The Stroumboulopouli

The Stroumboulopouli

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Vote Out Poverty night

The evening was hosted by Mary Walsh and she did an excellent job as host and sometimes political moderator.

The evening was interspersed with videos, live music and politicians. The highlight of the evening was an amazing speech by Stephen Lewis.

This is the the program for the evening.
The Nylons.

Then Ontario's political leaders were invited to speak for 3 minutes about what they would do to end poverty. Only one of the party leaders came up to speak, Howard Hampton of the NDP the other speakers were there as proxy for the other leaders. Green Party was a no show.
Jack Layton and Ken Dryden were also given the microphone for a minute. Mary Walsh kept them in line.

After the political fun The Hidden Cameras played.

Videos vignettes interspersed the entertainment with messages from people who live in poverty in Ontario.
The videos were produced by Deveaux-Babin Productions with help from Ryerson's Film and Television program.

The numbers of poor living in one of the richest provinces in Canada is shameful as the crowd kept chanting to reminding all the politicians and media who would listen...

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings also played some rockin' guitar.

In the second half of the evening George Stroumboulopoulos came on stage. He was there to introduce the most anticipated speaker of the evening. Even though G was in obvious pain he did an amazing job on the intro.
The crowd gave Stephen Lewis a standing ovation at the beginning and at the end of his speech.
Stephen Lewis spoke and everyone was totally enthralled. He talked about what we (as a nation) have committed to the world for poverty issues, and how far short we have come to those targets... or the fact that Canada has refused to even naming what we will contribute in future projects.
He talked about the studies done in Ontario about the disparity between the rich and the poor and how the gap has only grown.
He is an eloquent and passionate speaker and I wish he would address Parliament and Queen's Park once in awhile to remind them of their obligations to humanity.

Susan Aglukark did the closing songs for the most unique evening and date I have ever been on.
There is something so romantic about a political rally.

I can relate very well to the issues of living in poverty in the GTA . Choosing between paying the rent and buying food... pay the rent of course, it helps me keep thin. Many of the people I know count on overdraft and if they are lucky credit cards to get them through the month. I am sure the Banks love that. One paycheck missed is a crisis. I can only imagine how much harder it is for those who don't get a paycheck. That's all I am saying before I get more political than that...
and if you can Vote Out Poverty!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the synopsis Barb - I was unable to go that night !

The Leader who showed up speaks for itself !


Anonymous said...

You had me until the very last paragraph which makes it look like you've missed the point. Saying that paying your rent keeps you thin insults the people the event was meant to help.

The night was amazing and I agree with Mary that it says alot about the Leaders that only one showed up. It would serve the rest of them right if everyone voted against them.


Anonymous said...

i, too, was wondering about that last paragraph and found it you really live in poverty? do you really have any idea what it is like for people who chose rent over food? food over clothes? who struggle to make it through the days when their money has run out and their kids are hungry? i'm going to assume that not one of them is happy that having to choose between the rent and food keeps them thin.

Anonymous said...

i think that you've misunderstood what poverty means and might not know that much about living with a low income; I would never say that you live in poverty; c'mon you have internet access, a job, eat (I'm sure that you eat enough! because most North Americans eat way too much anyways), lives in a decent place, have clothes, enjoy yourself. It is not what I call poverty... you might just have a lower income, that's it. I think that you would score pretty high on the Maslow's hierarchy of needs; people living in poverty are living at the basis of the pyramid, but I think that you would score a bit higher than that as most North Americans do

Steph A. said...

My small community is considered by many to be somewhat affluent. Meanwhile, we have citizens who regularly depend upon our small social service agency for food, shelter, clothing and other basic necessities. But if I were to ask a group of elementary school age children if people live in poverty in our community I know for a fact that most children would say no. To them, impoverished people live in countries such as Africa or big cities like Toronto.

The concept of voting out poverty is great. Educating people about poverty is better. But educating even the youngest members of society is THE KEY to success, as they will be the ones to affect change for the future.

Barbara said...

I was not kidding about choosing paying the rent over buying food.
I tried to make a joke out of it by saying it keeps me thin, but it's not really funny.
If I did not have a roommate now to share expenses like most people I know I don't know how I would keep up. Without going into detail I qualify as working poor.
I know many people who live on that edge as well. With a job,and with a roommate. They can't afford things like a monthly metro pass and they are are overwhelmed by student loans or other debt...

Erin said...

Was anyone else that went to the event terribly upset by the stage take-down that was happening as Stephen Lewis spoke? Mr. Lewis was the keynote speaker and I went specifically to hear what he had to say and instead of being able to focus on his lecture I was distracted by 4 men moving speakers and equipement. I was very annoyed.

Otherwise, I thought it was a great evening and while worth the trip as I was very enlighten. Most of the statements and promises by the politicians, I have heard before but I was happy to hear Howard Hampton speak about temp agencies and how they need to be regulated for the "cut" they can take from the worker. I was also very interested to learn the percentage of college/universities graduates that live in poverty in Ontario.

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