CALGARY, Dec. 6, 2013 /CNW/ - In the 2010 municipal election in Calgary,
Naheed Nenshi included a city-wide poverty reduction initiative as one
of the primary planks of his campaign. In January 2012, he launched the
Calgary Poverty Reduction Initiative (CPRI). Similar initiatives are
in place or are being speculated in municipalities across Canada. But
what can a municipality really do about poverty? Are anti-poverty
programs really the role of city government? Or are these noble
sounding but empty policies designed to prove that local politicians
are doing something?
Today, the Manning Foundation for Democratic Education released a report
calling for scrutiny of municipal programs for poverty reduction.
Author Angela Macleod Irons prefaced by arguing, "Good policies should
be judged by their results rather than their intentions. This is
particularly important in the realm of municipal social policies, where
well-intentioned policies can greatly harm the very people they are
intended to help."
The paper argues that those municipalities are simply not well suited to
fight poverty, because they simply do not have the ability to transfer
income. As such, municipal poverty reduction efforts should
necessarily be limited in scope, if they should be attempted at all.
However, for those municipalities that attempt poverty reduction, the
report argues that modest reforms do some good, without causing too
much unintended economic harm. These can include:
Collaborating with other levels of government and the not-for-profit
sector by leveraging city assets like meeting space and community
Means testing as opposed to age testing for subsidies
Legalizing secondary suites
The full report can be found at www.manningfoundation.org/our-work
SOURCE: Manning Foundation for Democratic Education
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