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The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario today reiterated it’s position that it is unconscionable for the Ontario government to cut the special diet allowance, and called on Premier McGuinty to do the right thing and to immediately restore the full allowance provided to some of the province’s poorest and most vulnerable residents.  CUPE Ontario also deplores the current climate in this province that is trying to silence the voices of opposition by criminalizing democratic dissent.

CUPE joins the call to drop the charges against anti-poverty activists and urges the government to work with us and Ontario’s communities to find real solutions that work for us all.  The intimidation of union members and allies who are fighting for some of the most vulnerable people in our society only strengthens our resolve to stand in solidarity with each other.
“Picking on Ontario’s poorest citizens is wrong as is shutting down those to dare to speak up in defence of the rights of all.  This is something more in kind with the Mike Harris government than what many people expect from Dalton McGuinty,” CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn said.
The slashing of the special diet allowance is the biggest cut to social assistance since Mike Harris’ government slashed welfare rates in 1995.  For an individual on welfare who currently receives the Special Diet supplement this means an instant cut of 30%.
Dalton McGuinty’s decision to cut the diet allowance will have no measurable impact whatsoever on reducing the provincial deficit, but it will have a huge negative impact on the lives of the individuals affected.

CUPE says it is the McGuinty government that bears responsibility for this week’s protests over the diet allowance and that when public attention gets shifted to debates about protest tactics instead of the real issue of the special diet allowance it is, once again, the poor who lose out.