Posts Tagged ‘assist’

Are they Trying or Lying?

May 17, 2008

This article originates from, and is republished with the permission of, the Toronto-based Ontario Coalition Against Poverty.


Evolution Part #2

March 24, 2008

Hard on the heels of the previous ‘toon which Clay Butler suggests is ‘proof that we didn’t evolve from apes,’ an A-Channel report and accompanying video which supports that premise. Apparently, our species is not evolved enough to deserve such intelligent anscestry.


Home Ownership Help

January 8, 2008

add to  Add to Blinkslist  add to furl  Digg it  add to ma.gnolia  Stumble It!  add to simpy  seed the vine  Reddit  Fark  TailRank

The City of London issued a media release today, about a new home-ownership assistance program.


Events – 2007/12/03

December 3, 2007

Date: 2007/12/03 (Monday)  
When: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm  
Where: London InterCommunity Health Centre
659 Dundas Street
What: Toy & Food Drive  
To learn more, contact Brenda Craig 519-660-0874 (ext. 228).

Date: 2007/12/03 (Monday)  
When: 5:00 pm – ?  
Where: City Hall
300 Dufferin Avenue
What: Council Meeting  
London City Council. To download the meeting agenda, click HERE. Reports from committees: BOC (2007/11/28) , CAPS (2007/11/26) , ETC (2007/11/26) , PLANNING (2007/11/26)

NDP Pay Pledge

September 13, 2007

pig picKerry Gillespie correctly writes that “The NDP have long cried foul over the wage hike Liberal and Progressive Conservatives MPPs voted for just before Christmas” (“Hampton vows $10 wage, MPP pay cut“; Toronto Star; 2007/09/13). He tells us that Hampton has “vowed” to “immediately” raise the minimum wage to $10 “if elected” and then “index it to inflation.”

To begin with, if you hop on over to the NDP site you’ll see that this is listed under “Headlines” as a “Key Commitment” instead of one of the Party “Campaigns.”

Next, a reminder that political promises are worth a big fat ZERO. No politician can be trusted to keep them, even if he’s wearing NDP orange. Remember the NDP’s policies re: Sunday Shopping, Public Auto Insurance, etc. and what happened after Bob Rae was elected?

Does the fact that Mr. Hampton is raising the stakes matter to you? A vow, I’m sure you know, is more than just a simple promise. It is a promise before God. Does Mr. Hampton even believe in God? Does it matter? Mr. McGuinty is a Catholic, and that didn’t stop his record number of broken promises in the last election campaign.

Even if Hampton and the NDP genuinely care about the poor, does the vow platform promise commitment talking point go far enough?

The minimum wage shouldn’t just be indexed to inflation. That won’t do anything to suppress the growing disparity between the rich and the poor in our society. That won’t do anything to keep our political “leaders” in touch with the reality of being poor. As I have advocated for so long, better to tie political salaries to what people on social assistance receive.

2007/09/13 – NDP promises to raise…
2007/09/13 – Globe and Mail: Ontario NDP promises $10 minimum wage
2007/09/13 – LFP: Hampton promises to roll MPP raise back
2007/09/14 – Toronto Star: Hampton vows $10 wage, MPP pay cut
2007/09/14 – Globe and Mail: NDP in office would increase…

Khalil Ramal’s PR BS

September 4, 2007
FlickOffLiberals graphic
pig pic
Pigs at the Trough

Notwithstanding the fact that the election writ hasn’t been dropped and this is therefore legal, I find it distasteful that London-Fanshawe Liberal MPP Khalil Ramal’s office just sent out a full-colour glossy 5.5″ x 8.5″ PR postcard.

The justification from politicians for these things (and politicians of EVERY political stripe do it) is that it’s to keep their constituents updated about what’s going on. But, come on… how informative are they, ever? Truth is, these things are mainly taxpayer-funded PR pieces. The intent is to raise the politician’s name recognition, the biggest single factor in electoral success.

What I find most objectionable about this mailout, is the attempt to portray Ramal as somebody who is responsive to his constituents because he was “moved” by a purportedly oxycontin-influenced double-suicide and thereafter “introduced a private member’s bill to monitor the prescription of drugs like this one.”

Tugs at your heart strings, doesn’t it? I’m sure that it’s meant to.

Well, I’m another one of Ramal’s constituents. How responsive has he been to me?

To begin with, he didn’t demonstrate any respect for my democratic rights when I tried to contest the last municipal election and ran into a roadblock by ODSP and asked him for assistance. Apparently, that didn’t bother him at all.

Ask yourself this question… If Mr. Ramal doesn’t have any respect for the democratic rights of other citizens (and the right to participate in the democratic process is about as fundamental as it gets), then does Mr. Ramal have any moral right to hold public office himself?

Another example. I’ve been very active trying to promote pedestrian rights and speaking out about pedestrian safety issues. I was instrumental in having London police do a study about the intersection at Commissioners/Pond Mills, which is in the riding that Mr. Ramal represents. It’s one of those “channelized” intersections which are becoming increasingly popular with city engineers, and they’re characterized by rounded corners and pedestrian “islands.” In the study, London police confirm that this design is dangerous to pedestrians. Has Mr. Ramal shown any concern about this? Has he discussed the situation with the city? According to my recent Freedom of Information appeal, the answer is NO. Has he responded to me? The answer is NO.

I’ll give him credit for this though… he doesn’t seem to miss very many photo op’s.


Determining Social Assistance Rates

August 28, 2007
FlickOffLiberals graphic
pig pic
Pigs at the Trough

In a 1988 Transitions report, the Ontario government reviewed social assistance programs and found them to be inadequate. Almost 20 years later, some Hamilton poverty activists who are tired of waiting for elected officials to give a damn have decided to lend a hand.1

The Ontario Social Assistance Rate Determination Act, 2007 is draft legislation “to create and empower a civilian panel and charge them with researching, reviewing and revising the benefit rates for Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program” and “directs the panel to create regionally different rates based an actual costs.”

The draft law also directs the panel to include funding for fire insurance and to base food expenditures on the price of the “healthy food basket” data collected by each regional health department every year; it would also more closely track energy and utility costs for the recipients, all of which goes well beyond the current calculations used in arriving at a social assistance rate.2

The proposed law has the support of community legal clinics.

Poverty activists push for civilian panel
An Open Letter to MPPs

London’s Board of Health re Social Assistance Rates

March 16, 2007

You may recall the letter that I sent to the Middlesex-London Health Unit about the inadequacy of social assistance rates.

At it’s 2007/02/15 meeting, London’s Board of Health reviewed Report No. 019-07 re Food Security Advocacy and passed a number of resolutions.

According to Dr. Graham Pollett (Medical Officer of Health):

It was moved by Mr. Edmondson, seconded by Rev. Eagle:

  1. That the Board of Health request the Premier of Ontario to increase social assistance benefit rates so that the Basic Allowance includes a nutrition allowance which meets daily nutritional needs as determined annually by the cost of the Nutritious Food Basket, and that the remainder of the Basic Allowance be set to enable recipients to afford other basic needs including transportation, clothing, and personal care items; and further
  2. That the Board of Health request the Premier of Ontario to publish annually the details of current social assistance rate components and how they are determined, including the nutrition allowance portion of the Basic Allowance; and further
  3. That The Board of Health request the Premier of Ontario to increase the provincial minimum wage to allow low income workers to purchase adequate nutritious food, as well as shelter and other basic needs; and further
  4. That the Board of Health request the Minister of Health Promotion to update the Nutritious Food Basket costing tool, based on the revised Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating; and further
  5. That the Board Report re Food Security Advocacy be forwarded for review and action to London City Council, Middlesex County Council, Local MPs and MPPs, and appropriate community agencies.

The resolution (#3) does not specify an amount, though the body of the Report supports an increase to $10 per hour.”

My thanks to Councillor Susan Eagle for her assistance. According to the Councillor, “Last night, the minutes were approved, so the resolutions are official.”

You can read the resolutions plus additional background information here:

New Help for Struggling London Families

February 3, 2007

In today’s London Free Press, “Pilot project offers help to struggling city families” by Patrick Maloney describes a new pilot project called Family Networks which will hopefully reduce the number of Children’s Aid Society interventions which are necessary.

Networks Project Adds Up” (LFP editorial)  discloses that there are “850 kids under age 16 are in CAS care here,” a dramatic doubling of local kids entering CAS care over the last decade. Like the editorial says, “some figures stop us in our tracks.”

Nutrition Allowance for Social Assistance Recipients

January 30, 2007

My letter 2007/01/30 letter to the London-Middlesex Board of Health with respect to a nutrition allowance for social assistance recipients:

Mr. Tom McLaughlin, Chair
London-Middlesex Board of Health
c/o London-Middlesex Health Unit

Please be advised that I wish to draw to your attention, today’s excellent Toronto Star article entitled “Meal subsidy sought for poor.”

In the article, Donovan Vincent quotes the Toronto Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David McKeown, with having said that the province “ought to increase social assistance rates to include a ‘nutrition allowance’ to help the poor pay for healthy meals.”

Kindly respond, indicating whether or not the London-Middlesex Board of Health has ever adopted a similar stance and communicated that position to the Ontario provincial government? And if not, whether it might consider discussion of doing so on it’s next agenda?

I note that the costs cited in your “Nutritious Food Basket” ( article has not been updated since July 2006. Might I suggest that the Ontario government largesse (25 cents/hour increase to minimum wage vs. 25% increase in MPP salaries) has already been lost to inflation?

Also, there are no links from that article to any spreadsheet containing the actual components of said Food Basket or the costs attributed to those items. Might I ask for a bit more transparency please? How can I obtain said data which should be considered to be public information?


Mr. Greg Fowler,

2006 Ward 1 Municipal Candidate.

Toronto Board of Health Calls for Nutrition Allowance

January 30, 2007

Dr. David McKeown (Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health) is attributed as saying that the poor in Toronto aren’t eating properly because social assistance rates can’t cover both shelter and nutritious meals.

In “Meal subsidy sought for poor” (Toronto Star; 2007/01/30), Donovan Vincent reports that the Toronto Health Board uses a tool called the Nutritious Food Basket, which measures the amount of money needed to buy healthy foods such as rice, chicken, meat and vegetables. “66 specified foods are priced in at least six different grocery stores, including major supermarket chains and independent stores in Toronto. The measurement is based on a provincial method used by every public health unit in the province.”

According to Dr. McKeown, the components of the Food Basket are chosen based upon a premise that “It’s based on purchasing basic food ingredients. You have to have the skills to cook from scratch all of your meals… It’s not a rich diet. It takes no account of any kind of pre-processed or prepared food or eating out. It’s just the basics.”

The article quotes Dr. McKeown as saying that the Toronto Board of Health is asking the Ontario government “to take a different approach to setting social assistance rates: to set them based on the information the province asks us to collect about the cost of healthy eating” and has adopted the position that a nutrition allowance should be built into the basic allowance in social assistance.