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Ontario synagogues seek poverty redress

 

Ontario synagogues are pressing the Canadian province’s premier to fight poverty.

In a rare display of unity, 18 Ontario synagogues representing four streams of Judaism issued an open letter to Dalton McGuinty imploring the premier to act on his election promise on poverty.

With a spring budget expected, the synagogues called on McGuinty to invest in affordable housing, accelerate the rise in the minimum wage and move faster to aid poor children.

In last autumn’s election campaign, McGuinty promised to adopt specific targets for poverty reduction in Ontario.

“We want to trust that you mean what you said in the fall election campaign,” said the March 10 letter. “Please don’t disappoint us. Please don’t delay any initiative at all until all consultations are complete.”

Ontario’s high rate of child poverty – 44 percent of Canada’s poor children are said to live in the province – is of special interest to the synagogues.

“Children do not have time to wait while policies are carefully crafted and constituencies consulted,” the letter said. “A child who missed a year’s good nutrition, or education, or whose family dissolves under grinding economic pressure, will not easily ‘make it up’ next year.”

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