I’m disappointed that our Conservative Member of Parliament, Robert Sopuck did not attend the forum on child poverty here in Neepawa recently.
The four other candidates were there, explaining what their parties would try to do to make sure not as many kids go hungry as is presently the case.
Not only does Manitoba have the highest rate of poverty among children of all the provinces, there are hungry kids right here in the Neepawa too. So it’s not just a problem “over there” somewhere.
Neepawa’s Child and Family Services Worker, Dawn Haines-Shaw told a church group recently, her case load became so full, she was unable to handle the larger Neepawa district to which she had initially been assigned and now is responsible for the Town only. She said the poor need better transportation, more affordable housing and often struggle with emotional problems which keep them from going to appointments where they might be able to get help.
An official of the Salvation Army in Neepawa, Amanda Laughton-Gale, told the same group, she estimates, by year’s end, they will have helped one thousand individuals - kids and grownups - with food from the food bank, clothing and, at Christmas, toys and food hampers.
Mr. Sopuck told me after the forum that his government’s emphasis on economic development, is the way to tackle the issue. I’m sure he sincerely believes that.
After 10 years of Conservative rule (and Liberals before that), those kinds of “trickle down” theories have left more Canadian kids hungry today than there were in 1989, when the House of Commons unanimously resolved to end child poverty by 2000. That was 15 years ago, folks.
How much longer will we make them wait?
Larry Powell lives in Neepawa, where he publishes PlanetInPeril.ca