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LETTER: Where is the commitment on fighting poverty

The minimum wage is being raised another pittance on P.E.I. and there is again discussion about how adequate this will be in addressing the poverty prevalent on P.E.I. It isn't and the NDP along with social justice groups have for several years called for an increase to $15 an hour here and across the country.

Along with this increase of course would have to be measures to help small businesses absorb the cost.

It isn't just low wages that keep people poor, in bad health and in mental anguish, it is the mean spirited charity model used for providing social assistance and other "help" to low income Islanders.

Recently it has come to our attention that the government has put its standard social assistance eligibility rules in place for furnace oil provided by the Salvation Army. Apparently those on social assistance cannot access this program because they are already getting financial help. In other words they are getting enough charity. Nevermind that in fact many are not getting social assistance for heating fuel.

What also is not getting traction is the proposal put forward to the P.E.I. government that they adopt a Basic Income Guarantee pilot project.

The P.E.I. NDP has called for this since the early 1990s based on a pilot project undertaken in Manitoba in the early 1970s and elsewhere in the world. The P.E.I. Working Group for a Liveable Income has spent several years discussing this at the community level and gathering information on the idea.

The P.E.I. NDP asks, where is the commitment of our government to actually do something about poverty?

Chris Clay

Vision Team Member on Poverty


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