Premier Mcguinty 's Mannequin Tour York Region Conclusion

   The Put Food In The Budget Campaign recently launched its Premier Mcguinty Mannequin Tour, whereby a replica mannequin of the Premier is being taken across Ontario to "hear" from those most affected by the new budget which at the outset of the campaign was leaving those on social assistance with no increase for the next year. The Ontario government has since relented allowing for a 1% increase, but being that those on assistance have seen only 16% (now 17%) increases since the Harris era - where that government cut rates by 22% - people in need are actually worse off today more than ever, especially when you factor in the cost of living.

    During "his" stay in York Region Premier "Dollton" was taken to various centres that catered to lower income patrons as I was instructed ( by the PFIB powers that be) to 'introduce' him to as many people as I could who were affected by the brutal budget. We visited a community centre in a neighbourhood that has assisted housing where a free 'community" movie was being shown as residents increasingly cannot afford family nights out with Dollton seated on display by "help yourself" free stuff like cereal, shampoo and baby food to emphasize the loss of $100 parents face from this new budget adjustment.

    I brought Dollton to visit various homes including a disabled couple on O.D.S.P. and affected by the budget as well as those with mental health issues and living independently. We also thought it might be a good idea to bring 'him" to a free community dinner where those truly living on the edge and often renting a room or homeless or shelter dwelling - mostly singles due to the lack of affordable singles housing in York Region - go to eat out of necessity. With rental availability at .8% in a region that already has among the least percentage of rental units to owned units in the entire country (between 11-12%) these people are already at a disadvantage. Add in average rentals in York Region of over $900 per and a top payout for those singles on welfare (with a home)at $599 and one begins to understand the absurdity of it all.
Tom and Dollton Volunteer

    People seemed to have fun spouting off at 'Dollton" and found ironically that I had to act as his protector quite often as he wasn't exactly welcomed with open arms by most. While some laughed at the mannequin-like Mcquinty doll others reacted more hostile, often mentioning what they'd like to do to it (him) ...and they didn't want to take him to the beach!

    People were a little nervous about what to say on camera so I didn't push the point too much, but did have success in opening up conversations and educating some who really didn't know prior how the
Budget / Premier affected them.

    Before this 2012 Budget came down people have already been struggling. I gauge it like this, one couple I know on the Ontario Disability Support Program used to ask about borrowing food or money around the 26th of the month. They are now inquiring around the 19th. 12 days of worry and hunger. 12 days of begging and promising. 12 days of chipping away at their self esteem. 12 days of bullshit Mr.Premier.

Tom Out!