New federal minister for Homelessness (fwd)

Leslie Schentag (
Wed, 24 Mar 1999 00:31:11 -0800 (PST)

  Leslie Schentag
  Gremlin Research Consultants
  Web Site:


  "When Freedom Is Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Be Free"
					-F.T.W. Productions, 1992.

 "It is better to die on your feet than live a lifetime on your knees"
					-Emiliano Zapata

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 1999 14:13:44 -0800 (PST)
From: Geneva Hagen <>
To: Leslie Schentag <>
Subject: New federal minister for Homelessness

Please pass this around your Canada networks.  Action opportunities:
(a)  Thank Chretien for appointing her;
(b)  Write a letter to welcome her (House of Commons, Ottawa);
	Tell her what some of our local problems are;
	Suggest that she hold Paul Martin to his 1990 scheme for a
		federal housing plan;
(c)  Write the Premier and urge appointment of a provincial minister
	for homelessness as well.
(d)  Letters to the editor can also cover the above ideas.  

---------- Forwarded message ----------

 March 23, 1999 

Ottawa joins fight to aid homeless 

[photo] CLAUDETTE BRADSHAW: Labour minister handed homelessness portfolio.
Chrétien to name Canada's first minister in charge of homeless issues 

By William Walker 
Toronto Star Ottawa Bureau Chief

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Jean Chrétien will announce today Canada's first
minister responsible for fighting homelessness, sources say. 

Labour Minister Claudette Bradshaw, a former social worker from New
Brunswick, will receive the additional responsibilities just two days before
a major summit on homelessness set for Toronto. 

Bradshaw, 49, likely will attend the Toronto housing summit Thursday with
Transport Minister David Collenette, who also doubles as Chrétien's
political minister for the Greater Toronto Area. 

Her appointment is meant to convey to a skeptical public that Ottawa
recognizes the severity of homelessness in Canada, which last fall was
declared ``a national disaster'' by Toronto city council and national
poverty groups. 

Although there was no new federal money aimed at the problem in Finance
Minister Paul Martin's budget last month, sources say Ottawa will announce
additional policy initiatives on homelessness Thursday in Toronto. 

Homeless advocates, who have been lobbying the Chrétien government for
beefed-up programs to fight the problem, will be watching to see if
Bradshaw's appointment marks a turning point in the government's approach to
the issue. 

• Rent erodes income 
• Plan called `inadequate 

Canada has had housing ministers in the past - but not ministers to fight
homelessness - before Ottawa bowed out of the social housing field. 

Public Works Minister Alfonso Gagliano is expected to retain responsibility
for the downsized Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, which deals
with high-ratio mortgages, home safety and industry standards. 

Scrappy Bradshaw, the MP for Moncton, has 30 years of experience as a social
worker in dealing with poverty and homelessness issues. 

She completed Grade 12 and skipped university to head straight into the
social work field. 

In 1974, she founded Moncton's Headstart program to aid troubled families
and children, then handed the agency over to her husband Doug Bradshaw when
she was elected in 1997. 

The Headstart program's innovative ways of helping children living in
poverty and in low-income families has been heralded by social activists
across Canada as groundbreaking. 

After the New Brunswick government slashed spending on social programs,
Bradshaw's Headstart stepped in through ``family interventions'' to help
children and counsel parents about the basics, such as nutritious meals and
proper clothing. 

During her career as a social worker, Bradshaw also served on the National
Prevention Council and the National Council of Welfare. 

When she was appointed by Chrétien as labour minister last November, her
husband told reporters his wife is an Aries, the sign of the ram, and that
``she just goes full blast into'' attacking problems of social inequality. 

The Bradshaws have two sons, Christopher, 22, and Nicholas, 20. 

Ottawa has already downloaded responsibility for social housing to the
provinces, many of which are further downloading the programs to
cash-strapped municipalities across Canada. 

In a recent policy shift, Ottawa announced it will retain responsibility for
more than 20,000 social-housing units in Ontario. 

The move came as a result of lobbying by Ontario Liberal MPs who feared for
the housing stock if it were left in the hands of Premier Mike Harris'
Progressive Conservative government. 

The Liberal government has also been discussing a more comprehensive
approach to tackling homelessness. 

It would involve dealing with the causes of homelessness, such as mental
illness, alcoholism, youth unemployment and education and the plight of
aboriginal persons in urban centres. 

The appointment of a Maritimer as minister of homelessness reflects
Chrétien's determination that his Liberal government be seen to be dealing
with the issue as a national problem and not just a Toronto-based issue,
sources say.