Photo by Kevin Jones.
The Council of Canadians London chapter took part in a Raise the Rates campaign action yesterday.
As noted on the campaign’s website, “The Raise the Rates Campaign, a coalition of poor people fighting back along with community and union allies, is not buying into [Ontario premier] Kathleen Wynne’s ‘social justice austerity’. We are demanding living wages, decent income, the reversing of cutbacks and adequate and secure ODSP [Ontario Disability Support Program] benefits. …The Raise the Rates Campaign is calling on local communities to challenge MPPs during the week of May 18. During that week, they will be in their constituency offices and this is an ideal time to challenge the austerity and growing poverty that is being imposed in this Province.”
They highlight that:
The minimum wage has been set at a level that leaves people in poverty.
Those on Ontario Works (OW) and ODSP are living on incomes that leave them unable to feed themselves and pay the rent.
The real value of social assistance payments has fallen by some 55% since 1994 and people have continued to get poorer during the years the Liberals have been in office.
The vital Community Start Up benefit that kept people housed has been taken away.
Many people on ODSP are now facing medical reviews that threaten to take away their income.
CUPE Ontario adds, “MPPs will be in their constituency offices [the week of May 18-22], making it an ideal time to challenge the austerity and growing poverty being imposed in the province. The Liberals have long presented themselves as a kinder alternative to the Tories, but in reality are imposing a range of cuts on poor people and communities.”
The London chapter protested outside the constituency office of London North Centre MPP Deb Matthews. She is an important MPP for the campaign to reach in that she is the President of the Treasury Board and Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy. In a Facebook post, chapter activist Robert Cory notes, “London CoC joined with London Common Front to tell Deb Matthews that austerity measures are not acceptable and that everyone deserves a fair wage!”