Press Release: Cautious Speech from the Throne Fails to Address Poverty


Ottawa, ON: June 3, 2011 - The Speech from the Throne heralding the start of the 41st Parliament held no surprises, a few bright lights and some important gaps.

Citizens for Public Justice greeted with pleasure the commitment to permanently enhance the Guaranteed Income Supplement for Canada’s seniors. It was also encouraging to see the acknowledgement of several key Aboriginal issues, namely access to clean water and the need for improvements to education.

“We were glad to see that the new government realizes the importance of these issues,” said Chandra Pasma, public justice policy analyst for CPJ, “And Monday’s budget will show what these commitments mean in concrete terms.”

It was with disappointment, however, that CPJ noted the absence yet again of any mention of domestic poverty. The only mention of ‘vulnerable populations’ was made in relation to crime with no acknowledgement of the approximately 4 million Canadians made truly vulnerable by poverty and its associated issues. Furthermore, no mention was made of decisive federal action to address climate change despite Canada’s lagging role on the world stage in favour of environmental justice.

“While there are certainly areas of disappointment in this speech for those who wish to see action on poverty and climate change,” commented socio-economic policy analyst Karri Munn-Venn, “There are some hopeful signs. In Proverbs 31: 8-9, we are called to ‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves ... defend the rights of the poor and needy’ and CPJ will continue to do just that as the 41st Parliament begins its work.”

Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) is a national organization of members inspired by faith to seek justice in Canadian public policy.

For more information, contact:

Chandra Pasma, Policy Analyst -- 1-800-667-8046 / 613-232-0275, ext. 223

Karri Munn-Venn, Policy Analyst -- 1-800-667-8046 / 613-232-0275, ext. 222n/a