Voices From the Margins
It’s a very short trip from the limousine seat to the curb. Jim Mann never missed a payroll for the dozen men who worked for his flourishing landscaping business he built from the ground up. Now he lives hand-to-mouth. His pockets are empty long before his next social assistance cheque arrives.
In early 2010 over two hundred civic and faith leaders fanned out into thirty Ontario communities. Their goal? To explore how the least fortunate people in one of the world’s richest places are faring. The Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition’s latest social audit exposed a tattered social assistance system run by volunteers desperately struggling to fill the gaps. There can be no papering over the savage inequalities and suffering exposed in this compelling look at life from the margins.
Jamie Swift is a Kingston writer and author of numerous books on social and political issues. He is director of the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Office of the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul.
Brice Balmer is director of the Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition and associate professor of practical theology at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary. For twenty-three years he was chaplaincy director at the House of Friendship, a multiservice agency serving people with low incomes in Waterloo Region.
Mira Dineen is entering her final year of study at Queen's University, where she is completing her Honours B.A. in Global Development Studies. She has organized and led workshops for elementary school students on peace education and global citizenship.