Shauna MacKinnon

  • Playing politics with poverty in Manitoba

    It was a bad week for advocates working to improve the lives of people living in poverty. Recent child poverty statistics continue to show high rates for Manitoba, but last Monday's throne speech gave no hint that poverty will be a priority in the next budget.
  • 'Eduflation' under control in Manitoba

    In the report titled Eduflation and the High Cost of Learning, CCPA researchers David Macdonald and Erika Shaker developed a "cost of learning index" to examine the affordability of higher education across Canada. They did this by examining trends and comparing provincial priorities to show how economic and education finance policies interact, making university more or less affordable across Canada. Their scan of policies shows that most provincial governments have chosen to respond to affordability concerns by providing "after the fact" assistance through debt-relief schemes, loan forgiveness, tax credits, or zero interest. While these interventions provide some relief to students, many continue to struggle to pay upfront costs.
  • Budget should, but won't, tackle poverty

    My colleagues and I are pitching for a budget Tuesday that prioritizes reducing poverty and inequality. We expect the pitch will be met with a predictable mix of yawns, eye rolls, nods of agreement and indifference. What we say won't make much difference, because the budget is written; spending and revenue decisions have been made. But we will continue to say it anyway in an effort to raise awareness of how critical these problems have become for all Manitobans.
  • Poverty reduction working in inner city

    THE inner city suddenly becomes important to politicians during elections. Some choose to focus solely on crime and fear. The approach they take is punitive, shaped, we believe, from a lack of understanding of how complex challenges really are.
  • 'I just want to have a decent home'

    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Manitoba (CCPA-MB) has written extensively on issues of poverty and homelessness. Unfortunately, the problem appears to be getting worse rather than better as vacancy rates in Manitoba cities reach an all-time low. The rate in Brandon is currently at 0.1 per cent, Winnipeg at 0.9 per cent and Thompson at 0.2 per cent.

    The demand for rental housing has resulted in rising rents as many landlords renovate their units and in accordance with The Residential Tenancy Act, are permitted to increase rents above guidelines. Because the rent allowances provided by social assistance have not kept pace with rent increases, many individuals and families must use their food allowance to cover their rent resulting in a reliance on food banks and soup kitchens.

  • Housing crisis tests Thompson

    While much has been written about the lack of affordable housing in Winnipeg, the situation in other Manitoba communities has also reached crisis proportions. Thompson, for example, has a zero per cent rental vacancy rate. Thompson is Manitoba's "service hub of the North." With a population of 13,256, it also serves as a trade centre for an additional 65,000 Manitobans. Approximately 36 per cent of Thompson residents are aboriginal, the largest proportion in any Canadian municipality.
  • More play, less police, to solve gangs

    People who live and work in the inner city are frustrated with city hall. "We are desperate for progressive people at city hall," an inner-city community worker explained.

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