Community advocates to question party candidates on poverty issues

Have a coffee, meet some candidates and give us your thoughts on ending poverty. That's Wednesday morning from 6 to 8:30, live on location at Neechi Commons, 865 Main Street.

Join CBC Information Radio at Neechi Commons, live on location from 6 to 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning

PC Leader Brian Pallister, left, NDP Leader Greg Selinger and Liberal Leader Rana Bokhari. (CBC)

More Manitoba children live in poverty, per capita, than in any other province

(One in every 3.5 kids)

When it comes to wages, Manitobans make less per hour than most other Canadians.

(Average hourly wage here in $21.01. National average is $22.85)

Point Douglas is one of the poorest ridings in the City of Winnipeg. And the latest studies suggest more kids die younger in Point Douglas than kids in more affluent communities.

So what will our next government do about that? 

Join CBC Information Radio as we go live on location Wednesday morning at Neechi Commons. Have a coffee, have some bannock and hear what candidates from the four main parties tell us what they'd do to end poverty.

We've also invited special guests to put their own questions to the candidates:

Meet Sel Burrows

He is a longtime resident of Point Douglas who takes a grassroots role in keeping it safe.

"We were sitting outside with a glass of red wine and we said 'let's get rid of the crack houses on my street.'"

He estimates there are three groups of poverty; one made up of the 'working poor,' another made up of those who cannot work because of physical or mental disabilities and those who cannot work because of personal challenges.

"This is the most controversial group, the ones who live in poverty because of addictions or past lifestyle experiences."

He's disturbed by a recent report that reveals Point Douglas residents die at an earlier age that those in more affluent communities.

"And what's worse, is that we've seen similar reports five, 10, 20 years ago. The same thing. Nothing's changed."

His question to candidates?

"What policies do you have that would help our inner city people live longer?"

Meet Mitch Bourbonniere

He's a longtime social worker who's out on the street night after night helping kids caught up in the child welfare system.

He's especially concerned for the safety and survival of youth aging out of the system, who have no money, no job and nowhere to go.

"We have shelters for older homeless street people, but that's a scary place to go for an 18-year-old kid," he said.

These are the kids destined for an adulthood of poverty. Without the money to get a higher education or a roof over their head.

He thinks the solution can be as simple as giving more money to more people who need it.

His question to candidates?

"Which party will give Manitobans an annual guaranteed income?"

Meet Eva Pellettiere

She's a 52-year-old Saulteaux mother of five.

She now works part-time as a cleaner. The first time in years she's had steady employment.

"I've struggled with poverty my entire life," she said.

She is a sixties scoop adoptee and a breast cancer survivor.

"After my chemo I lost my hair and wouldn't leave the house for a year, I was so scared to be seen."

Finally, a worker at Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre convinced her to make soup for their drop-in program.

"It was beef noodle. Everyone loved it."

Through the support of Ma Mawi, she finished grade 12 and went to college, graduating with honours.

"I have a hard time making ends meet, but I am not on the streets."

Her question to candidates?

"What will your party do to help families like mine break the cycle of poverty?"

CBC Information Radio also welcomes you, the public, to join us Wednesday morning, live on location at Neechi Commons.

Neechi Commons building on Main Street is set to be auctioned off July 12. (Jacques Marcoux/CBC)

Have a coffee, meet some candidates and give us your thoughts on ending poverty.

That's Wednesday morning from 6 to 8:30, live on location at Neechi Commons, 865 Main Street.