Kitchener, ON – Today Oz Cole-Arnal, an active anti-poverty activist from Waterloo, introduced his campaign platform for his candidacy for Chair of Regional Council. Cole-Arnal, an ordained Lutheran minister and former federal NDP MP candidate, has joined the race in order to provide an anti-poverty platform to voters for October’s municipal election.
“Yes, poverty is a complex issue; yes, so is homelessness. And yet, both are tragically quite simple. Poverty is not having enough money. Homelessness is not having a safe stable dwelling place. The UN Declaration of Human rights, which Canada has endorsed, knows that. So do those who suffer under this twin scourge” Oz explains, “It seems that few of our elected officials understand this.”
“What the Region really needs is more investment in community supports,” Cole-Arnal said, “We need more affordable housing and public transit. That’s why I’m running this anti-austerity campaign. Austerity is not fiscal responsibility.” Oz plans on running a campaign with four platform points; investment in affordable public transit, more public and low-income housing in the region, paying a living wage to all Regional employees and contractors, and promoting community democracy.
Oz supports the proposed LRT, which has been a focus of much discussion in the region, but only if it doesn’t come at the expense of the poor. “The Latin phrase cui bono which means basically ‘who benefits’ needs to be applied to LRT project. So who benefits? Certainly the environment does; certainly workers who get good jobs from the project (although the nature, pay, benefits & unionization of those workers need to be worked out). Above all the community elite benefit; the political and corporate class, the investors (realtors, bankers, landowners, those gaining from gentrification, big box stores at and near our malls). Certainly not the poor, the elderly, the students, those who need the bus system to go to and fro. They are getting less benefit and paying more for less.”
His campaign will concentrate on wealth redistribution and how the Region can act to more effectively support the disadvantaged and disenfranchised. “Fundamentally, our campaign challenges the notion of austerity programs and call instead for closing the obscene wealth gap. In short, we call for a mass transfer of wealth from the 1% to the 99%.”
“Rejecting the austerity agenda means more than resisting the frequent decreases in funding for social programs; it also means insisting on an expansion of the social supports that make our community strong,”
For more info contact Oz Cole-Arnals campaign at (226)792-5906 (Brayden McNeill, campaign manager) or firstname.lastname@example.org