There are fewer children living in poverty in P.E.I., but one activist thinks the numbers aren’t going down fast enough.

The P.E.I. Coalition for a Poverty Eradication Strategy and the MacKillop Centre for Social Justice released their annual child poverty report card Tuesday.

Mary Boyd, the report card’s author, said Canada has seen its poverty rate drop over the years, but the overall number of children living in poverty has gone up because the population has grown.

The latest numbers are in and they are concerning when it comes to child poverty in the Maritimes.

All three provinces are at or above the national average.

The good news is, there are plenty of efforts on the ground to change all of that, but it continues to be a difficult battle.

A lot has changed over the last 30 years, but one thing that hasn’t changed enough is Canada’s still-staggering number of children living below the poverty line.

A national report card on child and family poverty in Canada spanning 30 years says that one in five children are living in poverty, with rates exceptionally high for children of Indigenous and First Nation heritage.

Campaign 2000, a non-partisan network of organizations focused on ending childhood and family poverty, released the report card entitled “Child and Family Poverty 30 Years Later.” It provides an analysis of childhood and family poverty in the country using the most recent data available, creating a picture of the status of childhood poverty in 2019.

Toronto City Hall loves a good crackdown, now and again. Crackdowns are easy. They get headlines. Everyone looks busy and productive. Mayor John Tory in particular is known for requesting (entirely justified) towing sprees against illegally parked delivery trucks. But the sprees happen on pre-announced dates, so as not to upset anyone too much or solve the problem too quickly.

There was a different kind of crackdown Tuesday, this one ostensibly directed by city staff. Those affected quite rightly had 15 days’ notice that the city intended to dismantle an encampment under a bridge in the Rosedale Valley — a forested ravine with a busy two-lane road at the bottom of it — that a few people called home for lack of any other.

Mark LeBlanc and his staff and volunteers at the Vestiaire St-Joseph food bank in Shediac typically serve 600 people from their region each month, but in December that number rose to over 700.

As executive director of the non-profit, which also offers a teaching kitchen and family resource centre, LeBlanc said the trend is “disturbing,” especially when you look more closely at the people who are in need.

“When you start looking at the numbers and breaking it down — children become a shocking number.”

In Toronto and across Canada, homelessness has reached proportions that no rational and just society would tolerate and it constitutes an emergency situation. The Trump Administration, seeing levels of destitution in California that are producing social dislocation, is preparing for a brutal crackdown on the homeless. We would do well to understand how close we are in Toronto to a comparable situation. The political agenda of austerity and social cutbacks is getting worse, the extreme commodification of housing continues to drive up rents and forces people onto the streets and, globally, conditions of economic downturn are unfolding. As more and more people are rendered homeless, the kind of incarceration option that Trump favours will undoubtedly enter into the plans of the more centrist representatives of the neoliberal order.

The deficit obsession of 2010-2015 did permanent damage.

A decade ago, the world was living in the aftermath of the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. Financial markets had stabilized, but the real economy was still in terrible shape, with around 40 million European and North American workers unemployed.

Fortunately, economists had learned a lot from the experience of the Great Depression. In particular, they knew that fiscal austerity — slashing government spending in an attempt to balance the budget — is a really bad idea in a depressed economy.

Unfortunately, policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic spent the first half of the 2010s doing exactly what both theory and history told them not to do. And this wrong turn on policy cast a long shadow, economically and politically. In particular, the deficit obsession of 2010-2015 helped set the stage for the current crisis of democracy.