2009 marks 20 years — the span of an entire childhood — after the Canadian Parliament made a promise to end child poverty by the year 2000. Currently, 1 in 9 Canadian children still wonder where their next meal will come from, if they will have school supplies, and if they will have a warm bed at night. The promise was broken.
Campaign 2000 (named after the broken promise) is an organization dedicated to the advocacy of eradicating child poverty in Canada. Every year they write report cards to assess the nation’s progress in improving the state of child poverty. Sadly, the 2008 report reveals that “the nation’s child poverty rate is almost what it was in 1989 when Parliament unanimously resolved to end child poverty by the year 2000.”
That’s why activists have been vying to get Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to make poverty a priority on the upcoming budget. There is still time to sign an anti-poverty petition backed by these organizations before parliament resumes on January 26.
The petition calls on the government to:
- Create targets, timetables, benchmarks and a mechanism of accountability to the public
- Facilitate agreements with Provincial/ Territorial and Regional/ Municipal/ City Governments to lay the groundwork for a permanent poverty reduction plan
- Strengthen Employment Insurance
- Increase funding to Federal Work Tax Credits
- Implement further increases in funding to the Child Tax Benefit and the National Child Benefit Supplement, ending any planned claw backs
- Take immediate steps to implement a system of universally accessible early childhood education and care services
- Invest in affordable housing and improve existing supply
- Invest in initiatives to create new jobs that offer decent salaries and benefits
- Review the Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors
In case you missed it, the petition can be found here.