Charlottetown residents stand together against poverty:Island New Democrats leader among those gathered outside Province House

They are part of a very large group of people all around the world that wants to make poverty history, said the leader of the Island New Democrats on Oct. 17.

About 65 Charlottetown residents stood outside Province House in the pouring rain to take part in the worldwide Stand Up Against Poverty campaign. It was one of thousands of global demonstrations taking place over the weekend.

Guest speakers included Marie Burge of the P.E.I. Working Group for Livable Income and Island New Democrat leader James Rodd.

The protest began with an introduction from Cotelle Mackintosh, one of the organizers of the event.

Stand Up Against Poverty is a  global mobilization which calls upon society, schools, businesses and non-governmental organizations to band together with a message about the need to make poverty history, said Mackintosh.

“We are demanding that world leaders, including our own federal government, keep the promises they made back in the year 2000 to achieve the millennium development goals. To eradicate extreme poverty and develop a global partnership development plan all by the year 2015.

“We still have a long way to go.”

Following a short presentation from A Dare to Remember, Burge took the podium.

The P.E.I. Working Group for a Livable Income looks at how poverty affects a society and looks for a solution, she said.

“There is a solution and it would take very little effort on the part of the federal government and of our provincial government to create a poverty reduction strategy. We should feel ashamed that Canada does not have a poverty reduction strategy.”

Federal and provincial governments haven’t been living up to past promises to eliminate poverty and create livable income initiatives, she said

When governments do give money to help fund the fight against poverty, it is often for the wrong reasons, she said.

“We are concerned about the fact that even when governments create polices, most of the time they are only creating them out of charity rather than social justice. Charitable policies that only give a little bit here and there. It is a charity model that does not promote social justice for all people.”

The amount given in foreign aid is a disgrace, she said.

“Canada is showing that we don’t care about how the rest of the world lives or how our own citizens do.”

Rodd said the world has more than enough wealth and resources to eliminate both poverty and hunger, but the political and social will is lacking.

“The people of the planet Earth and her governments have not yet fully acknowledged the need to ensure that every individual has the right to the most basic level of sustenance.”

Governments should be held accountable, he said.

“Think about what our governments are doing. What can you do here today as individuals standing outside of Province House in Charlottetown to make poverty history? You can start by acknowledging that you are a part of a large group of people from around the world who want to make poverty history and are willing to make the elimination of poverty a part of their lives.”

Leader of the Island New Democrats, James Rodd speaking outside of Province House during the Stand Up Against Poverty rally. Conway photo

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