Brad Kempo B.A. LL.B.

Barrister & Solicitor 


A compelling case can be made the country’s rich, powerful and Chinese monopolized the economy and plundered wealth not caring they were inflicting not only pain and suffering on millions of Canadians, but also behaved in such a wanton and reckless manner in how they governed that their conduct led to premature death in tens if not hundreds of thousands of instances.  


The contrast couldn’t be more stark.  The municipality of West Vancouver has the highest or one of the highest per capita incomes in the country.  Vancouver’s ‘Downtown East Side’ has the lowest.  The disparity between the richest neighborhood and the poorest is a contrast that can only find its genesis in the ideology of the ruling elite and Chinese de facto governance.  It is a reminder of what the monopolization of wealth and opportunity and wholesale plunder can do to a country and many of its citizens.  The Downtown East Side is a travesty; all three levels of government deciding not to deal effectively with the gut wrenching poverty; and instead gentrify the neighborhood, forcing people with no place to go into an ever smaller space of hopelessness and despair. 



What is the Downtown lower east side in terms of Fiefdom treatise analyses?  It is nothing short of being the depraved indifference murder capital of Canada.   The monopolizing and plundering rich and their foreign allies chose to line their pockets with the country’s vast richest rather than allow democratic principles of trickle down economics and fairness and equity to rule federal, provincial and municipal government policy making.  Instead of showing a sense of humanity to their Canadian hosts the Chinese enthusiastically procured yet another generation of economically disenfranchising individuals and aboriginals – causing a life of poverty, homelessness, unemployment, disease, mental illness and a slow, painful and early death.  



This area of downtown Vancouver referred to as Hell’s Alley or the War Zone by almost everyone from politicians to police has a population of over 16,000 permanent residents all crammed into a small eight square block area. Of these 6,000 are needle users, over 30% have AIDS or are HIV Positive and a staggering 80% plus have hepatitis C. […]  [T]his is a very dangerous and volatile area where fights are common place and murders and drug overdose deaths abound! 


Source: Skid Road Revival, June 30, 2002, by Len Lindstrom 



The health status of residents of the Downtown Eastside community of Vancouver is among the worst in Canada. The population is at very high risk for communicable diseases because of the sex trade and the high incidence of poverty, drug dependency, mental illness, and low education levels. As a result, this community is in the midst of epidemics of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, tuberculosis, and syphilis. Aboriginal people are at greater risk than white people for all these diseases, and they are less likely to be on therapy for HIV disease or their drug addiction. […]  The clinic was notified of 38 deaths in 1999. The leading causes of death were complications of HIV/AIDS (34%) and overdose (29%). The median age at death for all causes was 38 years. The median age at death due to overdose was 35 years, versus 41 years for HIV/ AIDS 

Source: British Columbia Medical Association 


British Columbia Hansard 

March 20, 1980

Mr. Emery Barnes (NDP): 


Mr. Matijevich was a resident of the downtown east side, one of the most under-represented, least-considered communities in our province. It's a bottom-of the-road, under-the-carpet community, one of the places where politicians feel safe in escaping their responsibilities to citizens who have, for perhaps no reason of their own, found themselves without resources, means or opportunities to pull themselves up by the bootstraps, as is commonly suggested by those people who have been successful in this competitive society of ours. 


This is submitted by Mr. Bruce Eriksen, the president of [the Downtown Eastside Residents Association], requesting these funds be applied in the interest that Mr. Matijevich intended them: "In the downtown east side of Vancouver there are thousands of recluses, elderly people, former miners, loggers, fishermen, construction workers, etc., who are spending the balance of their lives shut up in small cockroach- and vermin-infested rooms just as Dan Matijevich did when he was living here.  



Parliamentary Hansard 

April 28, 1999

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):  


When I was first elected in the riding of Vancouver East in 1997, the first event I attended, before I actually arrived in the House of Commons, was a very tragic community gathering in Oppenheimer Park. The neighbourhood people, who were very concerned about the number of deaths from drug overdoses, had gathered to put up 1,000 crosses in the small park in the middle of this very low income community on the east side of downtown Vancouver. The 1,000 crosses were put up to represent the very tragic lives and deaths of people who had died from drug overdoses. 


I have the sad duty to report that in British Columbia the leading cause of death now for men and women between the ages of 30 and 44 is actually from drug overdoses. In fact, in 1998 the number of people who died from drug overdoses was 371, which is an astounding number when one thinks about it. 


Institutionalized Depraved Indifference to Human Life

in the Last Democratic Fiefdom  

© 2004 Brad Kempo B.A. LL.B.

Barrister & Solicitor 


What if an invisible elite operated a western democratic government like a puppet leading to countless tens of thousands dieing in the streets and alleyways?  The 1990s was a fiscally responsible decade – the Chrétien government ran budget surpluses seven years in a row.  But the true facts emerged proving how much corruption was the root cause of shortages affecting the employment challenged, the country’s youth, the medically incapacitated, battered women, children living in social assistance environments, and the most forgotten: the perpetually impoverished. 


It is therefore in the bleak, cold and dark corners of cities like Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver and aboriginal communities where social nihilism is rampant and addiction kills regularly that the culpability for a form of institutionalized depraved indifference murder finds its rational grounding.  The trans-generational elite sucked the economic lifeblood out of the nation – hundreds of billions every year over successive decades not caring their victims were the weakest and most vulnerable. 



The case of The People v. Gonzales [March 2004, New York Court of Appeals, Kaye C.J.] states:



“A defendant is guilty of depraved indifference murder in the second degree when "[u]nder circumstances evincing a depraved indifference to human life, he recklessly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to another person, and thereby causes the death of another person". 


"A person acts recklessly with respect to a result or to a circumstance described by a statute defining an offense when he is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that such result will occur or that such circumstance exists. The risk must be of such nature and degree that disregard thereof constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation". 


“Depraved indifference murder differs from intentional murder in that it results not from a specific, conscious intent to cause death, but from an indifference to or disregard of the risks attending defendant's conduct. 


“Depraved indifference murder does not mean an extremely, even heinously, intentional killing. Rather, it involves a killing in which the defendant does not have a conscious objective to cause death but instead is recklessly indifferent, depravedly so, to whether death occurs.” 


"To rise to the level of depraved indifference, the reckless conduct must be " 'so wanton, so deficient in a moral sense of concern, so devoid of regard of the life or lives of others, and so blameworthy as to warrant the same criminal liability as that which the law imposes upon a person who intentionally causes the death of another' (People v Russell, 91 NY2d 280, 287 [1998], quoting People v Fenner, 61 NY2d 971, 973 [1984]).”  


The analysis and proof there was never any intention on the part of federal and provincial governments to equitably distribute this country’s vast wealth was the same for poverty as it was for the economic genocide of Canada’s aboriginals: the government of the day makes bold statements of intention on the record which prove to be empty rhetoric in due course because of a lack of results.  During this time the opposition party complains loud and long about systemic inequities and failures. When the opposition eventually takes power, it makes the same promises but is later seen to have abandoned and repudiated that which they criticized when on the powerless side of the isle – thus in the final analysis also perceived to have totally abdicated its public interest responsibilities.



The starting point during the research project was the parliamentary and legislative record, plus the 1989 joint resolution of the House to end child poverty – which turned out to be more democracy façade generation and a disingenuous and pathetic public relations stunt. 



The following is a truncated compilation of the research conducted to prove the charge of institutionalized depraved indifference murder.


Canada’s Parliamentarians: They Said That?! – Poverty Issues 

© 2007 Brad Kempo B.A. LL.B.

Barrister & Solicitor 


To continue the process of demonstrating that Canada’s ruling elite cannot and are not entitled to govern, this chapter compiles statements made in Parliament that are revealed through the Fiefdom treatise prism to be false, empty and self-serving because of subsequent evidence which proves them intentionally misleading. 


These remarks, statements and opinions reveal how illogical, irrational, irresponsible, insensitive, duty-void, self-interested, ideologically parochial, accusatory, blame-deflecting, gratuitous, disingenuous and outright bizarre their thinking processes are.  Individually and collectively they prove they should be purged from power and held to account for intentionally advancing the interests of the invisibly wealthy and Chinese.  



Parliament Hansard


January 28, 1994


Mr. Ronald J. Duhamel (St. Boniface, Lib.):


Mr. Speaker, the city of Winnipeg has the highest percentage of low income households in western Canada. Twelve thousand households use food banks every month, almost three times as many as in 1990. Unfortunately there has been a collective growth in the number of people using food banks across the country.


More than 60 per cent of single-parent families live below the poverty line. We know full well that children who live in such miserable conditions are unable to realize their full potential in school and are more likely to contract infectious diseases.


While the two-pronged approach to job creation offered by the government's platform as well as other specific programs is not a panacea, it will address this lamentable situation and boost the standard of living of thousands of Canadians currently living below the poverty line. Only through the creation of jobs will the quality of life improve for these unfortunate Canadians.


January 31, 1994


Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification, Lib.):


This is exactly what Canadians have elected the Liberal Party, this side, this government, to do and that is precisely what we are going to do. Whether you live in Newfoundland with your problems, in Manitoba with your problems, Saskatchewan, Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, it does not matter. We are concerned, and certainly with the Northwest Territories and certainly with our aboriginal people, and we have a global view of society. That is how this government intends to allow us to bring this change; it is through consultation, through transparency, without dogma, without dictation, but with an open heart, an open ear, to effect the changes that the Canadian people want for themselves.




Far too many children live in poverty. There are 1.1 million Canadians below the age of 12 who are considered to be living in poverty. One of Canada's great embarrassments and shames is that the United Nations itself in its UNICEF report called Canada into question for not doing enough for its children. Is that a reason to defend the existing system? No. It is a reason to begin to put our best energies and resources and ideas into how to deal with the nurturing and nourishment of our children, to give them a better place to live and a better start in life.


We have a generation of young people who cannot find meaningful work, who find it increasingly difficult to make their transition from the formal school place into the world of work. Unemployment rates are close to 18 per cent for those in the age bracket of 18 to 25. It was interesting to watch the consultations under the guidance of the Minister of Finance, to look at what is now called the generation x problem. It is no longer simply a question of the old shibboleths of left and right, business and labour, or rich and poor.


I heard those millions of young people saying to the rest of us: “You have your social security programs, you have your pensions, you have all that you need to give you a certain security, but we do not.'' They are tired of part-time work. They are tired of being told that their education does not count any more. They are beginning to say: “If you are going to invest, invest in us, invest in the future, invest in people, that is what we want this government to do''.


Our country is increasingly divided between those with well-paying, secure and interesting jobs and those with part-time and low-paid intermittent work. We have a society where, to use an analogy, there are people who are able to drive stretch limousines with the windows blacked out in order to ignore the homelessness around them. It is time we stopped that car, opened the doors and brought all Canadians into moving ahead, to give everybody a good ride into the future, not just an exclusive group. That is what this review intends to do.


The message is that we must invest in people to create hope, not dependency. We must recognize that investment in people is the key to both our economic and social renewal. Those who divide and categorize policy saying: “That is economic over there, and that is social over there, and the bleeding hearts can worry about one side of the spectrum and the hard-nosed realists the other'', is not the kind of world we live in.


I refer again to the kinds of views which are coming out of the consultations the Minister of Finance has been holding. How many times have we heard in those sessions that if we are going to be productive, if we are going to be competitive, if we are going to be able to meet global challenges, then we must make use of every single human being in this country. We must bring out the best in our talent. We must bring out the best in our brains. We must make sure that a country of 27 million people does not leave one person on the sidelines. Every person must give their best and it is up to the Government of Canada to open those doors for them.


That is why we need to make a change, not piecemeal, not ad hoc, not chipping away or tinkering with one program or another. We have to understand that it is systematic. They link. They connect. They merge. There is a synergy of programs. It is time for us to look at how we can better design those programs to meet the problems Canada faces today.


Let me set out two goals for our action plan. First we must clearly confront the issues facing us: long-term structural unemployment even in times of growth; the impact of accelerated technological change on our labour market and training systems; unacceptably high drop out rates and illiteracy levels and skills shortages; the unrealized potential of a generation of youth with diminishing opportunities; and a mindset in the business world that decides that down-sizing and job fretting is the way to solve problems rather than making better use of workers and providing new opportunities for new workers.


There is also poverty, especially among children; a lack of training and work for young people; tensions between new family structures and the demands of work; duplication of government programs; and the limited financial ability of governments.


Over the coming weeks this Parliament will be listening to Canadians. We will ask them to help define the issues and set priorities.


The first part of our judgment is to open our minds and our hearts to what people want us to do. That period will last six weeks to two months. We will scope out together the nature of the exercise and the objectives we will ask Canadians to meet.


In the second phase the action plan will propose clear options for change. I give them to you not as an exhaustive list but ones that I believe are key: to meet basic labour market adjustments and insurance requirements; to restructure parts of the unemployment insurance program and Canada Assistance Plan to create a new form of employment insurance; to help people make that crucial transition from school to work by providing a range of options and training, apprenticeship community service and work; broadening our educational and training assistance to support life-long learning; enhance support and care of our children in society; to redefine the distribution of work and rules of the workplace; to ensure that individuals with disabilities can achieve equality, independence and full participation; to seek a much better balance between incentives for job creation and payroll tax levels; to ensure basic security for those in need; and to redefine responsibilities between governments and strengthen co-operative arrangements and to achieve savings through greater efficiency; and to design new smarter ways to deliver services and avoid duplication.


That is not a complete list. Canadians will have the opportunity to react to these proposals and introduce other ideas, other notions, other directions.


Canadians, provincial governments and all interested groups will be able to propose changes. There will have to be extensive public discussions and continued interaction with provincial and territorial governments. That phase should be completed by early fall. We will then move to legislation for a new employment and social security system in Canada.


To carry out this task I am announcing the following process and propose following: First, I am tabling the motion that is before the House today asking this Chamber to direct the soon to be formed standing committee on human resources development to begin a two-stage examination of the proposed reforms.


The first stage will last until April. Canadians will be given the chance to express views, hopes and concerns about social security in the job market. This will form an important part of the preparation of the actual proposals.


The second stage will begin in April. The government will present action plans setting out the options and choices. Committees will then consider those in the second stage, working through the summer until September using the widest possible means of public dialogue: the parliamentary channel, weekend conferences, whatever means they can to engage Canadians in this important exercise.


The third stage of parliamentary action will take place when it examines the specific legislation we hope to introduce this fall. There will be three different distinct phases in which this Parliament will act as the forum in which Canadians can become involved and feel that they are engaged in restructuring this country.


All these governments are our partners. Several provinces have already begun the reform exercise. These provinces have shown a desire to co-operate. For example, before Christmas, all first ministers at the meeting agreed on social reform. We must work together constructively so that changes at the federal level complement those at the provincial level.


This partnership of working with us in Parliament is essential. The provinces have already become the incubators for social reform in this country. They have been waiting for the federal government over the past several years to show leadership and to give a definition at the national level so that they can tailor their programs and needs according to their regional requirements but based upon a sound base of national support, national standards and national interest. We must mesh our efforts in a combined, collaborative way. We will begin that exercise at the meeting of federal and provincial ministers on February 14.


In addition to these discussions with the provinces, we want to work with them in establishing a series of agreements, joint ventures and projects to test new approaches to unemployment insurance and training assistance. This will all be designed to avoid duplication, to achieve savings, to improve performance and to test out new ideas.


To do this it may be necessary to come back to Parliament early in the session in order to alter the Unemployment Insurance Act and the Canada Assistance Plan to provide authority for such innovative federal and provincial collaborations, a request the provinces have been making for the past two years.


We also want to engage key sectors of society in developing their own proposals and views. Business, labour, equity groups, organizations and social community organizations in the private and voluntary sectors will be invited to participate, as will the existing government advisory groups: the Canadian Labour Force Development Board, the Canadian Labour Market Productivity Centre, the National Council of Welfare, and the National Advisory Council of Women, to name just a few.


We will assist those groups in society that would not otherwise have the resources to contribute fully to the process. We will be making available parts of our grants and contributions programs to those groups needing that assistance so they can fully participate in this activity.


In addition to those phases, a thorough study of the distribution of work and the rules of the workplace will be undertaken in co-operation with labour and business. We have already received requests from these sectors and will be setting up a special group to work with them.


It is clear there are too few jobs. The Minister of Finance is working on expanding those opportunities. However, the challenge lies not only in the number of jobs but also in their distribution. Sharing of work is becoming one of the most important public policy concerns around the world. We will be undertaking that study in concert with the kind of work I have just outlined.


A new definition of work is needed to correspond to changes in the labour market and to meet new family structures and new family needs.


I take the opportunity to invite all interested organizations and associations to participate in this process and to send me briefs, studies and comments.




Mr. David Chatters (Athabasca, Ref.):


One in five children live in poor families. That is over one million children. If we do nothing for fear of interfering with the agenda of other people and maintain the status quo, we are in a sense betraying the mandate we have been given. We are in a sense betraying the trust we have been given to rebuild hope and rebuild opportunities for those people.


Many are children of sole parents, mostly single mothers or teenage mothers who are caught in the poverty trap, dependent on social welfare without any opportunity to progress. Many young people with no education, no jobs and no future are turning to destructive social acts with harmful consequences for all Canadians. Schools, malls and neighbourhoods are dealing with gang violence and youth crime.


Reality is not a pretty picture. Reality is something we are grappling with, something we are prepared to work with, something worth taking a risk for, something to stick our necks for. That is the reality of many of these young and poor Canadians.


Young people are involved in robberies for clothing and other essentials. The link between economic hardship and crime is well known. Young people are bored, looking for an escape, anything to kill time. Some turn to drugs and alcohol for comfort. Some end up homeless on the streets.


The RCMP have a file of 41,000 missing children. They are not all missing. Some have joined the under-class of society. They end up on welfare, some of them locked in for life. We need to break the cycle of dependence. Young people all over the country are hurting. We cannot allow our young people to wallow in abject poverty and grow up in dead-end situations.




Mr. Maurizio Bevilacqua (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.):


I am sure, know constituents in our own ridings who are suffering: children who are poor and going to school hungry; young men and women with no jobs and no prospects; families trying to support both young children and aging parents; single parents seemingly trapped on social assistance; workers who have spent half of a lifetime in an industry that is now dying; other workers with skills nobody wants any more; people in our inner cities oppressed by poverty and despair. These are people in our own neighbourhoods, on every avenue, crescent, road in our political ridings, whether it is mine in York North, or Montreal or Vancouver. These are people who are suffering, who are asking the federal government for action. We have a responsibility, as we do to all Canadians, to bring back hope, to bring back a sense of dignity to the lives of those people and their children.


Altogether there are millions of citizens who are not benefiting from our present so-called safety net.


It is evident to me that the safety net is full of holes. Restoring employment as the key concern of the government requires a complete overhaul of our existing programs. We must examine, analyse and reform unemployment insurance, training and employment programs, social assistance and income security, aid to education and learning, labour practices and rules affecting the workplace, taxes and premiums that affect job creation, management of programs in government and between governments, and delivery of services.


Our purpose is to renew, revitalize, re-invigorate the government's role in advancing the prosperity and security of all Canadians.


It must foster creative new linkages, eliminate disincentives, seek efficiencies, organize by mission, organize by vision rather than by bureaucratic mandate. We must, at the end of the day, improve spending efficiencies by monitoring the results of those programs. That is fundamental to accountability in our system.



To those who insist that the objective is simply to cut costs, I simply must say to them that they are wrong. The present system is not working. People understand that. People understand that young people are having problems in the transition period between school to work. People on social assistance understand that there are disincentives to once again getting back into the workplace.


Everywhere I go throughout this country people are telling me that what they really want is an opportunity for a job. The high school dropout wants a vehicle of opportunity so that he can return to the workplace, and the older worker whose job has been eliminated because of globalization or downsizing, call it what you want, wants a vehicle of opportunity too. He does not like to sit at home. What he is saying to us is, please, give us something; give us something we can hope for. That person who is sitting there waiting for this opportunity to knock also has a son and a daughter whose prospects are not any better.


I think that in this House we must do some soul searching. We must look within ourselves and find the inner strength to face change, to provide this country with the type of change that Canadians called for on October 25.


We can perhaps fight for the status quo, as the leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition stated earlier this morning. But let me tell you, that is not the mandate we on this side received. People told us they wanted change, they wanted reform. We have a responsibility not only to react to what the public wants, but also to take a leadership role that has been missing for far too many years in the House of Commons.


Why change? The evidence is there, for all of us to see: chronic long-term unemployment; too high levels of illiteracy; one million children living in poverty; an entire generation of young men and women without employment. We are still asking ourselves, why change?


The time to move is now. We have no time to waste. The high school dropout who needs a vehicle of opportunity needs it today. Tomorrow is too far away.


Our nation is fast becoming two Canadas: one comprising the secure and well-paid, the other containing those with part-time, low-paid, intermittent work. It is the type of polarization that I spoke about when I was employment critic of my party and I was occupying your seat. I said then and I will repeat today that no one has benefited from nine years of Conservative trickle-down economics. Nobody has. We have divided a nation on economic terms. We have denied people opportunity. The days when working hard and playing by the rules meant reward are long gone. Well, this government will restore those days, and this government will bring back hope to so many Canadians who are today hopeless.


We are living in very stressful, discouraging, dispirited times. This type of feeling is evident with our young people as it is with our older people. It is evident in every sector of our society. Discussions around kitchen tables are not about getting up in the morning and looking forward to tomorrow with confidence. They are about whether or not there will be a job waiting for them tomorrow. It is about reading about downsizing, about trickle-down economics, about young people who have lost hope. That has to change. This is the type of dialogue that I hope Canadians will engage in.


February 1, 1994


Hon. Audrey McLaughlin (Yukon, NDP):


Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak in this very important debate today. I have over the past couple of years had a number of meetings with my constituents in the Yukon during which we have discussed details of a budget and what kind of society and what kind of Canada we want to live in.  [...]  Regarding the resolution this House took unanimously in 1989 to eliminate poverty by the year 2000, I hope the House will rededicate itself to that goal and this budget will be the beginning of that.




Mr. Nick Discepola (Vaudreuil, Lib.):


The unemployment rate, especially among young people, has reached unacceptable levels, and the percentage of families living below the poverty line is climbing steadily. It is high time we got back to basics. We have to learn to live within our means, to respect every dollar that is earned and do more with much less. Our government's aims and objectives are well known. We want to encourage economic growth and job creation, we want to protect those who cannot protect themselves and above all we want to reduce the deficit. How to tackle the challenge? It is important not to go in for stop-gap, temporary solutions. On the contrary: our approach must be balanced, rapid and complete. And above all we must take care not to hurt the burgeoning economic recovery.


February 2, 1994


Hon. Audrey McLaughlin (Yukon):


moved for leave to introduce Bill C-209, an act to provide for full employment in Canada.  She said: Madam Speaker, I am delighted to table this bill today. This bill […] is the surest means to lower a poverty rate of over 11 percent and to put an end to poverty.




Mr. Ron MacDonald (Dartmouth, Lib.):


We believe that nobody should have to live in poverty in a country as rich, as prosperous, with the future that Canada has. We believe as a nation that those individuals who are elected to govern should be able to find a policy mechanism to ensure that nobody should have to worry about whether they have food on their tables when they retire, when they are old and in their twilight years.


February 10, 1994


Mr. Osvaldo Nunez (Bourassa, Bloc):


Because more and more people live in poverty, and because the middle-class is getting poorer and poorer, the government has a moral responsibility to the public. It must have a transparent style of management, and it must also demonstrate the efficiency of its structure. In other words, the government must prove its integrity to all Canadians, regardless of their economic situation and class.


February 24, 1994


Mr. Nelson Riis: (Kamloops, NDP)


Is there anything in [in the Blue Book, Policy Objectives] for the 1.5 million kids who are living in poverty today?


Ms. McLaughlin:  No. Not a thing.


Mr. Riis: Not a single word, not a word.


March 9, 1994


Ms. Paddy Torsney (Burlington, Lib.):


Too many Canadian children are living below the poverty line, especially in single parent families headed by women. The budget commits the government to examining the issue of child support payments to ensure fairness in taxation as it is critical to the future of many young Canadians. In my view child poverty in Canada is a threat to our economic future and a complete waste of our resources.  [...] I believe our children are our greatest resource and we have to do something to make sure they are brought up in a healthy environment and that they are cared for and fed. Child care and the child care option for many parents is very important and we do have to work for that. I for one will be working very hard to make sure that we fulfil those commitments in each of the years of our mandate.


March 10, 1994


Mr. Geoff Regan (Halifax West, Lib.):


Mr. Speaker, hunger and poverty are very real problems in Atlantic Canada. The Metro Food Bank Society of Halifax-Dartmouth has recently released a comprehensive survey of food bank users in the metro area. This survey serves as a sombre reminder of the often forgotten members of our society. It found that food bank clients receive incomes far below the poverty line; 94 per cent have incomes of less than $1,000 a month. For the few who have incomes of slightly more than $1,000 a month, most have households of four or more persons. Forty-four per cent of food bank clients experience days when they go without food. Many of these are parents who go without food to ensure that their children have enough to eat.  Here is proof that our social programs are not working. Here is proof of the real need for reform.


April 7, 2006


Mr. David McGuinty (Ottawa South, Lib.):


We should invest as early and as often in our children as we possibly can. Studies show that the national early learning and child care plan is the program that can help us most close the poverty gap in 2036.


April 10, 2006


Mr. Wayne Marston (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, NDP):


One in five Hamiltonians live below the poverty line. Child poverty is still epidemic in the country. In my riding, the highest incidence of low income is with new Canadians, recent immigrants to our country. Yet in its throne speech, the government did not talk about poverty once, or what we need to do to address social and economic causes of poverty. It was a shameful omission. There is much to be done.I will stand firm in this House to ensure that the little progress that has been made by the Government of Canada over the last few years is not rolled back and that we do more to fight poverty in our country. While the throne speech did mention working families, it is the NDP that has promised a working families first agenda in this Parliament. This is good news for the people of my community. They have seen significant restructuring of major industries.


April 11, 2006


Ms. Olivia Chow (Trinity—Spadina, NDP):


Mr. Speaker, as a new Canadian, an immigrant like so many people in my riding of Trinity—Spadina, I am proud to stand in this chamber where so many great Canadians have served.

I was inspired by this House back in 1989 when every member of every party rose to support a motion by Ed Broadbent of the NDP. That motion was a pledge by Parliament to make child poverty history. Seventeen years after that promise, I stand here on behalf of all the children and youth who live in poverty today in Trinity—Spadina. I am here because since 1989, one Conservative government and four Liberal governments have failed to act on child poverty and have failed to act on a whole host of issues so important to our future generations.




We can do better. We must do better. The children of Canada deserve no less. The children of this country deserve so much more. [...] We have an extraordinary opportunity to make this minority Parliament work. Let us start by reaching across the aisle and across party lines to make choice in child care more than a slogan, but a reality for today's children and for future generations.


May 1, 2006


Mr. David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre, NDP):


Mr. Speaker, in 1998 the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights examined the causes of poverty in Canada.


Yesterday, Craig Foye of the Hamilton Income Security Working Group presented an update to the UN committee in Geneva, Switzerland. His report was shocking. Thirteen thousand of Hamilton's children are living in poverty today because their parents have too little income to pay for housing and the other necessities of life. It found that provincial and federal government policies are at the root of family poverty.


Thanks to Mr. Foye, a lawyer with McQuesten Legal and Community Services, and his co-authors, Chabriol Colebatch and Deirdre Pike, we now understand better the real impact of government cuts on the lives of many Canadian families.


We will be looking at today's federal budget for some action to end poverty in Hamilton and across Canada.


Where do we begin? Stop allowing the national child benefit supplement to be clawed back. Increase employment insurance eligibility and rates. Invest in affordable housing. These are real solutions to a real crisis.



Mr. Bill Siksay (Burnaby—Douglas, NDP):


We know that too many Canadian children live in poverty because their parents live in poverty. We know that government after government has failed miserably to meet the commitment made in the House in 1989 to end child poverty by the year 2000. Over one million Canadian children still live in poverty. That is unacceptable in a society as wealthy as ours.


May 12, 2006


Ms. Chris Charlton (Hamilton Mountain, NDP):


Although I have addressed issues of poverty in a global context, allow me to take just a moment to reflect on the increasing poverty at home. In my hometown of Hamilton, one in five people live below the poverty line. Twenty-five per cent of those are children, but we all know that children are not poor. It is their parents who are poor. Hamilton families need help now.


May 15, 2006


Ms. Olivia Chow (Trinity—Spadina, NDP):


What is left for all the children in this country who live in poverty? I ask that question today, more than a decade after every member of every party in this House took Ed Broadbent's pledge to make child poverty history. Today, one in six Canadian children live in poverty. Close to half the children of aboriginals and new immigrants live in poverty; the newest Canadians and those who were here before anyone else.


Child poverty exists in this country and yet, this government sees fit to ignore it. This Bush-league budget does nothing to break the cycle of poverty. Instead, this Bush-league budget rips apart programs, such as child care and affordable housing, that could break the cycle of poverty. It helps entrench that cycle by widening the gap between the rich and low income Canadians, by widening the gap between the have and the have nots, making it harder to break those cycles in order to pursue opportunity and create wealth.


This budget raises hopes by promising choice and promising benefits, and then delivers gimmicks and bribes while gutting and ripping apart the social programs and public spending that people need in this country.


May 17, 2006


Mr. Derek Lee (Scarborough—Rouge River, Lib.):


Mr. Speaker, a recent Statistics Canada report contains some very good news for Canadians. That news was contained in some typically technical statistics that measure poverty and for the most part seems to have gone unnoticed by this House and the public. I should give some credit to the Globe and Mail for shining some light on this in an editorial.


First, the number of children living in poor families declined between 1996 and 2004 from 1.3 million to 865,000, a huge reduction of 33%. Second, the proportion of families living below the poverty line has declined from 12.1% to 8.5% over the same period.


These huge improvements are the result of a strong economy, more jobs and increased transfer payments from governments. There is still poverty and there is still much more work to do, but this is still real progress that all Canadians, all parties in this House and anti-poverty advocates can celebrate.


This shows that government can make a big difference in improving the lives of Canadians, just as this House was seeking when it passed its resolution on the subject in 1990.


May 18, 2006


Mr. Dennis Bevington (Western Arctic, NDP):


The budget is nothing but a carny sideshow. It looks nice, it takes a poor family's money, but once we get past the elaborate facade, there is no substance.


June 1, 2006


Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, CPC):


Mr. Speaker, I agree with my hon. friend's opening assessment of where the blame lies. This government in 100-plus days has already taken important steps to assist Canadians with the everyday struggles they face. Certainly having more money in their pockets and making more decisions for themselves, whether it be in the area of child care, whether it be in the area of spending in their own communities, are steps that are going to help address the important issues that stem from poverty.


Trying to eradicate poverty clearly is going to be an effort in which we are all engaged within this government. We are working very hard in that area. I can assure members that the Prime Minister is taking important steps in that direction.




Hon. Rob Nicholson (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform, CPC):


I would state at the outset that no government is more committed to improving the living conditions of aboriginal peoples.


June 15, 2006


In total, over a quarter million seniors live under the low income cutoff line or, as we more commonly say, live below the poverty line. In my home town of Hamilton, the poverty rate for seniors is a staggering 24%. For unattached seniors, that rate rises to 45% among men and an unbelievable 58% of women.




Ms. Nicole Demers (Laval, BQ):


Mr. Speaker, I greatly appreciate my colleague's presentation. I have enormous admiration for her, and I know how committed she is to the most vulnerable people in our society.


However, given that the federal government passed a law in 1991 to put an end to child poverty, yet last year we discovered that there were a million poor children in Canada, and there is even more child poverty today.




January 30, 2007


Mr. Raymond Gravel (Repentigny, BQ):


It is not enough to do good works; we also need to have a sense of indignation about the bad things done in our society. I do not claim to be another Abbé Pierre, nor do I claim to be of the same calibre, but I think that that is more or less the main reason I got into politics. Poverty makes me as angry as it made him, especially when it affects the elderly. And if, together, we can improve the lot of our fellow citizens, then I will not have entered politics in vain.


February 6, 2007


Mr. André Bellavance (Richmond—Arthabaska, BQ):


A few days ago, my colleague from Trois-Rivières said that she had looked into this matter. She also gave an excellent speech on Bill C-26 right here in this House. She cited statistics released by Statistics Canada, from which we learned that there are in Canada, at present, 1.3 million more poor households than there were 25 years ago. The government has failed to stem this epidemic of poverty, if you will forgive the expression; the opposite has occurred.



In 2000, child poverty was supposed to be eradicated in Canada. It was an election promise for 2000. Here we are in 2007, and the rate of poverty among children is higher than it was before the famous promise was made. This is an area of federal jurisdiction. The federal government could therefore attend to that.


February 15, 2007


Ms. Peggy Nash (Parkdale—High Park, NDP):


In my community there has been a real deterioration and a growing poverty. Studies have called it the growing gap.


February 16, 2007


Mrs. Lynne Yelich (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, CPC):


Mr. Speaker, of course we are very concerned about child poverty. That is why we have addressed child poverty through some of the measures we have taken, most importantly the universal child care benefit.


February 20, 2007


Mr. Tony Martin (Sault Ste. Marie, NDP)


We have an economic boom in many parts of our country. Sadly, we also have a poverty boom. We can do better. We must do better for each and every Canadian and newcomer, for our poor on assistance, for the 650,000 working poor in our country, for women, children, seniors, veterans and persons with disabilities, who all struggle with unacceptable levels of poverty.




Ms. Denise Savoie (Victoria, NDP):


Statistics Canada's most recent “Income in Canada” report shows that between 1995 to 2004 the average after-tax income of the poorest one-fifth of Canadians increased by $400. That is not great for a whole decade when we consider inflation and cost of living. But the average after-tax income of the wealthiest one-fifth of Canadians increased not by $400 but by $20,000, 50 times the amount of the poorest fifth.




The most recent report from the National Council of Welfare suggests that there is a working solution to poverty in Canada, that it is within our reach, and Canada can have the kind of success that other countries are achieving. This is not a partisan issue but it does require political will.


The National Council of Welfare report offers four cornerstones of a workable national strategy in Canada, including a national anti-poverty strategy with targets and timelines. Today's motion is about that strategy. NCW Chairperson John Murphy believes that:


 --most Canadians understand how practical this is. We do it in our daily lives—if you are serious about a goal, you develop a plan to reach it, you put it in place and you assess how well it is working...There have been staggering losses in welfare rates across the country and all welfare incomes fall far below the poverty line...Our many programs have become a tattered patchwork.


I will end by saying that today what we are doing is proposing a start because we have a prosperity gap. Precisely, the GDP goes up but wages do not and 13% of all jobs in Canada still pay less than $8 an hour. It is time for less talk and more action, and this motion gets the battle against poverty started in earnest.




Mr. Paul Szabo (Mississauga South, Lib.):


Mr. Speaker, earlier in the day I gave some statistics about homelessness in Toronto and I think I erred with a couple of numbers, so I would like to repeat them with the correct numbers.  The federally funded study on the homeless in Toronto, all of whom would qualify under any definition of poverty include: 35% who suffer from mental illness, 28% are youth alienated from their families of which 70% have experienced physical or sexual abuse, 15% are aboriginals off reserve, 12% are abused women, and the remaining 10% are for a variety of causes.




Mr. Wayne Marston (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, NDP):


Mr. Speaker, the motion before us today is a very personal motion for me because I grew up in poverty. I know what it feels like.  I lived in a home without running water until I was 16 years of age in northern New Brunswick where it was -30° or -35° in the winter. There was frost on the inside of the walls of the home that I lived in. When I had my one set of clothes washed, I had to stand naked while I waited for them to dry. I know what it feels like. I know what it feels like to have no self-esteem until the age of 35 before that beast is wrestled to the ground.


I am so proud today that the members who are considering this are going to put their heart ahead of their wallet.




Ms. Catherine Bell (Vancouver Island North, NDP):


Mr. Speaker, my colleague talked about how Canada is a very prosperous country and how we pride ourselves on that prosperity, yet British Columbia has the second highest number of people working for minimum wage, has seen cuts to child care programs, has people living on the streets, people living in tents, and seen a decrease in access to services for women. I want to ask my hon. colleague, where does she think these people go for these services in the face of all the cuts that are happening?




Hon. Carolyn Bennett (St. Paul's, Lib.):


I look forward to the debate today on this extraordinarily important conversation about how, in Canada, we deal with some of our most vulnerable population and who, therefore, are described as poor.


We know that poor people do not live as long. We know that poor people are sicker. However, I hope that we will expand the debate today to ensure that this just is not about labelling people and using the definition of poverty, and fighting over the definition of poverty, but that this really is about all Canadians being able to look forward to a degree of income security and quality of life.



It is important, therefore, to always have real strategies, that there be realistic goals of what, by when and how in terms of how we actually deal with all the variables that affect the income security of Canadians as well as their quality of life.


I think we have to admit here on this side that we have made good strides in terms of these issues with our veterans. We have made good strides with our seniors. We have made reasonable strides with our kids.




Mr. Mario Silva (Davenport, Lib.):


Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak to the motion before the House today.


Let me begin by stating, unequivocally, that I fully support the objective of ensuring Canadians across the country enjoy the highest possible standards of living. [...] It would be fair to say that when we look back over the years, we can easily see that the greatest strides made for Canadians took place under the Liberal government.




Mr. Yvon Godin (Acadie—Bathurst, NDP):


In Toronto, people are sleeping on cardboard boxes in front of city hall. This had never been seen in the past. Today, in big cities like East Vancouver or Montreal, people are having to beg in order to get food. In a country like ours, this is unacceptable.




In the period when Ed Broadbent was a member of Parliament, in 1989, Parliament was unanimous in its desire to eliminate poverty within 10 years. However, instead of being eliminated, poverty has doubled.


Instead of helping to eliminate poverty, they have created it by making cuts to employment insurance. Then, they tried to make us believe that people were lazy slackers who did not want to work. That is not the case. It is because their jobs have been eliminated. Workers have lost their jobs in textiles and the fishery. Paper mills have closed their doors. Sawmills have shut down. That is what is happening in our country. That is how we have created poverty.




February 27, 2007


Mr. Mario Silva (Davenport, Lib.):


Mr. Speaker, I have several petitions to present today. One is on “Make Poverty History”. The petition calls upon Parliament and the House to support raising the child tax benefit to $4,900 per child to help eradicate child poverty in Canada.


Over a billion people around the world live in abject poverty. Poverty kills more than 50,000 people every day. In Canada, 15 years after Parliament vowed to end child poverty, one out of six children live in poverty.


In Ottawa all party leaders and the Prime Minister have agreed that global poverty needs an urgent response.


I support the “Make Poverty History” campaign in Canada, a citizens' movement advocating for more and better aid, the cancellation of the debt in the poorest countries and to end child poverty in Canada.





As these Hansard excerpts on poverty and homelessness prove, there’s never been a bona fide intention to help the most disadvantaged in Canada.  The same analysis used to demonstrate aboriginals were being pushed to the point of extinction through trans-ideological political and economic marginalization policies was employed to demonstrate triangle operators never will put into practice what democracy demands – an equitable distribution of wealth and opportunity.  Here are some excerpts from Parliament’s Speeches from the Throne back to 1977 further proving the case:




The post-war period of sustained economic growth conferred great new wealth upon Canada. Productivity and standards of living improved substantially, and the country could afford to provide better economic protection for the sick, the aged, the unemployed and the poor.  They are also signals of the urgent need for important structural adjustments in the economies of Canada and other industrialized countries. More than that, they are the symptoms of an illness which can be cured only by a readjustment of our values, and by a re-discovery of the merits of self-discipline and fair sharing.




[T]he poor cannot wait for that.  Nor can lower-income parents with children to support nor elderly pensioners. We must give them additional help now because their need is urgent.




[I]n employing the limited resources available, my Ministers will help first those who need help most.




This is the inauguration of a new Parliament. Let it be also the beginning of a new era of national reconciliation, economic renewal and social justice. In this spirit, my Ministers will honour the mandate entrusted to them by the people of Canada. […]  A national consensus is also needed to reduce the persistent isolation of Canada's regions, to meet the challenges of economic and social disparity…  […]   My government is determined to ensure that social justice in Canada keeps pace with the changing needs and circumstances of our people. […] Over time, mutual confidence and a sense of shared responsibility for our national economy must lead to consensus on even more basic issues: how to share the benefits of economic growth, how to share the burdens of economic adjustment, how to preserve the integrity of our unique natural environment, and how to ensure that the ideal of social justice is pursued. 




My government believes fundamentally in those social benefits which support the family and the elderly, while recognizing the need to direct more assistance toward those with low incomes.




Canada is also envied for our economic prosperity; we rank only thirty-first in population but we have built the world's eighth largest economy. That economic strength allows us to maintain some of the most advanced social programs in the world. […]  The government plans to implement a five-year strategy that will resolve issues such as access to employment, training, housing…




The Government is committed to ensuring opportunity through a sustainable social safety net for the future. The Government will secure Canada's social union for the future and will adapt our federal arrangements as necessary to meet current challenges and to prepare for the next century. The Government is open to new ways and new directions to pursue our values. […] The federal government will propose to the provinces a much strengthened process to work in partnership, focussing on such priorities as food inspection, environmental management, social housing… […]  A First Ministers meeting will be called in the months ahead to discuss how governments can better work together for job creation in Canada, how to secure the social safety net…




The Government will continue to be vigilant and responsible about keeping the financial affairs of the country in order. […]  It will seek to devote one-half of the surplus in this mandate to addressing the social and economic needs of Canadians. […]  The Government welcomes the Premiers' and territorial leaders' continuing interest in working together, and is committed to even closer collaboration on these important issues. As a next step, the First Ministers will meet this fall to work on co-operative approaches to address youth unemployment, health care and social policy renewal.




Canadians and their governments also put in place a modern social safety net. Together, these achievements have provided the foundation for our quality of life. […]  The Government […] will deliver on the commitment it made at the beginning of this Parliament to devote half the budget surplus to debt repayment and tax relief, and the other half to investments that address the social and economic needs of Canadians.


To make it easier for families to break the cycle of poverty, the federal, provincial and territorial governments also established the National Child Benefit. The Government of Canada is already investing an additional $1.7 billion annually in low-income families with children, while the provinces and territories are investing in complementary services. The Government wants no family to have to choose between a job and benefits for their children. Therefore, by 2002, the Government will make a third significant investment in the National Child Benefit, while seeking a commitment from its provincial and territorial partners to increase their investment in services for families with children.




Now Canadians must undertake another national project — to ensure that no Canadian child suffers the debilitating effects of poverty.  Canadians and their governments have already taken significant steps in this direction. The Government of Canada […] will help to stimulate the creation of more affordable rental housing.




No investments have greater payoff. No investments do more to break the cycle of poverty and dependency, and to maximize the potential of every Canadian. The government will put in place a long-term investment plan to allow poor families to break out of the welfare trap so that children born into poverty do not carry the consequences of that poverty throughout their lives. It will extend its investments in affordable housing for those whose needs are greatest, particularly in those Canadians cities where the problem is most acute.




Some Canadians face other barriers to participation in the economy and society, whether in the form of homelessness or debilitating illness. Our Government will extend the Homelessness Partnering Strategy and help more Canadians find affordable housing. 



Ontario’s Legislators: They Said That?! – Poverty Issues 

© 2007 Brad Kempo B.A. LL.B.

Barrister & Solicitor 


To continue the process of demonstrating that Canada’s ruling elite cannot and are not entitled to govern, this chapter compiles statements made in the Ontario legislature that are revealed through the Fiefdom series prism to be false, empty and self-serving because evidence exists which proves them intentionally misleading.  


This chapter took a yearly snapshot of the 217 search results to prove that all the talk amounted again to absolutely no meaningful action – leading to the safe conclusion there was never any bona fide intention to fund the programs necessary because the provincial and national governing elites preferred to line their pockets with the country’s wealth rather than spend it on the most vulnerable and weak.  A most excellent encapsulation of the issue is made by in the following remark: 


We're living in a time in the western countries, and very much here in Canada, like in the United States, where inequalities are growing in our communities and our nations, where the incredible gap between the very wealthiest and the huge, growing numbers of poor is growing at an incredibly and rapidly accelerating rate and where the middle class is losing any sense of economic security because their future appears gloomier and gloomier. What's more, those who can benefit, celebrate; those who do benefit, rejoice in those increasing gaps, those increasing inequalities 

Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre) December 9, 1999


Ontario Hansard 

June 18, 1984


Mr. Ross McClellan (NDP):


We have heard increasingly from children's aid societies that what we are dealing with is essentially a phenomenon of child poverty; we are dealing with the results of poverty. What we are dealing with in our child welfare legislation is an attempt to respond to the consequences of child poverty.


It seems to me, since that is what we are dealing with, that the people who are served by child welfare agencies are, by and large, the children of the poor and their families. It makes sense to try to come to grips with that phenomenon right off the bat. That means we have to talk about the statutory right of people in this society to their fair share of the society's wealth, resources and services. In a nutshell, that is what I have tried to set out.


At least in a preliminary way in the act to declare the rights of children in Ontario it tries to set out rights, not in terms of our traditional notions of freedoms and liberties but to broaden the notion of rights to include and encompass the notion of entitlement to services, resources and to a fair share in the wealth of the society.


May 11, 1988


Mr. Allen (NDP):


Let us end child poverty. About 330,000 children in Ontario are stricken with poverty. Children do not choose where they will be born or when they will be born or to whom. The arbitrariness of their fate very quickly overtakes them.


Poor babies have a higher death rate. Poor kids in the lowest income group, aged one to 14, are almost twice as likely to die from some cause than those of the highest income group. The odds are almost five times higher that they will be in a motor vehicle accident; they are three and a half times more likely to drown; suicide and homicide rates are almost three times higher for boys and four times higher for girls aged one to 14 who are poor. For boys 15 to 19, the suicide rate is almost twice as high from the lowest to the highest income group, and they are three and a half times as likely to get killed at somebody else's hand.


That is not the end of the story. If you are aged one to 14 and in the poorest income category, you are not only twice as likely to get cancer, you are almost twice as likely to die from it within the next two years. If you get a respiratory illness, especially pneumonia, you are twice as likely as a poor boy and six times more likely as a poor girl to die from it. You are also more likely to suffer from anaemia, tooth decay, chronic ear infections, mental retardation, learning disabilities and poor school performance.


These conclusions should shock us. They are the result of a thorough review of existing research by three Toronto medical researchers and, added to the findings of Dan Offord on the social-psychiatric impacts on children on welfare, they are devastating. Do we have in this country an ongoing conspiracy against poor kids and poor children?


October 17, 1988


Mr. Allen:


As we take up our work in this Legislature, the first thing we need to be reminded of is the appalling evidence of child poverty in David Peterson's Ontario. Among dependents of working poor families there are close to half a million poor children. The odds are stacked against them at birth. They are more likely to die as babies, and as children they are more likely to have fatal accidents. They are twice as likely to get leukaemia and twice as likely to die from it. They are far more likely to suffer from pneumonia, anaemia, tooth decay, ear infections, retardation and learning disabilities.


A Hamilton study tells us that boys in welfare families have a 40 per cent rate of psychiatric disorder and girls have a 27.8 per cent poor school performance. Low-income young people drop out of school more often and end up more frequently unemployed or in low-wage, dead-end jobs. Even the bright ones rule out further schooling because they assume they cannot afford it. Toronto children's aid society statistics tell us that, by far, the largest part of the intake of children at risk comes from poor families. Child poverty takes an immense toll of persons, and the costs are enormous in social programs and wasted potential.


I challenge this government to tackle child poverty at its root, to begin immediately on George Thomson's proposal of a children's benefit and to institute a comprehensive strategy to get all children off to an equal start.


May 17, 1989


Mr. Allen:


Today is budget day in Ontario. It is the day we prioritize in material terms who gets what in the household of the provincial economy. It is a day in which we state publicly the value we place upon the many participants in our common life. There has been in recent months a great outpouring of concern, an outcry from all sides that we can no longer tolerate the enormity of hunger, homelessness, and especially child poverty in this wealthy province. The unprecedented coalition, the marches, the rally and the media coverage of the campaign against poverty have called on the government to make stamping out poverty in all its forms the first business of the province and of this Legislature: 360,000 poor children are 360,000 poor children too many.


December 18, 1989


Hon Mr. Charles Beer (Lib.):


I can certainly say to my colleague that as minister I see this issue of poverty and particularly of child poverty to be one that as a government we have to expand even more efforts to try and overcome.


Mr. B. Rae (NDP):


The evidence of the 1980s is that poverty has grown among children dramatically, that poverty among working families has grown dramatically and that were it not for the fact that more and more women were entering the job market in this last decade, family incomes would have declined in real and absolute terms throughout the economy.


I am asking for a specific target, and I am asking the minister a specific question. I want to know why he cannot set a target, why he cannot stand up in this House and say that, as far as the government of Ontario is concerned, there will be no food banks in operation after 1990, because the situation will have changed sufficiently that families will not have to go down and ask for cans of food for free because they do not have any other way of feeding their kids. Why cannot we do that?


Hon Mr. Beer:


I can certainly give the honourable member the commitment that I will do everything I can, and I believe this government will, to ensure that we lessen as quickly as possible the need for food banks. In the changes that we brought in, I think it is terribly important to focus on one of the critical elements of the Thomson report, on which so much of our program was based, which is to try to ensure that we can get money through changes in the amounts we provide for basic needs for basic shelter. As the honourable member knows, in January a substantial reform to shelter will be brought into place, as will a six per cent increase in terms of basic needs.


That is where I think we have to really focus our attention to get funding to those who are in need so that there will be more money in the pockets of parents for their children, for food, If we can look a year from now and see that we have made a significant impact in lessening the need for food banks, I do not think anyone in this House would be happier than myself --




Poverty is simply not something that any of us is willing to accept, and we are going to do our utmost to try to meet that goal and to end the reason for food banks.


November 20, 1990


Hon Mr. Alexander: [Speech from the Throne]


We pledge to continue the reform of Ontario's social assistance system and address the shame of child poverty in the midst of affluence.


December 1, 1994


Mr. Drummond White (Durham Centre, NDP):


Much of the treatment for children and youth is an attempt to mitigate the effects of society's most entrenched problems: family violence, racism, sexism and poverty. After a child's life has been scarred and limited by the deprivation of child poverty, our community services can only control the social outcast with criminal sanctions or attempt vainly to mediate the disease of addiction. Certainly, my experience as a child welfare worker was one of battling the results of poverty and inequity in the twisted lives of victims. I was battling a social problem on a case-by-case, individual basis.




One major result of the past debates on child poverty has been a movement of our social agenda. We're now willing to see how profoundly our community is wounded by the increase in child poverty that has been visited upon us, long-term problems such as academic and career failures, poor health and the lost potential of so many young lives, young lives foreshortened needlessly. Child poverty needs to be addressed with real political will, both provincially and federally.




Mr. Charles Beer (York-Mackenzie):


In the report that the Premier's Council brought forward, an excellent report which I think all members in this Legislature support, in one of the chapters of that document the Premier's Council said that we need to set out what our beliefs are. I think that in reading the beliefs that directed their recommendations we see a great deal of similarity with the earlier report of Children First.


The beliefs that they outlined were:


First, "All children and youth must be valued for who they are now, as well as who they will become as adults. Healthy children and youth are a benefit to us all."


Second, "Parents and those who take on parental responsibilities have the primary role in raising healthy children and youth. They must be supported by their communities in that role."


Third, "All children and youth must have the opportunity to participate in their own development and decisions about their lives." How do we find the way to ensure that children and youth become involved in those decisions?


Fourth, "All children and youth must be able to grow and develop free of violence and abuse, discrimination and inequity."


Finally, "All families in all forms must have a stable and adequate standard of living to allow them to provide for the wellbeing of their children."


Those were the basic value systems, the beliefs, that the Premier's Council put forward and which I think reflect very much what has been noted in Children First, in the Better Beginnings, Better Futures program and indeed in all of the debates over the last three or four years. There is, I think, an underpinning there where we can say: "We can identify those beliefs, those principles, the directions. Now, how do we get on and do it?"


November 28, 1996


Mr. Peter Kormos (NDP):


[T]he poverty and the despair that they've created for so many women and so many children in this province will create longer and longer lineups at food banks, longer and longer lineups at missions and hostels and by the advent of a rate of child poverty here in the city of Toronto, that Mike Harris created, that's higher than any region in all of Canada, including the poorest parts of Canada. Shame on you.


December 2, 1996


Mr. Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition, Lib.):


My question is for the Premier. Child poverty is a big problem in Ontario, and you and your government are doing nothing about it. Compared to other provinces, we have the greatest number of children living in poverty, a staggering 350,000. In 1996 over 70,000 kids in Metro alone used the food bank, and sadly the number of children growing up in shelters instead of their own homes has grown dramatically.


The big difference between you and me is that I believe we have a responsibility to deal with child poverty. I'm committed to doing just that. You've been in government for 17 long months and your policies have only made it worse. Premier, when are you going to do something of substance to help Ontario's kids?


Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier, PC):


I appreciate the question. I know, as do our caucus, our party and our cabinet as well the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, that we have joined forces with the other first ministers from across the country to deal with the whole issue of children: children's hopes and dreams and aspirations within this great country of Canada.


I might add and give credit to the premiers of British Columbia and Saskatchewan, who brought it to our meetings, enthusiastically endorsed by all the premiers and now working in conjunction with the federal government in a coordinated way. Minister Pettigrew from the federal government I think received plaudits from the other provinces to deal with the situation where clearly not all are sharing in what are the beginnings of recovery in this province and the country.


Mr. McGuinty:


I didn't get any answer in that question at all, nothing there that would lend any comfort to kids in Ontario.


Let me tell you what it means to grow up poor in Ontario. It means you're more likely to do poorly in school, it means you're more likely to have behaviour problems, it means you're more likely to get into trouble with the law, it means you're more likely to need social assistance and it means you're more likely to need health care services.


One in five kids in Ontario lives in poverty, and your policies have only made it worse: your policy to cut social assistance, a program that almost one half-million Ontario kids rely on; you've got a policy to cut junior kindergarten; you've cut funding to children's aid; and you've cut women's shelters as well. The mess you've created with the family support plan and the threat you've made against child care workers are also hurting kids. Your actions in government are hurting kids.


Premier, when will you start making a real investment in Ontario's children?


Hon Mr. Harris:


The reason I sought the leadership of this party and developed the Common Sense Revolution campaign in this province and our whole raison d'être is for my children and for their generation, that they can have similar opportunities to ours or better ones than we had. Unfortunately, after 10 years of your party and the NDP, my children and their generation were looking forward to a legacy of debt.


June 24, 1997


Mr. Martin:


If there was a government in this place with the intestinal fortitude to give that kind of leadership and to take that kind of responsibility, we wouldn't have the number of people out of work in this province that we have now. We wouldn't have children going poor. We wouldn't be labelled by the United Nations as the country that is probably the richest in the world and yet has the worst case of child poverty anywhere that can be pointed to or looked at. [...] [W]e're being told by those organizations that we have unprecedented child poverty...


December 1, 1997


Mr. Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition):


My question is to the Minister without Portfolio responsible for children. Minister, you would, I'm sure, have been embarrassed to read in today's paper that there are over half a million children growing up in Ontario in poverty. In fact, that number has doubled since 1989.


November 30, 1998


Mr. Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition):


My first question is for the minister responsible for children's issues. Yesterday the Golden task force produced some very disturbing information insofar as Ontario children are concerned. […]  Why is it that you can find $47 million for political advertising but you can't help these 31,000 children growing up in poverty right here in Toronto?


November 17, 1999


Mr. John Gerretsen (Kingston and the Islands, Lib.):


I have here a petition signed by St Margaret's United Church. It's addressed to the Legislative Assembly and to the Minister of Community and Social Services, the Minister of Health and the Acting Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. It reads as follows:


"Whereas the God recorded in the Scriptures is concerned with the well-being of children; and


"Whereas the Scriptures consider it is the responsibility of government and society to protect the well-being of children; and


"Whereas the children of Canada, including Ontario, although voiceless and voteless, are entitled to the same consideration as any other citizens or landed immigrants; and


"Whereas the Canadian Parliament in 1989 committed itself unanimously to eliminate child poverty by the year 2008 but in fact child poverty has increased in the province of Ontario since 1989 by 116%; and


"Whereas of the number of persons in receipt of Ontario Works financial assistance, or family benefits, over 50% are children; and


"Whereas food banks indicate that 50% of persons assisted each month are under 18 years of age; and


"Whereas children in poverty are twice as likely to have physical and mental health problems, twice as likely to have social integration problems, twice as likely not to finish high school, three times more likely to become involved in crime; and


"Whereas by ignoring the problem of child poverty the long-term cost to our society will be extreme;


December 1, 1999


Mr. Richard Patten (Ottawa Centre, Lib.):


Yesterday the Harris government in its economic statement bragged that the province's finances and economy have seen a tremendous improvement and that its active agenda of tax cuts and sound economic and fiscal management has put Ontario back on track. But I ask you today, when is the government going to put children as a priority back on track and back on its agenda?


This morning, Campaign 2000 released its Ontario report card on child poverty. The trends revealed in this report are extremely serious and point in a disturbing direction: a very widespread difference between the haves and the have-nots. The hard work and sacrifice of the past five years may be paying off, but the people of Ontario can now see clearly that they are paying off on the backs of the poor and of children.


Yesterday, the Minister of Finance told us that, "Since mid-1995, Ontario's job growth has consistently outperformed that in the rest of the country."


Today, the Ontario Campaign 2000 Report Card on Child Poverty in Ontario tells us:


"Since 1995, the child poverty rate in Ontario increased 6.3% ....


"Between 1995 and 1997, the number of poor children increased by 32,000 ... In contrast, the number of poor children in all of Canada decreased by 75,000 or 5.1%. More striking, since 1995 the number of poor children in the rest of Canada outside of Ontario decreased by 11.1%."


Mr. Speaker, I don't think this is your view of Ontario, and it certainly isn't ours.


"Therefore, St Margaret's United Church, Kingston, calls upon the government of the province of Ontario and the federal government to acknowledge and address the problems of child poverty more vigorously and comprehensively than heretofore, and by working in partnership with the municipalities and other agencies, to identify the causes of child poverty, develop solutions to address these causes and to implement those solutions quickly."


It's signed by Marilyn Norman, the chair of the official board and Jack Linscott, the chair of the outreach committee. I affix my signature to it as well, as I'm in total agreement with it.


October 4, 2000


Mr. David Christopherson (Hamilton West, NDP):


I have further petitions from the West Hamilton Interfaith Committee on Child Poverty that read as follows:


"Whereas the federal government signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and passed a resolution to eradicate child poverty by the year 2000; and


"Whereas at the first ministers' meeting in June 1996 the Prime Minister and Premiers made tackling child poverty a collective priority; and


"Whereas Campaign 2000 records the province of Ontario as having the highest increase-116%-in child poverty since Canada's House of Commons vowed unanimously in November 1989 to eliminate child poverty;


"Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Parliament of Ontario:

"To take immediate steps to eradicate the hunger of poor children by working vigorously with the federal government to reduce the poverty rate among Ontario's children; and


"To follow and implement the recommendations of the Early Years Study, commissioned by the Ontario government in the spring of 1998."


I add my name to these petitions.


October 5, 2000


Mr. Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt, Lib.):


Today the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres released a report entitled Urban Aboriginal Child Poverty. It is a report that reminds us of something about which we should all feel a collective shame. Thousands and thousands of young people, young children, live in poverty and every day go hungry. Today may be an appropriate day for the friendship centres to release the report as we all head home to celebrate Thanksgiving. […] I hope the government will take this opportunity to read this report, read the thoughtful recommendations in this report, and do some concrete action to solve the problem of which we all must be ashamed.




Mr. Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition):


My question is for the minister responsible for children. Earlier, in fact just a short while ago, your Premier delivered a very eloquent and compelling speech to the business community, and I want to go on record as fully supporting the message he delivered just a few hours ago.


My problem isn't with the message; it's with the messenger. He lacks any credibility when it comes to championing the cause of children in Ontario. This message came from the man who slashed millions from our children's aid societies, from the Premier who cut funding to our women's shelters, from the Premier who took 21% of the income away from parents of Ontario's poorest children.


Minister, you are now in the sixth year of your government. In the last 10 years the number of Ontario children living in poverty has skyrocketed by 118%. That's twice the rate of growth in the rest of the country. How can you defend this kind of failure when it comes to our children?


October 17, 2000


Ms. Shelley Martel (Nickel Belt, NDP):


I have a question to the Premier regarding why so many Ontario kids are living in poverty. In the past two weeks, two very important reports have been released which clearly show the very negative impact that your government is having on kids. […] Food Banks showed that the use of food banks by families has jumped 18% from last year to this. There are now 118,106 children using food banks. Premier, it's clear that your housing and your social assistance policies are having a very negative, detrimental impact on Ontario kids. How can you possibly justify that?




The question was, how can you justify the level of child poverty in Ontario, which is worse than ever before in the history of this province? Two weeks ago you went to the Toronto Board of Trade and encouraged companies to invest in kids. When is your government going to start investing in kids?


You could do any number of the following to stop this slide of child poverty: you could restore rent controls; you could raise the rental allowance for families living on social assistance; you could stop the clawback of the national child supplement for families living on social assistance; you could build affordable housing again; you could raise the pay of the lowest-income families in Ontario who live on the minimum wage.


You've done none of those things. It's very clear that the economic prosperity in this country hasn't trickled down to the poor; in fact, in this province, it has completely bypassed the poor. I ask you again, when are you going to take some concrete action to stop child poverty in Ontario?


October 18, 2001


Mr. Michael Gravelle (Thunder Bay—Superior North, Lib.)


We know that child poverty has doubled since 1989. We know that homelessness in our province has never been worse, and we know that food bank use is at its highest level ever.


May 22, 2003


Mr. Martin:


[T]he fact that when they came into power in 1995, the first thing they did was remove 22% of the income of the poorest of our citizens. Then, not long after that, they began to cut back on the services that supported those individuals.


Then I found out, in travelling the province with my People's Parliament on Poverty, that they were actually clawing back the child tax benefit supplement, that money that the federal government was giving to some of the poorest families to eradicate child poverty. This government decided in its wisdom that those folks who are at the mercy of government, collecting assistance of one sort or another from the province, shouldn't get that money. We're not talking about the adults here, although I think the adults are just as worthy and deserving of that money to look after themselves. Most people who are on welfare or collecting social assistance in this province are there for very legitimate and real reasons and deserve to have a quality of life that we, particularly in this place, so often take for granted. But this government decided that the $100 or thereabouts that would be available to them through the federal government's new child tax benefit supplement should be clawed back.


November 24, 2003


Mr. Ernie Parsons (Prince Edward-Hastings):


My question is for the Minister of Children's Services. Minister, as you're undoubtedly aware, I'm very concerned about the welfare of children. For many years I've seen families living below the poverty level struggle and all too often fail to provide the necessities of life for their children. Our family has fostered children who believe that the definition of wealthy is someone who has three meals a day. For too many, food has become a privilege rather than the right that it actually is. A recently released report on child poverty has a number of alarming statistics that reflect the current state of child poverty still to this day. Not only is it alarming but it's shameful that families who are good, honest people that make up the very fabric of our society are so often caught in a situation that, by its nature, does not enable them to better their position in life.


Since we've seen very little done provincially over the past eight years to assist struggling families and eliminate children from having to live in poverty, how do you plan to assist parents who are trying to be successful and provide the very basic of necessities for their families?


Hon Marie Bountrogianni (Minister of Children's Services, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration):


I want to thank my colleague for Prince Edward-Hastings for his question. I know that all the members of this House are concerned about the recent findings of the child poverty report. I'd also like to remind members of the House that from 1989 to 1999 child poverty rates in Ontario rose from 11.5% to 16.5%; and from 1995 to 1999 the number of children in low-income families grew by 9% in Ontario. I think it's significant that for the first time in Ontario's history we have a ministry for children, the Ministry of Children's Services. My responsibility is to better integrate all of the programs across all the ministries for children.


May 5, 2004


Mr. Michael Prue (Beaches-East York, NDP):


My question is to the Premier.  Mr. Premier, Campaign 2000 reported yesterday that as a province we have made no progress in ending child poverty. They have also said that the biggest single step you can take as Premier is to end the clawback of the national child tax benefit. That single act alone would put $1,500 more into the hands of a single parent with one child.  You promised to fight child poverty. This is where I ask you, will you end the clawback or is this just another of one of your empty promises?


November 24, 2004


Mr. Howard Hampton (Kenora-Rainy River, NDP):


My question is for the Acting Premier. Today Campaign 2000 released its annual report on child poverty in Ontario. In 1989 the House of Commons committed to end child poverty. Today, in Ontario, child poverty is worse. There are now 373,000 children living in poverty in this province, 100,000 more than in 1989. Acting Premier, it is a disgrace to have 373,000 children living in poverty in a wealthy province like Ontario. When is the McGuinty government going to find the will to tackle poverty in Ontario?

April 12, 2005


Ms. Marilyn Churley (Toronto-Danforth, NDP):


We know that in 2003, 37% of Ontario's low-income families with children were female lone-parent families, and the rate and duration of poverty among children in these families is disproportionately high. Also, if anybody looked, they would have seen that Campaign 2000's Report Card on Child Poverty in Ontario called for a major overhaul of the FRO in order to support these children. What we have before us today are some weak measures that, when you look at them and the kind of problems that exist and have always existed at the FRO, this is not going to fix the system. What I would call on the government to do today, after listening to some of the speeches about the changes they're making, is stop the clawback. That would go, perhaps to a large extent, much further than the measures that are being taken in this bill before us today. We all agree that the FRO needs a complete overhaul, but when you look at the measures that are before us today, they in themselves are not going to correct a lot of those problems, and we need to see a lot more.


Let's look at all the things we need to do to stop child poverty in this province. The number one priority that the government adamantly promised to do before they won the election was to stop the clawback. That's a simple, clear promise. I wish we were standing here today acknowledging that the government kept a fundamental promise to some of the poorest, if not the poorest, children and their families in this province.


November 1, 2005


Mr. James Foulds (Port Arthur, NDP):


My theme is simply this: Ontario is indeed a rich and wonderful province. We have magnificent resources, magnificent people and a so-called buoyant economy. However, we really do have two Ontarios, one we like to brag about and one most public figures want to ignore. In that buoyant economy we have food banks and bread lines. We have the working poor paying more taxation than wealthy and profitable insurance companies. We have governments that are willing to trade our cultural and political independence and we have a geographic part of our province, the north, that like the homeless on Toronto's streets, partakes not in the wealth this rich province is producing.


During my 16 years as an MPP, nothing, absolutely nothing, has given me more anguish and caused me more anger than the way those who require social assistance are treated in our society. My colleague the member for Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston) has brought this up again and again, as recently as May 5 and May 6 of this year. He pointed out that in spite of the billion-dollar windfall in profits for the Treasury of Ontario, somehow the speech from the throne did not mention those people who have been left out of the prosperity of Peterson's Ontario.


Why is it, he asked, that there was no mention of food banks? Why is it that with a so-called low unemployment rate of five per cent or six per cent we have food banks in this province`? Why was there no mention of the things the government was going to do specifically for people on social assistance? I ask this Premier (Mr. Peterson), this Treasurer (Mr. Nixon) and this government, where is the commitment to full employment?


I was much struck by a phrase used by Ken Dryden, the former youth commissioner for this province, when he appeared before the standing committee on economics and finance. When he was asked about his experience under both Liberal and Conservative administrations with regard to their commitment to full employment, he indicated quite fairly that there were good people in both parties in positions both in the government and in the bureaucracy, but he said the words "full employment" were used "like a comma in passing as they hurried on to find the end of the sentence." That should be the full sentence.





I also want to say that it is shameful that the poor in our province, in our country, are largely women and children. You can roll out the statistics: 180,000 children make up 38 per cent of Ontario's social assistance recipients; a further 180,000 children are in families of the working poor living below the poverty line; 56 per cent of all low-income Canadians are female; 66 per cent of low-income people between 16 and 64 are women; 70 per cent of the elderly poor are women; 82.7 per cent of the elderly unattached poor are women; 60.2 per cent of single-mother families were poor in 1985. 



In Canada and in Ontario in the 1980s, a large majority of the poor are women; women with children and elderly women. Poverty has become sexually oriented. We should not be proud that when it comes to poverty, the phrase "women and children first" is all too appropriate. There is no doubt that in our present social assistance system, social assistance recipients are treated as secondary human beings. Second-rate or second class may be more appropriate terms.



I want to emphasize that these people are not and must not be treated as some kind of second-rate human beings, as much for our sake as a society as for their sakes as people. People who are already victims of society or of their own inadequacies or of their own disabilities over which they have little, if any, control must not be further victimized by the way they are treated. The helpless and the vulnerable must be treated with the same respect and dignity as we expect for ourselves. Our levels of support and our methods of delivery at the present time guarantee poverty rather than dignity. As well as economic poverty, it promotes a poverty of spirit rather than a liberation of that spirit.


October 17, 2006


Ms. Andrea Horwath (Hamilton East, NDP):


Imagine trying to raise a family on less than $10 an hour. That's the troubling reality for 37% of working women who lead single-parent families. One in five Ontario women is living in poverty. Many are socially isolated as well. The statistic is a provincial shame. Still, I don't see governments -- particularly the McGuinty government here in Ontario -- being leaders in the fight to change conditions that keep women and their children in poverty.  More than a decade ago, governments pledged to eradicate child poverty. So why has the problem grown worse?


December 21, 2006


Ms. Shelley Martel (Nickel Belt):


It's no accident that child poverty in Ontario is up from 16.1% last year to 17.4% this year. Over 330,000 Ontarians were forced to use food banks last year, and many of them were families who rely on the minimum wage and who continue to have federal money clawed back by this government despite the government's promise in the last election to end this disgusting practice. There are some concrete recommendations for the government if the government was truly interested in ensuring that everybody -- everybody -- was in a position to benefit from healthy habits in the province.



British Columbia’s Legislators: They Said That?! – Poverty Issues 

© 2007 Brad Kempo B.A. LL.B.

Barrister & Solicitor


B.C.'s child poverty rate worst in Canada: report Fourth year in a row

B.C ranked last by report

CBC News

November 26, 2007 

A new report says B.C. had the highest child-poverty rate in the country for 2005, based on the latest available income numbers from Statistics Canada. According to the report written by the B.C. Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition, one out of every five children lives in poverty. It said almost 21 per cent of children live below the poverty line. The national average was just under 17 per cent.  

It's the fourth year in a row B.C ranked last in the report.


British Columbia Hansard


January 23, 1970


Mr. Robert Wenman (Fraser Valley West, Soc Cred):


The welfare benefits that the government provides should be merely a foundation upon which the individual has freedom and incentive to build as his own resources and freedom permit. The long term aim should be to build a society where many government programmes become superfluous because the vast majority of people have the education and resources to provide adequately for their own diverse needs. The government must provide to develop the individual to his individual maximum capacity of productivity and creativity, encourage personal initiative and responsibility as a prerequisite to the return to the mainstream of a productive society.


Mr. Speaker, I am sorry to say that this government, like all other governments preceding us, like all other governments on this continent, has fallen far, far short of these objectives. Instead, we have created a huge bureaucracy to gobble money faster than those who do produce in our society can produce within our society. While there is probably no total cure for the welfare dilemma that has faced mankind for so many centuries, surely in an age of such rapid change and courageous vision, and since past attempts have failed, it is time to try some new bold adventures in an attempt to find a more complete solution.  It is time to go back to our basic objective and start all over again.




I know that the members of this Legislature are going to stand behind our Premier when he speaks down there in Ottawa and says that B.C. is ready to give the people of our Province - all the people of our Province - a good standard of living.


February 12, 1970


Mr. Robert Strachan (NDP)


Almost 30 per cent of the people of Canada are living in poverty, despite the fact, that the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25, passed in 1948, is not being met. Thirty per cent of the people of Canada are living in poverty.


March 20, 1980


Mr. Emery Barnes (NDP):


Mr. Matijevich was a resident of the downtown east side, one of the most under-represented, least-considered communities in our province. It's a bottom-of the-road, under-the-carpet community, one of the places where politicians feel safe in escaping their responsibilities to citizens who have, for perhaps no reason of their own, found themselves without resources, means or opportunities to pull themselves up by the bootstraps, as is commonly suggested by those people who have been successful in this competitive society of ours.




I would like to read a request submitted to the hon. Provincial Secretary of today, Mr. Evan Wolfe. This is on behalf of the Downtown Eastside Residents Association, an organization that attempts to make up for the neglect that takes place in that area due to petty politics on behalf of partisan people who do not recognize the right of all citizens in this province to access to government, to the due process of law and the opportunity to live at at least a minimum level of dignity. This is submitted by Mr. Bruce Eriksen, the president of the association, requesting these funds be applied in the interest that Mr. Matijevich intended them: "In the downtown east side of Vancouver there are thousands of recluses, elderly people, former miners, loggers, fishermen, construction workers, etc., who are spending the balance of their lives shut up in small cockroach- and vermin-infested rooms just as Dan Matijevich did when he was living here.


February 14, 2007


Hon. G. Campbell (Premier, Lib.):


As the Leader of the Opposition will know, the province has not reduced resources for child care. In fact, we've expanded subsidies for people for child care. Families with incomes of $38,000 or less are supported in terms of the subsidies we're providing. We provided for thousands of additional child care spaces in British Columbia, and I'd invite…. [Applause.]


The throne speech yesterday highlighted special initiatives we're undertaking to expand early childhood learning in British Columbia with 80 StrongStart centres across this province.


This government is committed to children. It's committed to the future, and I think that's one of the key elements that the throne speech showed every British Columbian.




Carole. James (Leader of the Official Opposition, NDP):


We continue to see the Premier and this government close their ears to the facts. The government cannot run away from the clear fact that they are cutting child care in British Columbia. B.C. was the only province that sat silent as the federal government slashed programs for children. Yesterday the throne speech failed to mention the parents across this province who are struggling to find affordable, quality child care. [...] Let me take a few minutes to measure the Premier's rhetoric in yesterday's throne speech with the reality of the Premier's actions over the last six years.  [...] Now he and his government are walking away.


We'll also remember that last fall the Premier promised action on poverty and homelessness. A few months later, in the throne speech, this crisis only gets a passing mention. It's a crisis that has reached alarming proportions under this government's leadership, a crisis that is tearing at the hearts of our communities, that is overwhelming our capacity to cope with too few resources and no support from this government.


It's a crisis that is getting international attention. A recent article in The Economist warned that the crisis is disfiguring Vancouver's international reputation. It told the world about statistics that have become depressingly familiar to people here at home. In the past three years the number of homeless has doubled. On any given night 1,800 citizens are living on Vancouver streets. More than 40,000 people are at risk of being homeless, and there are more than 10,000 people on B.C.'s housing wait-list.


The Economist could have mentioned, but didn't, the fact that B.C. now has, once again, the highest child poverty rate in this country. We also have the fastest-growing gap between the rich and the poor of any province.


There's only one way to describe this record. It is shameful, in a province like British Columbia, to see these statistics. In a province as rich as ours it's inexcusable, and the responsibility lies at the Premier's feet. The Premier deliberately chose to make the most vulnerable among us bear the heaviest price for his agenda.




Leonard Krog (NDP):


Here we are in 2007, several budgetary surpluses in a row, and nothing is forthcoming. The fact is that if you believe in the values that motivated the founding of my political party at least — and indeed the founding of the Social Credit Party, for that matter — then your compassion should move you to do something, then your sense of human decency should move you to do something.


February 19, 2007


Doug Routley (NDP):


I rise today to speak on the issue of homelessness and poverty. Homelessness and poverty are words that are incongruent with the message that is coming from the government these days. These days the government talks of booms and job creation. It doesn't talk of the many thousands of people who lie in our streets, sleep under our bridges and suffer in the cold and the wet.


We as legislators find ourselves here this morning in this warm chamber discussing the very intellectual qualities of governance of this province while the practical reality of governance of this province is being experienced on the cold, hard streets and sidewalks of our cities and even our smallest towns.


My first critic role in this House was that of housing and homelessness critic. I have to say that, personally, I have never witnessed a greater dichotomy between the issues of housing and the issues of those who have no home; between the issues of those who hope for a warm place to sleep and raise their children, raise their families, and of those who have no such hope.


I saw a made-in-B.C. building boom driving our economy, a made-in-Asia resource boom driving our economy, a made-in-North-America housing boom that this government has coupled with a made-in-B.C. poverty boom.


We have seen the number of children living in poverty continue to grow in this province. We saw a seniors budget and speech from the government that promised great things to those seniors who feel so vulnerable — barely able to provide for themselves in terms of housing and now barely able to feed themselves, making the choice between food and medicine on a regular basis.


We saw that budget and that speech, and what we saw after that time was seniors leading the homeless, leading the growth in homeless. Seniors are the largest growing demography amongst the homeless.


February 21, 2007


Bruce Ralston (NDP):


[D]espite the riches of the province and the bounty that's reflected in the financial coffers of the province, many of these problems, many of these challenges have not been addressed in this budget. This budget is a colossal missed opportunity and, I would say, a complete failure on behalf of the people of British Columbia.




Hon. Ida Chong (Lib.):


First of all, let me begin by saying I am very pleased to be able to rise today to respond to Balanced Budget 2007. I begin by saying that this is not the first budget I have heard. In fact, this is about the 11th budget that I have heard.


I understand the role that the opposition feels they have to play. They feel they have to oppose everything. But honestly, the rhetoric that I have heard on the other side to date has been pathetic — absolutely pathetic. The desperation they must feel to oppose is pretty clear, because by all accounts, it's a pretty exciting, bold, assertive, aggressive, comprehensive budget.




Robin Austin (NDP):


 It is no wonder that we have the highest child poverty rate in Canada at a time when we are in a so-called boom. This government has left many people behind, and yesterday's budget does little to assist them in being able to experience the economic success that they see in other parts of the province. The cost of housing is so expensive in this province that if one compared the new shelter rate with that of, say, Regina or St. John's, I'm sure that we are still far behind in assisting people to put a roof over their heads.




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