French yellow vest protesters set fires along a march route through Paris on Saturday to drive home a message to a government they see as out of touch with the problems of the poor — rebuilding the fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral isn’t the only problem France needs to solve.

Like the high-visibility vests the protesters wear, the scattered small fires in Paris appeared to be a collective plea to the government to “look at me — I need help too!”

Police fired water cannon and sprayed tear gas to try to control radical elements on the margins of the largely peaceful march, one of several actions around Paris and other French cities.

“This is a budget that is geared to hurt the most vulnerable,” said official opposition member Algoma-Manitoulin NDP MPP Mike Mantha. “This budget is about booze and rebranding. A budget is supposed to reflect the values and priorities of the government. This budget is very cruel to Ontarians and there is nothing in it for Northern Ontario.” He noted that the budget mentions “booze over 40 times, but not one mention of poverty.”

In 1995, Chicago suffered a violent heat wave that resulted in the deaths of over 700 citizens. Many were seniors, African American and living in public housing. Reports out that many of the seniors who died were isolated from their family and community and that others felt imprisoned in their home, fearful of venturing out into their neighbourhood, shocked North America.

In 2003, eight years after the Chicago catastrophe, countries in western Europe experienced a heat wave that resulted in 27,000 dead: 15,000 deaths in France, between 4,000 and 8,000 in Italy, 1,300 in Portugal, and 2,000 in Britain. Many were seniors. Many were poor.

In both situations, political leadership initially denied the extent of the problem and minimized the risk to vulnerable populations…

On April 11th the Ford Government released their 2019 provincial budget. We’ve crafted a response highlighting areas of significant concern in the document. See below for our media release:

Poverty was not mentioned once in the 382 pages of yesterday’s provincial budget. While the government professes a desire to improve Ontarians’ health and health care system, it shows no interest in addressing poverty, the most significant determinant of health. This short-sightedness will prevent our province’s most vulnerable from improving their health, and increase health and social services costs in the years to come.

Summary of our key concerns …

People living in poverty in Quebec are more likely to stay in situations of need compared to elsewhere in Canada, according to a study published by the Institut du Québec on Thursday.

According to the study, titled “Leaving poverty behind in Quebec: Analysis of poverty, inequality and social mobility,” five per cent of the population in the province has reported low incomes each year from 2009 to 2016 — one percentage point higher than in Canada (sic).

The federal Liberals are using their omnibus budget bill to legislate a “right to housing” in Canada, a pledge advocates worry could fall short of being the historic step the government wants without a few parliamentary tweaks before summer.

The budget bill would set into law rules for the Liberals’ 10-year national housing strategy, now valued at more than $55 billion, impose those rules on future governments and create two new oversight bodies meant to make sure the spending reduces homelessness.

A Guelph couple is facing more than $1,500 in fines from the city after inviting two homeless people to live in their backyard “tree fort” over the winter.

The city’s building services became aware of this arrangement when first responders were called to the Harris Street home on March 4 after a small fire in that tree fort caused serious injury to a Guelph woman. That woman, Kayte, and her partner had been living in the backyard shelter since just before Christmas. They saw it as a step up from the tent they had been sleeping in.