Canadians Want Leadership On Poverty

Tuesday 28 October 2008

The majority of Canadians believe Canada should try to distinguish itself in the world as a country where no one lives in poverty, according to an Environics Research poll conducted for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

The national poll reveals 90% of Canadians say they would be proud if their Premier took the lead in reducing poverty in their province; 88% want Canada to be a leader in poverty reduction; and 77% say a recession is all the more reason to act now.

“Even in the face of a possible recession Canadians’ desire for their governments to act on poverty and inequality reduction is not weakened but emboldened,” says Armine Yalnizyan, senior economist with the CCPA.

“They want governments that will do them proud, at home and around the world.”

Among the poll findings:

· 90% say it’s time for strong leadership to reduce the number of poor people;

· 92% say if countries like Great Britain and Sweden can do it, so can Canada;

· 86% believe if government took concrete action, poverty could be greatly reduced;

· 89% say the Prime Minister and Premiers need to set concrete targets and timelines to reduce poverty and measure their progress;

· 81% support reducing poverty by at least 25% over the next five years: 55% say that sounds about right but another quarter (26%) say that’s not ambitious enough; and

· there is resounding majority support to raise the minimum wage, improve income support programs to help poor families raising children, create low-cost child care spaces, create more affordable housing, make sure welfare rates rise with the cost of living, and invest in jobs and skills training for those in between jobs.

Environics interviewed 2,023 adult Canadians by telephone between Sept. 24-Oct. 21, 2008. A survey of this magnitude yields results that can be considered accurate to within plus or minus 2.2 percentage points. The poll is available at www.policyalternatives.ca.

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