What is the Austerity Agenda & What We Can Do About It

Banner drop at Bylaw Enforcement and Downtown Security  offices at the corner of Ontario-Duke St, Kitchener, April 1, 2011 in response to their role in enforcing gentrification and social cleansing of the downtown community.

Austerity Budgets – budgets that target poor and working people by cutting services, jobs and community supports – have been introduced at both the provincial and federal levels this March.

Again we see the privileging of capital over the needs of the people.  We see increased policing and prisons instead of meaningful supports for health, education, housing and social services.  This is an overt and violent assault on poor and marginalised communities.

We Say ‘No More’.  We oppose policies that target those living in poverty and attempt to pit communities of workers and those on fixed incomes against each other, while ignoring the real architects of this global financial crisis – the corporate capitalist elites.

These capitalist elites continue to amass wealth as governments force painful cuts to necessary programs and services on their populations.  We are coming together to reject this agenda and to find ways to build real community networks of support.

Provincially we have seen the Social Assistance Review Commission (SARC) and the Drummond Report that parrot the ideology of austerity of making recommendations that provide real, meaningful and positive change in the lives of Ontarians.

Instead of recognizing the direct impact of poverty on health and well-being, and taking real steps to reduce health inequities, our governments have chosen once more to punish and criminalize poor people in this province.  While corporations have received massive tax cuts in recent years(maintained in the recent budget), governments are once again balancing their budgets on the backs of the poor!

“People on Ontario Works are now living on incomes that are a devastating 60% lower that they were in 1995 and over 20% lower that when the Harris Tories left office.  Now that wretched sub-poverty income will continue to be driven further by the ‘poverty reduction’ Liberals as the cost of food and other necessities increases significantly.”  Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP)

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