Dec 7, 2012: Amnesty International Canada’s Beth Berton-Hunter & Human Rights Day; John Clarke & provincial cuts to social assistance

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Listen to entire program here:

Amnesty International is perhaps the most well-known human rights organization, and for Human Rights Day it is sponsoring a Write for Rights campaign.  You are invited to “join individual letter writers across the country and around the world by taking some time on or around Human Rights Day, December 10th to write cards and letters in support of human rights. It’s quick and easy to sign up and Write for Rights on Human Rights Day, December 10th.”

Click image to sign up to Write for Rights

Click image to sign up to Write for Rights

I spoke with Beth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations spokesperson with Amnesty International Canada. Here she describes the work of AI and the effect of the letter writing campaign:

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Voices Against Poverty and allies spoke to “Dollton” McGuinty during a riverfront walk on Aug. 19th calling attention to cuts to CSUMB. It’s not too late to help – click on image for the Call in Coffee Break campaign. Click image for more. (Photo: Paul Chislett)

Voices Against Poverty and allies spoke to “Dollton” McGuinty
during a riverfront walk on Aug. 19th calling attention to cuts to CSUMB. It’s not too late to help – click on image for the Call in Coffee Break campaign. Click image for more. (Photo: Paul Chislett)

I spoke to John Clarke of OCAP, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, which is taking a leading role in the fight against the planned cuts to the Community Start Up & Maintenance Benefit.

 Briefly, the benefit is a crucial tool that prevents homelessness by allowing people already homeless get started with furniture, food, and the like, and for those on social assistance and at risk of homelessness to make use of the benefit to leave abusive relationships, make utility payments, get rid of  bug infested furniture, for example.

The provincial government had announced in the budget earlier this year that 50% of CSUMB money would be folded into a new homelessness and housing initiative that Ontario cities are still in the dark over. Vulnerable people are again under attack. It’s not a cut the government says, but the reality seems quite different:

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