Can city candidates campaign on an empty stomach?
Others have commented in the Star on the campaign and reported on the experiences of those who participated. Not surprisingly, it was an eye-opening and (literally) gut-wrenching experience for those involved.
Stemming from this campaign, I believe all city candidates should Do the Math. Although the campaign’s message is targeted primarily at provincial policymakers and officials – to draw attention to inadequate social assistance rates – there is much to be learned by city candidates by living the Do the Math experience. These are the representatives who are closest to us, their constituents. With that in mind, it’s essential for civic politicians to know fully the circumstances of how many Torontonians actually eat ... or don’t.
It would be fascinating to learn how city council candidates manage their punishing campaign schedule with so little fuel. My hope is the experience would be enlightening, making all candidates more informed advocates for Torontonians struggling to get by, and even more caring and understanding citizens in the process.
For anyone interested in Do the Math, please check out the campaign at http://www.dothemath.thestop.org/. This is an interactive website where visitors are asked to add up the monthly expenses they think necessary for a single person on social assistance. This budgetary exercise illustrates that, after housing, clothing and transportation, most people have no money left over for food and must rely on food banks and drop-in meals to survive.About Gillian Hewitt Smith