Last week, CPJ had the privilege of attending the kick-off reception for the All-Party Anti-Poverty Caucus (APC) on Parliament Hill. The APC will bring together parliamentarians, civil society organizations, community leaders, researchers, and other key stakeholders to find concrete solutions for reducing poverty. APC co-chair MP Jean Crowder expressed her thanks to the CPJ co-led Dignity for All campaign and acknowledged the role of our February 14th public event, “What’s Next? How do we Address Poverty in Canada”, in laying the groundwork for this non-partisan dialogue.
Over 40 parliamentarians – including Conservatives, NDP and Liberals – have signed-up for the APC, which will begin regularly meeting when the House resumes this fall.
There’s certainly no shortage of worthy issues the APC could choose to look at: affordable housing, labour and employment, food security issues, the need for a national childcare program, the social determinants of health, or income security and inequality (perhaps building on Liberal MP Scott Brison’s successful motion in the House last week that called for the Finance Committee to undertake a study on income inequality in Canada), just to name a few.
But let’s hope the APC doesn’t look at these issues in isolation. They’re all inter-connected. A person working full-time but not earning a fair, living wage, still might not able to access decent, safe housing if there’s simply not enough affordable housing available. A single mom wanting to upgrade her skills and education in pursuit of a better livelihood won’t be able to make it work without subsidized daycare spaces. Poor people will continue to live in poor health if food security issues aren’t addressed. Let’s hope the APC joins CPJ and members of the Dignity for All campaign in calling for a coordinated, comprehensive approach to addressing poverty and a national poverty reduction strategy. And let’s hope talk translates into action.
We’ll keep you posted as the APC rolls up its sleeves in September.