18 SEPTEMBER 2010
It’s About the Next Generation
Green Party leader Jack MacDougall announced today that the Green Party’s poverty reduction plan begins with putting more money into the hands of those who need it most. The party would immediately increase income assistance rates to the Newfoundland and Labrador level, the highest in the Atlantic region. Over time the rates would increase until they reach the low income cut-off level for New Brunswick as set by Statistics Canada. New Brunswick social assistance levels are among the lowest in Canada.
For a government to commit to reducing poverty and then pay social assistance rates far below the poverty line is hypocritical, MacDougall stated. That is permanently entrenching people in poverty who are not able to participate in the workforce, and keeping those people who need temporary help from getting themselves out of a rut.
Bethany Thorne-Dykstra is the Green Party social justice critic and head of the group, Real Voice of Poverty. The Green Party believes that the best investment of tax dollars is in our people. If people have the means to live dignified lives, then they will contribute to building our communities, Thorne-Dykstra commented.
The benefits of putting more money into the hands of those who need it most will be realized in healthier lifestyles, better school performance, reduced demand on justice and health systems, a greater sense of dignity and personal autonomy, and for those who are able, a faster transition to the workforce.
MacDougall said the money needed to do this would come from a reallocation of money now spent on bolstering the corporate sector. Our best development strategy is investing in our people, not outside corporations or sunset industries. Giving money to corporations just funnels money out of New Brunswick to foreign shareholders. Every dollar spent by low-income families supports the local economy.