Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 10, 2003
CCCB supports BQ anti-poverty bill
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
Proposed legislation to have "social condition" added to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act has won the support of the social affairs commission of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Bill 228 was introduced in the Commons by Bloc Quebecois MP Real Menard to include social condition in the act. It would also amend the act by declaring the refusal by a financial institution to provide a banking service to an individual by reason only of the individual's low income to be "a discriminatory practice."
The CCCB's social affairs commission supported legislation passed by the Senate in 1998 to include "social condition" to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination, stating "This legislation is designed to shield the poor from the kind of discrimination they often report from banks, telephone companies or federal agencies."
In a letter to Menard Jan. 29, Bishop Jean Gagnon, chair of the social affairs commission, said he was pleased to learn that the MP's proposed anti-poverty bill, which was first introduced last October, would be presented to the House of Commons this month.
Since the Private Member's draft bill includes the question of expanding the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination by adding "social condition," said Gagnon, "we hope that anti-poverty groups as well as other political parties will be attentive to this initiative and lend their support to this very positive proposal."
Menard's bill calls on the human rights commission to prepare an annual report on poverty along with "the amount of money that should be expended annually to end that poverty. " He concluded, "As a citizen and as a Christian, I wish to thank you for your tenacity in working for the eradication of poverty in Canada."
Private Member's bills have little chance of being passed in the Liberal dominated House of Commons.