When it comes to poverty, the buck stops here

Post Date: Saturday, July 30, 2011
high res headshotContinuing poverty is one of the great failings of our society. Calgary, like any other community, is not immune to the effects of poverty.  Poverty lessens our great city every day.

That's why I'm so pleased that on July 25th City Council passed my motion to develop a Poverty Reduction Initiative. In partnership with the United Way, we will strike a group of community leaders responsible for discovering one very important thing:

What is the game-changing idea that will dramatically reduce poverty in Calgary?

We've learned so much from the successful model of the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness which has resulted in 160 organizations working together on the single objective of ending homelessness. And yes, three years in, homelessness in Calgary is dropping.

We can do that with poverty. We know that we will be able to coordinate and inspire the actions of existing agencies, businesses, governments, faith and community groups to come together to work towards the elimination of poverty in Calgary. And together, we can fight it at a systemic level eschewing band-aid solutions.

Some people might ask why. True, poverty is technical responsibility of the province and not the municipality.

But who suffers from poverty? We do. Our neighbours do. The citizens of Calgary do.

And so poverty is very much our responsibility. We must fight it, and I will not accept the endless buck-passing that has brought us to the point.

The buck must stop here. It must stop with all of us.

I welcome you to share your own big idea on how we can reduce poverty in Calgary by either adding your thoughts below or joining a discussion already in progress at the United Way's Calgary Social Voice blog.

- Mayor Naheed Nenshi