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There's an election going on. Who's talking about poverty?

Press Conference calls attention to forgotten group of people on Income Assistance

by Robert Devet

The Community Advocates Network is trying to get poverty on the radar of politicians during this election. Amy Moonshadow is the Chair of the group.  Photo Robert Devet
The Community Advocates Network is trying to get poverty on the radar of politicians during this election. Amy Moonshadow is the Chair of the group. Photo Robert Devet

"We are holding this press conference because we want people to vote. After all, public policy is decided by the people we elect."

Those were the opening words of Amy Moonshadow, speaking at a press conference called by the Community Advocates Network, an organization of people on low income and their allies. The press conference took place at Veith House in North End Halifax on October 2nd.

But more than anything the theme of the press conference was how people on low income feel abandoned by politicians and bureaucrats alike.

"Poverty is not on the radar. No matter what government it is and no matter what candidate it is, they are speaking about things that are important to middle class people, or people they know for sure will vote," said Ann Duffy, member of the group.

Kendall Worth spoke about his ultimately futile efforts to regain a Special Needs diet allowance that helped him control a disability. In September Worth wrote about his experience with what he felt were uncaring Community Services case workers and bureaucrats.

"Absolutely no one wants to talk about income assistance during this campaign," said Wayne MacNaughton, long time poverty activist.

"The reality is that increases in Income Assistance and tax credits have not allowed people on Income Assistance even to keep pace with inflation," said MacNaughton.

"And that is even more true outside of metro. In metro we have been faced with increases in power bills, and increases in food prices. But when you get outside of metro and into rural Nova Scotia you are also dealing with heating oil and gasoline and so on," said MacNaughton.

A person in the audience asked why the place wasn't jampacked with supporters, given the severity of the problems people on low incomes face every day.

"They have given up, I think, and with reason," said MacNaughton. "They are saying it doesn't matter who you vote for, nobody ever helps us."

Duffy agreed, but added a second, very practical reason.

"You can't connect with [low income] people on the internet. You can't connect on facebook. It is rare enough for people to even have a phone, let alone anything else. It's not part of our budget, it's not part of how we are," said Duffy.

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Topics: Poverty
377 words


Atlantica addresses poverty

We have pledged to lower income taxes to the lowest in Canada. That means putting over a thousand dollars back into the hands of the average Nova Scotian including those on income assistance. Time to roll back poverty producing costs and taxes in Nova Scotia.

The neoliberal prescription

Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't the Atlantica Party pretty much want to dismantle social democratic structures and transfer payment programs in Nova Scotia as much as possible? Cutting taxes and trying to grow the economy to lift all boats....that's been tried.


Not at all. If you look at our Aternative Budget we have not touched the Community Services budget. We eliminate coporate subsidies and economic development since these are bad for the overall economy.

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