January 13, 2009
For Immediate Release

TORONTO – With a January 27 federal budget on the horizon, the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction is urging Finance Minister Flaherty to invest in social programs and infrastructure as the centerpiece of a much-needed stimulus package for Canada’s ailing economy.

“Mounting evidence shows that investment in social infrastructure and income support programs are an effective way to provide effective stimulus while helping Canadians through rough times,” said Peter Clutterbuck of the 25 in 5 Network. “General tax cuts are a weak substitute that simply won’t help get Canada back on track for the long haul.”

The 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction is a coalition that is endorsed by 1,500 groups and individuals from across Ontario committed to a strong and effective Ontario poverty reduction plan, with the federal government playing its role. An open letter released today from the 25 in 5 Network to Finance Minister Flaherty argues that social transfers do double duty by protecting Canadians in tough economic times and stimulating local economies. It says that investments in building and repairing affordable housing and early learning and child care are the kind of smart economic choices that not only create jobs and economic spin-offs, but also bring the most benefit to those who live on the margins.

“We hope Minister Flaherty and his government will listen to the growing consensus that the best stimulus package to kick start Canada’s stumbling economy is not tax cuts, but smart investments,” said Jacquie Maund, Coordinator of Ontario Campaign 2000. “Increases to programs like the National Child Benefit, Employment Insurance and the Working Income Tax Benefit will provide immediate support for low income people who will then spend on basic goods and services in their local economies.”

The open letter says that on January 27, Minister Flaherty has an opportunity to bring together social and economic goals. By giving priority to social investments, he would not only produce the effective stimulus package that Canada so badly needs, but he would also make substantial headway toward the goal of poverty reduction.

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Open Letter to Minister Flaherty (PDF)

Media Contact:
Jacquie Maund
Coordinator, Ontario Campaign 2000
office 416-595-9230 ext. 241