October 06, 2009

NDP leadership candidates tackle Poverty issues at U of Winnipeg, By: Bruce Owen, Winnipeg Free Press, 5/10/2009


WINNIPEG — The two NDP leadership candidates squared off at the University of Winnipeg this evening outlining how they'll attack poverty if they become premier.

The packed-house forum was organized by Make Poverty History Manitoba and was the only one during the leadership campaign where the public could see Steve Ashton and Greg Selinger think on their feet.

The big difference between Ashton and Selinger is how they'd measure the success of government poverty- reduction programs..

Ashton said as premier he'd introduce legislation that would bring in poverty-reduction targets that government must meet..

Selinger said targets are too rigid - what government should rely on are "indicators" of what programs are working or not.

Selinger said by being flexible government can react faster to emerging problems.
A second difference is that Ashton would bring back the tuition freeze to keep a post-secondary education affordable to more people.

Selinger said he would not, adding government should instead increase funding to universities and colleges.
Both also said they supported more low-income housing units and continuing raising the minimum wage.

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