Canada: Study homeless ills first, take action later, says PM FWD (fwd)

Leslie Schentag (
Sun, 8 Nov 1998 10:31:03 -0800 (PST)

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Prime Minister Chretien's viewpoint on the problem of homelessness in

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 08 Nov 1998 05:05:05 -0400
From: Tom Boland <>
Subject: Canada: Study homeless ills first, take action later, says PM  FWD
FWD Toronto Star -  6 Nov 1998

Golden report due in January

By Tim Harper - Toronto Star Ottawa Bureau

PETERBOROUGH - Prime Minister Jean Chretien will wait for an official study
on the problem of homelessness in Toronto before responding to Mayor Mel
Lastman's challenge to visit the city's cold streets.

 A spokesperson for the Prime Minister made it clear, however, that Ottawa
recognizes the problem of homelessness in urban centres.

 Jennifer Lang said Chre&acute;tien would wait to study the report of a
task force on the homeless headed by Anne Golden and due to report in

 ``We recognize it's an urgent situation and we appreciate the depth of the
mayor's concern,'' she said yesterday.

 Lastman had called Chretien's office Wednesday to appeal to the Prime
Minister to come to Toronto and view the situation first-hand.

 Lastman said he would show the Prime Minister ``the horrible, awful''
situation on city streets, any time, day or night, whenever Chretien's
schedule allowed.

 ``People are going to freeze to death on our streets,'' Lastman said.

 Ottawa has already provided $300,000 for the Golden study and is
considering establishment of a cabinet committee to look at alternatives.

 Chretien's office issued its response after the PM and a senior Quebec
cabinet minister put in a brief, scripted appearance at a youth job fair.

 In his remarks to about 500 Peterborough-area high school students,
Chretien repeated his pledge to reinvest in health care in the next federal
budget. On the heels of a $2.5 billion investment in education - the
so-called Millennium Fund - the Liberals will provide a balanced society
for the 21st century, he said.

 Canadian youth will have to prepare for the challenges of moving from job
to job during their lifetime, he said.

 ``Don't be afraid of that,'' he said. ``If you are well-educated and
well-prepared, you will be able to take it on.''

 Outside the motel where he spoke, a couple of dozen protesters serenaded
Chretien with the chorus to ``Take Me Out to the Ballgame'' - ``It's one,
two, three strikes you're out, at the old ballgame.''

 That was a reference to Chretien's Ottawa speech Monday in which he
likened himself to slugger Mark McGwire and said, like the home-run champ,
he would come out of his slump.

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