Urban Poverty in Canada: Political Analysis
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Submitted to: Professor. Nugent
Submitted by: Nadia Haidar
Urban poverty in Canada has become one of the major factors that require consideration in a political perspective to arrive at a solution. This problem took its foothold in the country between the year 1990 and 2000. According to a report by the urban poverty project, in the year 2012 about half of Canada’s population an amount totaling to 15.3 million people lived in just four of the urban areas among them Toronto. This makes the country of Canada one of the most urbanized countries with a population of 25 million people living in the urban areas. Among these people about one of every six people lived in Poverty. In the year 2000, about 3.3 million people who are poor Canadians had their residence in the Census Metropolitan areas. As the population of the people in the Metropolitan area grow, the rate of poor urban dwellers increases at a faster rate. Among the major city of Canada, the City of Toronto has the largest number of low earning people with a population of about 771530 and has a poverty rate of about 16.2%. (Katherine, 2007)
With the upcoming elections of the Ontario provincial election, a city election, and a federal election, this paper tries to focus on the election in terms of the impact it would have on the geographical urban poverty. It also focuses on the platforms and candidates take on the various ideologies that they advocate for in their campaign in relation to the urban poverty. The paper also focuses on the debates and the effect of quality on the people as per the decision they make in voting for the leaders.
One of the parties in with fighting for the poor urban people is the Communist party. The party which in the provincial elections due to happen on June the 12th, is running 11 Candidates has on its website encouraged people to vote for the program in which the working class were fighting for. According to the 1990 to 2000 report, about 45% of people living in the urban area contribute to the GDP of Canada. Yet among these people, the poor have quite a good percentage. According to one of their candidates Elizabeth Rowley she promises to put the needs of the people first before cooperate greed. The party intends to achieve this by offering good jobs to its people, affordable renting and housing controls among others. (Rowley, 2014 ) In the communist party campaign they are pointing out clear that, there is a gap between the rich and the poor, pointing out that the poverty level is on the rise and unemployment is quite as high as well. As the provincial leader of the communist party Rowley points out that what they fear most is not the liberal party that has failed the people of Ontario, but the conservative party led by Tim Hudak. The conservative party is laying the facts clear that if elected they will lay down about 10000 people working in the public sector. According to the communist, this attempt would demolish the public sector. In attempt to slash the wages arguably, the conservative party would be contributing to the rise in the poverty level, greatly affecting the urban poverty negatively making it grow rather than decrease. Contrary to what the communist party is offering, with the likes of a quality public service with better health care and hospitals being one of their promises to the people.
According to the NDP, they have an economic plan, which involves a raise in the minimum wage rate to $12 per hour and later tying it to the inflation. This move of increasing the current paltry by a dollar per hour as it is currently at $11 per hour will help the poor in the province to make more money to live off well. (Stockton, 2014) This comes from the leader of the NDP Andrea Horwath. Asking the employers to pay more however, would result to the workers losing their jobs. The Capitalists aim of cutting off operation costs and raising the price of the goods, acting in the disfavor of the poor. According to the campaign of the NDP party, their argument is that increasing the minimum wage gives the poor people a chance to have a hold of the money, which they spend, putting it in the circular flow of the economy thus experiencing growth. To dispute this however, looking at a place where it has been in application, in the United States of America, a study after comparing the geographical contiguous regions whose minimum wage was different found that a high minimum wage rate related to the unemployment rate in the region. (Debra Burke) Looking at the facts on the ground it is also important to identify the people who are working below the minimum age, only 4.6 % of the people of Ontario that works below the minimum wage rate. While this seems like quite a good idea, the minimum wage rate raise may not be the solution to most of the problems.
The liberal party of Canada policy resolutions:
Most of Toronto seems to ignore the local politics, with the current mayor Rob Ford still running for office. There are a number of other candidates among them Ashok Sajnani, Morgan Baskin, a dentists and a student who are considered as long shots for the job. Arguably, they should start the city hall politics serving as a councillor but not in their opinion. The Conservative’s party candidate however John Tory deemed as one of the most likely candidate to topple Rob Fords leadership idea as per his fiscal strategies include lowering taxes especially property taxes which to some extent is in the favor of the poor. (Powell, 2014)
The debates of the parties in the Ontario representatives seem to carry weight on the people of Ontario based on their influence. The big parties do have a great say in the debates and the emphasis is majorly in them. The parties presented in the debates mostly are; the Liberal Party, the Progressive Conservative Party, and New Democratic party their leaders are Kathleen Wynne, Tim Hudak. The other parties, such as the communist party of Canada do not seem to get an equal platform with these two. The quality of the debates may be quite good since they are a great determinant of the polls; the politicians try their best to lay it out for the people the actions they are going to take once in their government. In a recent call from the doctors, they asked the four on the province political parties to engage in a debate involving health care. (CBC News, 2014) The poor people being among the great number of the 700000 Ontarians who do not have the primary access to such care needs clarification. The Liberal leader take on this through their leader Kathleen Wynne promised of primary access to a health care provider by the year 2018. According to Kathleen, this would cost less than $20 million. In the opinion of the Progressive Conservative party through their leader Tim Hudak, he suggested demolishing the existing health service and focusing on the employees like nurses as the frontline. The New Democratic Party leader Andrea Howarth plans to reduce the time by half that ER wait times take. Adding another 250 nurse practitioners in the emergency rooms was a further suggestion as well as 50 new family clinics working on a 24-hour system. Despite this suggestion, the request to have a formal debate that involves the four leaders would help the citizens make an informed decision. The health care anticipated debate is a good example of showing the quality of the debates since they greatly affect the decision of the voter. In a study that was carried out by Ipsos, show that the majority of the Ontarians whom were undecided about the leader they were going to support were going to make their decision based on the June 3rd debate. Thirty eight percent of the people make their decision on whom to vote for on the day after the debate. Thirteen percent of them wait until the last debate while fourteen percent will wait until the last week of the campaign, and eleven percent of the people make the decision on the day of the election. However, this is significant to the quality of the debate and how convincing they can be, the study also shows that sixty two percent of the Ontarians make the decision long before the elections begin with forty one percent of them not changing their decision throughout the campaign. Twenty-one percent of the Ontarians however might change their mind. (Ipsos, 2014)
An issue reported with the debates is about the inaccessibility to the debate by candidates of the provincial election of Ontario. On May, 29th 2014, a debate was held in Cambridge Ontario and was inaccessible to the people with disability. The event organizers did not put into consideration that the disabled people too would want to attend the all candidates’ debate. In this event, the local advocator of the people with disabilities Lyn McGinnis was not able to access the all candidate debate. Having an accessible venue is important to have a barrier free debate that all willing to attend can do so.
Conclusively, the results of the election will greatly determine the state of the urban poverty since the policy that the party that will win by a majority will determine the future of the people. Different people hold different opinions in the parties’ and have a strategy to make their condition better. The liberal party may, to majority of these people, see that they have been failed by the party since in their rule, unemployment has not been solved, greater disparity of the poor and the rich, and the greedy capitalists have not made it better for the people.
The political debates are of great significance to the election of the country. The quality of these debates is therefore required to be high to influence the voters to make their decision based on the policy that the different provincial parties make. Many families, including my own, have suffered through poverty decade after decade. It is up to us citizens to make this vote count, vote for the right party, and help end this vicious cycle of poverty so many Ontarians continue to suffer through.
WORD COUNT: 1990
CBC News. (2014, May 30). Ontario election 2014 :Doctors Want Parties to Debate .
Debra Burke, S. M. (n.d.). Minimum Wage and Unemployment Rates :A study of Contiguous Counties .
Ipsos. (2014, June 2). Whats Riding on the Ontario Election Leaders Debate. Retrieved from Ipsos News and Polls: www.ipsos-na.com
Katherine, F. G. (2007). A Lost Decade: Urban Poverty in Canada 1990 to 2000. Ottawa: Canadian Council on Social Development.
Powell, B. (2014, March 15). Toronto Mayoral election Profile: John Tory. Toronto Stars.
Rowley, E. (2014 , May 19) Communist Party of Canada. Retrieved from www.communistpartycanada.ca
Stockton, M. W. (2014, May 24).Minimum Wage in the Ontario Election and Canada. The True North Times.
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