[Fwd: TDRC - Budget a national disgrace]

Graeme Bacque (gbacque@idirect.com)
Wed, 17 Feb 1999 09:41:50 -0500

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: ACT-CUTS-ONT-L: TDRC - Budget a national disgrace
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 1999 09:21:26
From: Michael Shapcott <mshapcot@web.net>
Reply-To: act-cuts-ont-l@list.web.net

For Immediate Release             February 16, 1999


On housing and homelessness issues, today's federal Budget is a national
disgrace.  Not a single penny has been allocated for new spending - that
means no new social housing units this year  and no money for
homelessness initiatives.   A serious federal response to this Disaster
requires that money is put on the table.  This Budget was the ideal
place for the federal government to show us that they were finally ready
to tackle the issue.  Budgets are about money after all, not sentiment,
policy or political direction.  Instead, with this Budget the federal
Liberals continue to distance themselves from the Disaster.  We cannot,
and will not, let them do so - how long will their willful neglect of
the victims of this Disaster continue?

The Toronto Disaster Relief Committee (TDRC) calls on the federal
government to implement the  One Percent Solution.  It demands that
federal spending on housing and homelessness be increased by an
additional 1% of the annual budget and would be a powerful start to a
national effort to end homelessness.  As it would only increase total
spending on housing to 2% of the federal budget, the One Percent
Solution is affordable to Canadian taxpayers.

This Budget comes at a time when Canada is facing one of the largest
national disasters in its history.  Nationally, the Big City Mayors, the
City Councils of Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa-Carleton and Nepean, over
400 organizations and 1200 individuals have recognized the homelessness
crisis in Canada as a National Disaster.  However, in no way does this
Budget address this Disaster, condemning 100,000s to struggle longer in
misery, risking even death,  without federal relief.

This Budget also comes at a time when Prime Minister Chretien himself
has been invited numerous times - by Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman, by the
Toronto Star, by the TDRC, by Alexa McDonough - to tour the Disaster and
to see with his own eyes the destruction it has wrought on his fellow
country people.   Even though it is the Prime Minister's responsibility
to view the Disaster that is the direct result of his government's
policies, he has not come.

Paul Martin, the finance minister and author of this Budget understands
that it is the federal government's responsibility to take the lead in
ending this Disaster.  He studied the emerging housing crisis in Canada
in 1990 and concluded: "The federal role in housing must not be a
residual one.  The connection between housing and other aspects of both
social and economic policy means that the federal government must take a
lead role," and that "only the national government has the financial
resources to address the full dimensions of the needs of this country."
(Martin and Fontana: Finding Room: Housing Solutions for the Future,
Report of the National Liberal Caucus Task Force on Housing, 1990)  Now,
nine years later, the crisis has reached disastrous proportions and yet
Martin offers nothing in this Budget to relieve it!  This is a
devastating shame.

For information: Beric German  941-1667
Kira Heineck   703-8482, x117 or 961-6956


Michael Shapcott
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Tel. - 416-367-5402
E-mail - mshapcot@web.net
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