Celebrating Our Community Campaign Success!

It’s been just over a month since Winnipeg’s municipal election. Thank you to everyone who was involved in our campaign for a Winnipeg Without Poverty this past year. From our launch of this important community report on May 2, til election day on October 24 – everyday Winnipeggers involved in the campaign helped get poverty on the agenda in the municipal election. Make Poverty History Manitoba is a coalition of groups and individuals dedicated to a city, and province, without poverty – and runs thanks to the help of so many dedicated advocates and volunteers.

In an election that otherwise may have been about very different issues – our community campaign put poverty on the agenda, and has ensured that action will be taken by the mayor and council in the upcoming City of Winnipeg council term.

It seems like a long time ago, but back in May we launched our community-based poverty reduction plan, Winnipeg Without Poverty, consisting of 50 policy recommendations that the City can implement as part of a comprehensive plan. The plan initially was endorsed by more than 100 organizations and that number only continues to grow. These organizations represent groups working on the frontlines of poverty and toward solutions to end poverty in our city. News coverage of our launch here and here.

The campaign quickly took off! Throughout the next 6 months, thousands of Winnipeggers signed on to our petition calling on the city to lead on poverty reduction. When more and more news stories broke about increasing meth and crime in our city, our campaign was there highlighting the root causes: poverty, social exclusion, trauma, and colonization. Read this editorial to see our response.

Churches, faith groups, and others were quick to send support and endorsements for the campaign, including on their signs and banners. See one example here! More and more organizations sent in their endorsements, while many individuals started volunteering to spread the word. Thanks to a dedicated team of volunteers, we reached thousands of Winnipeggers throughout the summer and fall. At farmers markets, community centres, back-to-school events, and fundraisers – countless conversations about a vision for the city to lead on ending poverty in Winnipeg occurred.

Thanks to a great collaboration with Just TV, we launched a video in September – reaching over 20,000 Winnipeggers. The video highlighted strong community voices, calling for action from candidates in the 2018 Winnipeg election to be advocates for a comprehensive plan. Thanks to all those who participated in the video, and everyone who watched and shared it.

A community rally and march was held in October – with hundreds of Winnipeggers meeting in the courtyard at City Hall to call for action from the city of Winnipeg. Many new faces joined in the march to the Manitoba Legislature, ensuring that no level of government is let off the hook to address poverty in our city and province. Read coverage of our rally and march here and here.

We had great interactions with the many people running for mayor and councillor in the city of Winnipeg. A questionnaire went out to all candidates, with most responding to our survey. We are happy to say that the vast majority of candidates running for mayor and council supported a comprehensive municipal poverty reduction plan.

On October 17, we, along with members of our coalition, including Winnipeg Harvest, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Manitoba, and Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, co-hosted a Mayoral Forum on Poverty & Hunger, attended by 7 of 8 mayoral candidates. During the debate, all candidates were supportive of collaborating with the community on creating a comprehensive plan, including eventual winner Brian Bowman.

Before the election, Daniel McIntyre Councillor Cindy Gilroy proposed a motion for the city to catalogue and make recommendations for poverty reduction within existing budgets. We are hopeful that this motion will serve as a platform for the creation of a municipal poverty reduction plan. The city has already made strides toward one of our recommendations, a low-income bus pass. We are grateful for the excellent collaboration with city administration who are committed to working with community voices, and the connections made already with the new council members. 

Congratulations to Mayor Brian Bowman and all 15 Winnipeg city councillors. We look forward to working with you, and are very excited about the great deal of support that a comprehensive poverty reduction plan has received from our elected officials and Winnipeggers.

Our community coalition for a Winnipeg Without Poverty remains strong and active, and we will continue to advocate for a comprehensive plan for our city.

We still need your support!

  1. Volunteer! Email chair@makepovertyhistorymb.com to get involved
  2. Sign the petition. We must continue to show the depth of support for this plan throughout Winnipeg. You’ll also be able to stay updated with our campaign via email.
  3. Endorse the plan. Join hundreds of organizations, and add your organization’s name to the list of endorsers.  
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