A campaign targeting the most common myths and prejudices about people living in poverty is being launched today (January 27, 2020) by the Moncton Chapter of the Common Front for Social Justice. The campaign will use both mainstream and social media to deliver its messages.
“It’s important to expose these prejudices and misconceptions because they are constantly used to blame people being forced into poverty for circumstances beyond their control,” Moncton Common Front spokesperson Auréa Cormier said. “For people living in poverty in New Brunswick, life is harsh, and getting harder every day.”
“So-called social assistance rates – what some call ‘welfare’ – have been frozen for almost a decade,” Cormier said. “These starvation rates make it impossible for those most in need to adequately feed, clothe and shelter themselves and their families.”
For the radio portion of its campaign, the Moncton Common Front produced a radio message dealing with each the three most common misconceptions and prejudices against people receiving social assistance in New Brunswick. The three ads now being broadcast deal with the mistaken, but common, perceptions that people receiving social assistance are lazy and don’t want to work; that ‘they’ should get off booze and drugs; and that ‘they’ choose to be on social assistance. [Click on the links above to hear the short radio ads]
The Moncton Common Front has also set up an on-line fund raising page where people who wish to support the radio campaign can make contributions to help pay for the ads.
“These vicious prejudices result in untold suffering by innocent people year after year,” Cormier said. “Today thousands of people in New Brunswick, including up to 7,000 children, are leading lives of quiet desperation.”
“For New Brunswickers living in poverty, each day is a grim struggle to survive, while going hungry is an ever present threat that too often becomes a cruel reality and, all the while, unfounded prejudices portray them as the authors of their own misfortune,” she said. “The truth about poverty is that people want to work, but provincial policies create barriers rather than helping them.
“Most people are forced onto social assistance by circumstances beyond their control, and provincial policies, not drinking and drugs, make it harder for people on social assistance to survive.”
The campaign is based on research by the Common Front detailing public perceptions of, and attitudes toward, people living in poverty. That research identified the three most common myths and prejudices about New Brunswickers living in poverty that are targeted by the various aspects of the new campaign.
Along with eight weeks of radio advertising, the Common Front will be making people living in poverty available to the mainstream media for interviews. As well, six videos produced by the Common Front will use first person accounts by people living in poverty will be put into circulation on social media today.
Dallas McQuarrie writes for the Media Co-op and lives in St. Ignace, New Brunswick, on un-ceded Mi’kmaq land in Kent County.
This story was updated on Jan. 28 to include links to the three radio ads being broadcast for the campaign.