Poverty Free Ontario is an initiative of the Social Planning Network of Ontario (SPNO). The objectives of Poverty Free Ontario are:
- To make ending poverty a public issue in the 2011 provincial election;
- To urge that all political parties commit to a poverty eradication agenda if elected; and
- To ensure that all electoral candidates have poverty eradication as part of their platforms and campaigns.
Poverty Free Ontario is a non-partisan initiative. Although the election campaign is only a day old, none of the political parties and very few of the electoral candidates running under party banners have given any indication that a commitment to ending poverty within a reasonable timeframe and with a clear and serious plan is a priority issue in this election. None of the published party platforms give any prominence at all to poverty or its elimination.
While Poverty Free Ontario and the SPNO do not endorse or encourage that Ontarians vote for any particular party or candidates, we do urge Ontarians to question all electoral candidates on their commitment to ending poverty and to make their own individual choices about which candidates and political parties they believe will act to end poverty in this province.
That is why the Poverty Free Ontario campaign is getting its message – “Let’s Vote for a Poverty Free Ontario” – up in signs posted on the properties of supportive individuals and organizations in 16 communities across the province. The faith community, recognizing the moral and ethical issues of letting 1,689,000 Ontarians live in poverty, is taking some leadership in getting this message in front of the public in many of these communities: www.faithtoendpoverty.ca.
Elections are critical times for citizens to exercise the democratic option of choosing who will govern them. Everyone is encouraged to participate in the democratic process of debate, discussion and voting. SPNO, a non-profit network of 20 community-based social and community development councils across Ontario, is proud to participate in this democratic process in a non-partisan way through the Poverty Free Ontario initiative.
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