rights for CA homeless & poor proposed by NDP MP FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Thu, 2 Apr 1998 22:02:48 -0800 (PST)

Subject:      Davies: Human Rights & the Poor
=46rom:         thinker@uniserve.com (Ed Deak)
Date:         1998/03/27
Message-ID:   <E0yIcEi-0007RX-00@pop.uniserve.com>
Newsgroups:   flora.mai-not

>NEW FROM CANADA'S NDP                          MARCH 26, 1998
>(Aussi disponible en fran=E7ais.)
>(See Bank Merge fact sheet below)
>OTTAWA -- Vancouver East MP Libby Davies has proposed a private member's
>motion to add protection of poor and homeless people to Canada's human
>rights legislation.
>Davies, social policy critic for the federal NDP, is also working with the
>B.C. government to add "social condition" to the B.C. Human Rights Code.
>"There is growing momentum to stop discrimination against the poor and
>homeless," said Davies. "The federal NDP will continue to turn up the heat
>until we get action on this issue.
>"I have called on the federal government to set concrete targets to
>eliminate poverty and homelessness. That's got to be our goal. But in the
>meantime, we need to enact human rights protection for all vulnerable
>people in our society," said Davies.
>Davies welcomed this week's annual report from the Canadian Human Rights
>Commission, which criticized current human rights laws for ignoring poverty
>and homelessness as grounds for discrimination.
>"These comments will certainly help our efforts to promote human rights
>protection for the poor and homeless," Davies said.
>She pointed out that B.C. Human Rights Commissioner Mary-Woo Sims has also
>recommended adding "social condition" to the protected categories of the
>B.C. Human Rights Code. Davies has supported that recommendation in a
>letter to all B.C. MLAs.
>Davies noted that the Senate is also debating a motion to amend the Canada
>Human Rights Act to include "social condition" as a prohibited ground of
>"There are growing calls to correct this glaring omission from human rights
>protection," said Davies. "With my proposed motion, I hope to get this
>debate into the House of Commons so we can see where the MPs from other
>parties stand."
>Davies' motion reads:
>               "That in the opinion of this House, the government is urged
>to amend
>Canadian Human Rights Act to include 'social condition' as a prohibited
>ground of discrimination."
>The Liberal Government is sanctioning massive consolidation in the banking
>industry without regard for the interests of Canadian consumers or
>Canada's New Democratic Party opposes this move on the grounds that it is
>being driven by bogus global imperatives and simple corporate greed.
>A cornerstone of Canada's banking industry has been the "big shall not buy
>big" policy which states that Canada's Chartered banks are not permitted to
>merge.   The policy is designed to ensure that the Banks do not abuse their
>protected status by merging and acquiring dominant market shares.
>In recent times, the attitudes of the big banks and their senior executives
>have come to personify the greed and widening economic disparities that are
>associated with the new, deregulated global economy.
>It is an economy in which a privileged few are getting richer while most of
>us work ever harder for diminishing returns.  Recent record breaking profit
>levels and champagne popping pay and bonus packages for bank executives
>illustrate how out of touch the banks have become.  Small businesses
>recognize this and it is why the Canadian Federation of Independent
>Business is firmly opposed to the merger.
>The Facts:
>*      Big is not necessarily better.  Even Charles Baillie, President of
>Toronto-Dominion Bank said  "In today's world you succeed by being smarter,
>by having a good strategy and executing it well. Size is not a strategy.
>It's a statistic."
>*      The merger will result in job losses, branch closures, and reduced
>service to rural and small town Canada.  It will result in increased
>automation, reduced choice for small businesses and farmers seeking loans
>and lines of credit, and it will create even fewer checks than exist today
>on credit card interest and service charges.
>*      Evidence from a US Federal Reserve study on bank mergers concluded t=
>rarely produce efficiency or profitability gains.  A more common product
>was  increases in executive salaries and bonuses, and short term jumps in
>share price.
>*      If given the green light, the deal will usher in a wave of mergers
>in the
>financial services sector which will further concentrate corporate power
>and reduce choice.
>The Liberal Party:
>Despite widespread public unease and concern about the $40 billion deal,
>the Finance Minister has refused to sanction public hearings into the
>proposed merger.  He claims Canadians should wait eight months for the Task
>Force on the Future of the Canadian Financial Services to report.
>The Task Force takes a different view:  "We do not expect the world to wait
>for our Final Report. Changes are taking place quickly, decisions must be
>made and it would be unrealistic to put everything on hold until our
>processes have concluded."
>"No" was also the Liberal response to a New Democrat request to have
>Members of the House of Commons Finance Committee consider the merits of
>the deal.
>Perhaps the Finance Minister is feeling cornered.  In 1996, the Liberal
>Party took in donations of $140,334 from the Bank of Montreal and Nesbitt
>Burns combined, and $109,753 in total from the Royal Bank of Canada and RBC
>Dominion Securities.
>The Reform Party:
>The Reform Party's position is dangerously na=EFve.  Preston Manning says t=
>best way to combat the monsterbank is to open our borders - relax the
>regulations allowing foreign banks to set up branch banks in Canada.  This,
>in Reform's view, will allow competition to flourish.  We might ask, how
>will it help Canadians if foreign banks assume more control over our debt,
>our currency and our economy?  It won't. Surely the Asian financial crisis
>underscores that what we don't need is further liberalization in banking an=
>financial services.
>Alexa McDonough and Canada's NDP will protect consumers' rights by working =
>*      Establish an all party parliamentary committee to take evidence and
>testimony from Canadians on the wisdom of the deal.
>*      Require the banks to disclose in advance all of the lending,
>employment and service policies of any new entity.  Individual Canadians,
>small businesses and farmers have a right to know the full implications of
>this kind of mega-deal.
>*      New Democrats would require the banks to give young Canadians career
>launcher loans at the same preferred rates they give their overpaid
>executives.  We would also insist that they provide basic financial
>services to young people for 'no charge' until they've been employed for
>two years.
>(Prepared by the Office of Lorne Nystrom, M. P.)

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