The Common Front for Social Justice is concerned that at least four areas of New Brunswick will not be represented on the new Board of Directors of the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation.
“People living in poverty from Miramichi, Bathurst, Restigouche and the Southwestern regions of the province will have no one to represent them or to speak on their behalf within the new Board of Directors” said Linda McCaustlin, co-chair of the Common Front for Social Justice. “Furthermore, an intial look at the Board suggests that less than half of the Board are currently living on income assistance.”
The Common Front for Social Justice has recommended to provincial government that at least four of the eight members representing people living in poverty also be on income assistance. Organizations which have a long standing record of fighting against poverty are very clear on one point: the people most apt to resolve poverty issues are those who are living it day in and day out.
“The selection process for the entire Board of Directors did not allow for democratic input. Everyone was chosen, either directly or indirectly, by government officials and there was no mechanism for special interest groups or the public to submit names of candidates who they consider well suited to represent people living in poverty,” said McCaustlin.
The Common Front for Social Justice is happy to see that some of the above criteria were applied during the selection process, namely the percentage of members coming from rural versus urban areas, a reasonable balance between women and men and a good representation of Francophones and Anglophones.
“It is interesting to note that very few of the new Board Members are citizens who are widely recognized as ardent militants in the fight against poverty,” said McCaustlin. “Once again, the New Brunswick government has made major decisions without consulting the public or those who will be most affected by their policies.”