“All human beings are born free and equal with dignity and rights.”
This year on Human Rights Day, the world is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – the keystone instrument that guides so much of the work that we do here at Canada Without Poverty (CWP). By signing on to the Declaration in 1948, Canada committed to ensure for all people in Canada the right to an adequate standard of living and to be free from inequality and discrimination.
Seven decades later, it’s clear that accessing human rights is far from an on-the-ground reality for millions in this country. In fact, the reality is that despite the resilience of individuals and groups and their creative organizing, we are witnessing egregious violations of human rights in communities from coast-to-coast-to-coast.
Ottawa’s Heron Gate community stands as a stunning and disheartening example with the mass eviction of 100 families by a multinational asset management corporation. In Moncton, people who are homeless were kicked out of temporary shelters, losing all of their belongings in the process.
And across the province of Ontario, those receiving social assistance and disability supports face extreme new cuts that will deepen social isolation and trap them in abject poverty.
The recent abuses of people in poverty make the task of ending poverty seem daunting.But we believe there are plenty of reasons to hope.
Although change can feel incremental in the face of deep-rooted inequality, we must continue to take every opportunity to build a legacy of justice by holding governments directly accountable for their failure to protect the rights of people living poverty.
We are certain that we can effect change. We know that the best way to identify systems failures and create solutions is to listen to the voices of those who have experienced poverty firsthand. And so, we will keep up the fight to amplify the voices of the most marginalized.
This was affirmed and achieved through the recent case that CWP brought to the courts. As you’ve probably heard, CWP took on the government of Canada and provisions in the Income Tax Act to protect the free speech of poor people through the charities that represent them.
In July, we won this historic case in a ground-breaking judgement that recognized that the charitable goal of relieving poverty will never be achieved if people living in poverty are denied their Charter right to free expression in the public domain.
The government has decided to appeal the ruling in an attempt to deny the free expression of people living in poverty. While we are disheartened to head back to court,we know defending the rights of people who are often made voiceless by our systems is critical.
Your support over the years has given us the ability to stand up for people in poverty and make sure their voices are heard at the highest levels.
CWP has been able to keep leading the charge against poverty in Canada because of donors like you. Our average donation is only $30, but we rely on this community support to make up nearly half of our budget.
Your support would help us keep the pressure on the Government of Canada to uphold the rights of marginalized and disadvantaged groups across the country.
We’re going to keep standing up for human rights and we can’t do it without you.
People across Canada must find their outrage, and stand up with us to demand that the government do more than simply reducing poverty. As one of the richest countries in the world, we can and should expect more from our decision makers. Let’s demand the elimination of poverty as our national goal and make sure the voices of the most marginalized people in Canada are heard.
Bysending a tax-deductible donation this season, you can help us convince the government to take the next step in realizing our human rights and create a better Canada for the millions of people living in poverty.
Thank you for helping us make a poverty-free Canada possible.
Canada Without Poverty