Friday, March 19, 2010

The following appeal for an upcoming campaign in support of the 'Special Diet' for poor people in Ontario comes from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP). You don't need to be an Ontario resident to participate.
Mass phone and e-mail:
Meilleur: Hands Off The Special Diet!‏
Meilleur: Hands Off The Special Diet!
Yesterday We Crashed Your Office, Next Week We Will Crash Your Phone Lines
Mass phone/email to save the Special Diet: Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010
The Ontario Government is looking to balance the budget on the backs of the poorest people in the province. They are intending to slash the Special Diet funding, a crucial source of income to 162,000 people in Ontario. This benefit provides up to $250 a month to those on assistance who are suffering health problems. One in five people on assistance rely on this money to be able to eat at all properly. Cutting this money will lead to a massive increase in hunger in the province, evictions, and long term health consequences for people on social assistance.
Since 2005, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty organized clinics staffed by doctors and nurses who believed that the allowance could provide essential support for people unable to live healthily on current welfare and disability rates. The largest clinic, held on the lawn of Queen’s Park in 2005, signed up 1000 people.
Welfare and disability payments need to be brought back to the levels that they were at before Harris cut welfare in 1995. This requires a 40%increase. Without a raise of that level, the Special Diet funds are the difference between housing and the street. Between sickness and health.
What does losing the Special Diet mean to people's lives?
“There would be no food in the house... there would be a lot of difficulties.” -Ahmed
“I might have to move. My stomach problems will increase because I won't be able to eat as well.” - Marque
“I don't know what I will do if I lose the Special Diet. I might lose my housing. I will definitely have to decide between paying my rent and my health. My condition is greatly affected by diet, if I can't eat healthy food, I get quite a lot sicker. My entire life will be negatively affected if I lose the Special Diet.” -A.J.
“I live on the street and I use the special diet money to buy food because the Salvation Army food is disgusting. I need fresh fruit and vegetables and you'll never see anything like that in the shelter.”-Brian
“They give me $2200. Our rent is $1460. I have 5 kids. Do you think that is enough? We are not saying we need access to luxuries... but at least basic things like food and clothing.” - Khadija
It looks like the provincial government is planning to cancel the special diet. This will mean that thousands of poor people in this province will be pushed into hunger, illness, homelessness and desperation. This is unacceptable – and now is the time to tell your provincial politicians and the City politicians that helped to make this happen. On Tuesday March 23rd, call and email the politicians below.
· Demand that they maintain the Special Diet funding.
· Tell them that they can’t cut costs by attacking those on social assistance and disability support payments.
· Let them know that what is needed is a 40% raise in social assistance rates back to the levels in the mid 1990s.
You can even start now!
Premier Dalton McGuinty
(416) 325-1941
fax at (416) 325-3745.
Madeleine Meilleur
Minister of Community and Social Services
Fax 416-325-5191
Janet Davis
Chair of the Council Committee Responsible for Social Services
City of Toronto
Phone: 416-392-4035
Fax 416-397-9289
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
10 Britain St.
Toronto, ON
M5A 1R6

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