By Rebekah Sears | Wednesday, September 30th, 2009 - 12:46PM
As a Christian, I carry my faith with me wherever I go. It is a part of who I am and it is the motivation behind many of the things I do. But how can I reconcile that with everyday life? Can I find a balance between my faith, my work, and my free time? What role can faith play in my engagement in public activities?
Last week I attended a public lecture with Dr. John Stackhouse, a professor from Regent College in Vancouver. His presentation, entitled Behaving in public: Christian engagement in public life, addressed many of these questions through examples and practical approaches to finding a balance between faith and work. Read more »
Many Canadians believe it is inappropriate to pay people for "doing nothing." This notion is related to our cultural norms and values around work and income security. Our cultural valuing of economic growth, and therefore productivity, affects how we value people and what we consider to be work worth doing. In order to truly value people and their activities, regardless of income, we need to relinquish our focus on productivity and re-focus our attention on people. Read more »
Citizens for Public Justice invites you to join us for an evening of celebration and entertainment.
Join us as we come together to celebrate our achievements, stand together to renew our commitment and show our solidarity with the poor on this International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Read more »
On Friday, September the 18th, the City of Ottawa held a public consultation on a Proposed Ottawa Poverty Reduction Strategy.
The vision behind the strategy is “All residents of Ottawa living in dignity, in a community that fosters participation and inclusion for all.” It was founded on the beliefs that all residents of Ottawa must be able to meet their basic needs, that the community must come together to create change, and that there must be efforts to both raise awareness as well as concrete actions to reduce poverty. Read more »
By Rebekah Sears | Thursday, September 24th, 2009 - 3:15PM
As Canadians we boast about our easy access to a variety of material resources, services and activities that enhance our lives and generate a sense of well-being and happiness. Such resources include the necessities of life such as food and shelter, but also include other things, such as quality health services, and the ability to feel connected to communities through newspapers, cell phones, and participation in cultural activities or events.
But to what extent are such services and activities accessible to all Canadians? The answer may come as a surprise. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) released a report earlier today by Steve Kerstetter on income inequality in Canada. According to the report, entitled The Affordability Gap: Spending Differences between Canada’s Rich and Poor, the poorest 20% of Canadian households do not have access to the resources that many Canadians consider to be essential. Read more »
By Mariel Angus | Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 - 4:18PM
During the last few weeks of August, I was reflecting on my return to university when an article in the Globe and Mail caught my attention. Dave McGinns had written a piece describing some of the creative strategies used by university students to stretch out their often meager food budgets throughout the school year. I thought some of his ideas – which included using coupons and taking advantage of student discounts – were pretty practical. But the article also made me reflect about the very real challenges that many students face in meeting basic needs such as food while pursuing their studies. Read more »
By Rebekah Sears | Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 - 1:55PM
The Report released last week by the Conference Board of Canada evaluating Canada’s record on poverty has generated reactions from various media outlets, including the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Canadian Press and CanWest News Service, as well as poverty alleviation and public justice organizations like CPJ. Carol Goar from the Toronto Star weighed in today with her reaction to the dramatic increase of seniors living in poverty in the last decade and a half, despite this issue being viewed as a success story for over a decade.
Goar describes how the rate of seniors living in poverty dropped from 36.9% to 2.9% from 1971 to 1995. This illustrated great success on the part of the government in improving and creating programs designed to help seniors. However, in the decade that followed 1995, the rates began to rise again, doubling by 2005 with a rate of 5.9%. Read more »
By Chandra Pasma | Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 - 10:10AM
Canadian democracy is broken. Macleans’ columnists Paul Wells and Andrew Coyne don’t beat around the bush with this conclusion. They identify sham elections, an irrelevant parliament, declining democracy within political parties, the triumph of tactics over policy, and the lack of decorum in politics as the symptoms of our democratic distress.
The fall colours are starting to creep in, and here at the CPJ offices, we’ve hit the ground running. Committee appearances, visiting members and leading workshops are just a few of the things keeping us busy these days.
Welcome to the September e-newsletter of Citizens for Public Justice. Join us as we speak out for change and call our governments to live out public justice. Read more »
By Rebekah Sears | Monday, September 21st, 2009 - 3:48PM
Across Canada, hundreds of thousands of people are affected by poverty. The impacts and consequences of poverty are diverse and can change depending on the region, setting, or individual involved.
Often, efforts to combat poverty focus on the larger urban centres. However, the problems of poverty are very evident in rural communities as well. Even within these communities, certain groups do not find that their particular needs are addressed due to overarching policies aimed at reducing poverty generally. Read more »
Budget decisions are unquestionably moral decisions: they reveal our values, affect how resources are allocated, and shape our common future as Canadians.We believe that our economy should be an economy of care, putting the well-being of people and of the earth at the heart of economic planning. By promoting dignity for all Canadians, strengthening social security, and supporting fairness and equal opportunity, Budget 2010 can help Canada to take steps towards an economy of care for all Canadians. Read more »
By Rebekah Sears | Friday, September 18th, 2009 - 1:40PM
Yesterday, the Conference Board of Canada (CBoC) published its annual ranking on society which includes reporting on Canada’s record on poverty in comparison with sixteen other industrialized countries. The ranking is part of a CBoC benchmarking exercise entitled “How Canada Performs: A Report Card on Canada” exploring Canada’s record in the global context from a variety of areas.
In the category of social performance, Canada was given a grade of “B”, and ranked 9th out of 17 countries. This ranking is one place up from last year, an increase largely due to Canada’s good record with intergenerational income mobility. However, when examining other indicators more closely, there are significant declines within the standards of Canadian society, especially considering poverty. Read more »
By Rebekah Sears | Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 - 1:37PM
On October 3, 2009, over a dozen cities across Canada are gearing-up (pun intended) for the 6th Annual Ride for Refugees through International Teams Canada. The Ride is a cycling event for everyone (no racing experience necessary!) and aims to raise awareness and support for refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), both abroad and in Canada.
Millions of people around the world are forced to live away from their homes, often in very poor conditions, due to war, violence, political oppression, and discrimination. International Teams Canada estimates that there are almost 70 million refugees and IDPs around the world. Read more »
By Rebekah Sears | Tuesday, September 15th, 2009 - 3:54PM
First, for all of our regular blog readers, let me introduce myself. My name is Rebekah Sears (please feel free to call me Bekah) and I am CPJ’s new policy intern. I am originally from New Brunswick, and have been living in Ottawa for the past two years while completing my MA in International Affairs from Carleton University.
For many years I have been passionate about mobilizing governments, communities, and individuals to become involved with social justice and the promotion of human dignity within the public sphere. These passions for dignity and justice are based on the Biblical foundation that all people are made in the image of God. In addition, I view publically promoting human rights and holding the government accountable as privileges and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship. Read more »
By Chandra Pasma | Tuesday, September 15th, 2009 - 1:49PM
After a summer of battling over employment insurance reform, the Conservative government announced yesterday that they intend to extend the length of EI benefits for unemployed workers who had held long-term jobs before joining the ranks of the unemployed.
It is not clear precisely what the criteria will be, only that benefits will be based on the number of years that workers paid premiums, with only a limited number of previous EI claims allowed in recent years. The extension will be between 5 and 20 weeks. Read more »
By Chandra Pasma | Monday, September 14th, 2009 - 1:32PM
Last week, we welcomed our newest CPJ policy intern, Rebekah Sears to the office. Rebekah is a native of Fredericton, New Brunswick, and so brings an East Coast perspective to CPJ’s office. She was raised in a home where political participation was strongly encouraged (if not required!), and where the role of faith in such actions was emphasized. From a young age, this foundation transpired into a passion for social justice and human rights, both in Canada and around the world, which has shaped many of her activities and interests. Read more »
Poverty Justice Camp, an Anglican Church event with participants from across Canada, was a week of intense experiences and reflections on poverty, charity, and justice. As a participant in the “urban poverty and homelessness” immersion group, I visited a number of service agencies and met a number of people they served. I was witness to the tremendous compassion and caring of front-line workers. The solidarity they demonstrated as they journey together with people facing marginalization and exclusion was truly inspirational. Read more »
With Parliament set to resume next week, it seems clear that the June show-down that resulted in the Blue Ribbon EI panel will resume where it left off. Accusations have been flying from both sides, and it looks likely this show-down will quickly move to the election arena.
In fact, this has been the pattern in the past few years of minority government: high stakes confrontations between political leaders, little or no policy vision, and attempts at cooperation destroyed by hyper-partisan behaviour. And rather than read the writing on the wall that minority governments are here for awhile, parties behave as if a majority government is inevitably beyond the next election. Everything is about that upcoming election: jockeying for position, scoring a few points, slinging mud at their opponents. Read more »