Volume 94, Issue 47

Wednesday, November 22, 2000


NEWS

Alliance visits Western

Massive report to USC tonight

Calgary high school stabbing shocking

Campaign 2000 attacks national children's poverty stats

Campus Briefs

Planet Me

Top parties surf for votes - Gazette evaluates big party Web sites

Campaign 2000 attacks national children's poverty stats

By Amy Daw
Gazette Writer

As federal election candidates continue their race for power, Campaign 2000 organizers are lobbying to put the issue of child-poverty on campaign agendas.

Nov. 24 marks the 11th anniversary of a House of Commons' all-party resolution which aimed to eliminate child poverty in Canada by the year 2000.

Yet, a study released Monday by Campaign 2000, a nation-wide anti-poverty coalition, revealed the number of poor children in Canada has increased by 43 per cent over the last 10 years.

Statistics show that one in five children in Canada are living in poverty, said Colin Hughes, chair of the Metro Toronto Campaign 2000. "It's pathetic really, that child poverty has not been a political issue in the federal election."

"Canada needs to be really concerned," Hughes said. "The Campaign 2000 statistics revealed the poverty problem has shifted from belonging to single mothers on welfare, to single mothers in the labour market."

Jacqueline Bradshaw, executive director for the United Nations International Children's Fund for Ontario, said the booming economy is causing a rise in inflation and pushing the cost of living up.

At the same time, minimum wage has not risen nor has the availability of affordable housing, she said. UNICEF released a report on child poverty in June 2000 and ranked Canada 17th among the world's 23 richest nations, in terms of addressing child poverty rates, Bradshaw added.

Ron Hallman, a press officer for the Liberal party, said the government is moving in the right direction on the issue of child poverty. "There were 178,000 fewer children living in poverty in 1998 then there were in 1996," he said. "The Liberal party has focused on a real children's agenda during this campaign, unlike some other parties who have chose to focus on tax cuts."

He said the Liberals have a plan to invest $nine billion into the Canadian Child Tax Benefit program by the year 2004. "This means that nine out of 10 families will benefit," Hallman said, adding there are also plans to invest $743 million towards the creation of affordable housing rental units for families.

Executive director of the United Way for London and Middlesex County, Helen Connell, said the London community needs to have a deeper understanding of the poverty issue.

"This isn't just a problem which should be solved by government. It's a partnership between governments, community and individuals," she said. "We can all make a difference."


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