Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Free Lunch provided by Food Not Bombs and Public Speak Out ...

Wednesday February 28th, 2007
Confederation Park

with members of PCAP, Marion Burton - President of the Peterborough and
District Labour Council, and Linda Slavin - member of Ontario Needs a
Raise Campaign, Ontario Coalition for Social Justice, and the Mayor’s Task
Force on Poverty Reduction.

March to MPP Jeff Leal’s office to demand accountability from the MPP who
gave himself a 25% raise while his government continues to deny people the
means to get by.

Social assistance rates and minimum wages are dangerously inadequate - so
low that many people are forced to choose between paying the rent or
putting food on the table.

Contact PCAP at 749-9694 or for more information

The 25% Raise equals an extra $22,000 annually for MPPs – their raise
alone is $15,000 more than a single person received from welfare in
Ontario in 2005. Meanwhile, the Liberals have only provided measly amounts
to Ontario’s lowest earners. A 5% raise to OW and ODSP rates is sorely
short of the 40% required to meet basic necessities – hardly a ‘raise,’
forty percent would only restore the 21.7% Tory cut to welfare while fully
compensating for cost of living increases.

At 40 hours of work per week minimum wage earners are still below the
poverty line and $2 short of earning the $10 per hour required for a
living wage. Their 3.2% raise to $8.00 on February 1st means that the
lowest paid workers in the province settled for a 25 cent raise while some
of the highest paid get a 25% raise. Without a commitment beyond the
February 2007 increase to raise the minimum wage, the working poor will be
once again be stranded in poverty. We demand that MPP Jeff Leal support a
40% raise to social assistance rates and the passage of the private
bill (150) to boost Ontario's minimum wage to $10.

The Ontario Liberal Government, which was elected on a platform of change,
has done little to reverse the Tory’s anti-poor agenda and has done almost
nothing to improve the living conditions of poor people. The Liberals
have made miserable token gestures when serious action was called for.
They cut the Special Diet Policy under which huge numbers of social
assistance recipients were obtaining relief from poverty and hunger. Any
they still haven’t kept their promise to end the clawback of the National
Child Benefit Supplement. Now, to add insult to injury, the Liberals have
passed a 25% raise for MPPs.

We face a government reaching the end of its term that has raised
assistance rates and minimum wage by an insulting fraction of what it
would take for the rates to be livable. We face government at each level
that intentionally denies people the means to get by. But the government
faces communities that refuse to go back to the old choices between
dignity or rent. They face people who have joined the fight for a decent
income, who are demanding it from their welfare workers, their city
councillors and their MPPs. They face people willing to fight for
what they deserve.

PCAP and our allies across Ontario are organizing in a major way to get
the rates raised. We know the liberals have the money – the 25% MPP pay
raise proves it - but we will have to fight to get it. We know that we
won’t get a raise unless we come out in record numbers and put continued
pressure on the Liberals to stop padding their own pockets and give us
what we deserve. We will be heard!