Poverty Elimination: We can achieve it.

April 4, 2016


At the Nova Scotia NDP’s 2014 Convention, we affirmed one of our fundamental policy positions—that the eradication of poverty is a core mission of our Party.

When we passed that Poverty Elimination resolution, we did more than simply reaffirm a set of feel-good traditional NDP words.

We resolved that when we come back into government we will see poverty eradicated “…within a period defined and set…”, that we will create “measurable goals in the areas of the reduction of income inequality, food insecurity, and income inadequacy…”, and, what’s more, we will establish an “ongoing and precise” monitoring system to oversee the process of poverty elimination.

This is not a half-way resolution.  It is a resolution with bite and force, a statement of determined intention from members of a Party that is committed to seeing this game-changing job completed.

On March 22 I was pleased to meet with five members of the North Dartmouth, Spryfield and North-end Halifax branches of the low-and-medium income advocacy organization ACORN, to learn of their priorities for their community.

They told me about the need to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour. They spoke of the strong action required on the many problems that plague deteriorating public housing. They stressed that life on social assistance must be improved by governments, not made worse. They shared numerous other proposals that seek to improve life for the 99 per cent.

What struck me, as we talked, was how important it will be to so many people, in so many aspects of their everyday lives, when we begin to realize our Poverty Elimination intentions. Solving these problems is the very purpose of government, and our NDP.

And, of course, what a great difference it will make for all of us when we eradicate poverty.

For what we know about poverty and inequality is this: societies that are more equal are more successful, in nearly every category that can be assessed.  Their people are healthier, better educated, happier, more creative, less violent (and spend a lot less time in prison).  They are much more like the society the majority of us would prefer to live in.

Getting there more than makes sense.  It is necessary and it is a great goal for all of us.

We have much to learn from the activists of ACORN, and the many other social movement groups who are our allies and our friends.

In solidarity and hope,