High-Tide of Poverty in Montreal

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Intended Audience

The intended audience for my backgrounder will revolve around the general public, researchers and introduced sociologists as well as involved community members. It is also intended for the general public and the concerned citizens of Montreal and the politically active. Although poverty in Montreal has been reworded to synonymous concerns of the "economy" as well as increasing jobs within Montreal, poverty is an equal proponent and cause for concern. The positive outlook of an issue whether determining job levels or unemployment rates ultimately comes down tax-breaks the city of Montreal offers as well as education levels and Montreal's push towards increasing literacy and adaptability in a mixed cultural inner-city society and its varying wage-levels of its citizens.


Single Sentence Backgrounder - Statement of the Issue

This backgrounder aims to better understand the core issues and aspects of poverty levels within Montreal to better assess the situation in order to affirm correct governmental efforts towards relieving high levels of inner-city poverty.

Background Information

Montreal's poverty rates have been amongst the highest of the country since its scrutiny in the early 90's. During the 90s, it was at a staggering 41% in comparison to other cities ranging around the 20% mark (Edmonton Journal, 2000). Average incomes were about half of the intended income to live by, 14,500$. Montreal's poverty levels were definitely at an all-time high at the time, but what of now?  In comparison to Ottawa and Vancouver, Montreal's poverty rates were at an all-time high mostly due to its lack of retirement program as well as longevity of a working force during its later years. Programs such as the Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement are credited as the main reasons for the drop, however if excluded from our statistics thanks to Stats Can (2007), the overall poverty rates remain the same, yet Montreal's rankings drop to third, fourth or even sixth. With the increase of minorities through the growing years, their overall extreme poverty rates have been high, however there are fewer minorities within Montreal than the other major Canadian capital cities, yet are the most impoverished. This could indicate that a sweeping lack of jobs throughout all sectors affecting all minorities and ethnic groups more so than contributing the issue towards one minority enclave over another. The lack of general jobs and the source of poverty has not been completely discovered yet and it could have to do with more opportunities for companies outside the province than within the city as well as the general bonuses towards the elderly more so than those prospering out of university, graduated and eager for jobs.

Current Situation & Implications

The implication of Montreal's poverty levels so distinguished from other major Canadian capital cities is that it highlights an underlining socio-infrastructure issue that is so impactful, that it differentiates Montreal's past rates and its current poverty levels. Currently, Montreal's income status sits at a 21.1% before taxes, 7% more than the metropolitan areas' average and 4% more than Quebec (Stats Canada, 2007). Studies from Citizenship & Immigration Canada highlights the irony of Montreal having the least minority population, but high impoverished areas and enclaves with minorities or even with minority ethnic groups living amongst dominant Caucasian neighborhoods. There is a core and underlying issue with Montreal's poverty levels across all ethnic groups and ages that needs to be revealed and highlighted. Is it the unions, the education degrees or lack of jobs due to outsourcing? This backgrounder aims to answer the high-levels of inner-city poverty.  Only those 65 years old have dropped massively from 34.1% to the lowest: 14.5%. Programs such as the Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement are credited as the main reasons for the drop. So while rates have dropped massively nation-wide, it has been mostly for seniors and what was once perceived as optimism since our 1990's findings, is now returning to its true state, that poverty, for the working ages and adults, is still a major problem and many are still living below a comfortable level. This article helps separate and further eliminate potential reasoning to a reasonable high poverty rate.


Documentation - Annotated Bibliography

City-Data.com (2007) - Montreal's Income Levels (Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 92-591-XWE. Ottawa. Released March 13 2007)

Though just a statistical graph of both Earnings, Income, governmental transfers, this will help determine just how much Canada pays in percentages due to taxes, how much it earns, how much more it is to Canada, to Quebec and more. These statistics, though a bit outdated by 5 years (2007), give us a ball-park of what to expect in terms of earnings, return back to the government and gender/age differentiations. These statistics are intended for all audiences ranging from the general public, to researchers and sociological students.

CBC.ca (2000) - Montreal "poverty capital of Canada"

Not journalistic, however, this adds context to Montreal's poverty context in comparison to other capital cities such as Toronto and Ottawa. Poverty rate in the 1990s was as high as 41% based on the census data of '96, household income of '95 and took the government's low-income cut-off as its definition of the poverty line. This also helps us decipher how to interpret the 2007 statistics of incomes and earnings in our Stats Canada Catalogue. The study, though unnamed, is claimed to be back by many several Canadian municipalities. However, this cannot be used as a real reference, but purely to be aiding our Background Information section as well as implicitly dictate the current situation section. The news article makes some bold claims: "The report shows that despite government promises to eliminate child poverty by 2000, it has grown in step with adult poverty, a fact Lee doesn't find surprising." This news article is intended for all audiences ranging from the general public, to researchers and sociological students.

Edmonton Journal (2000) - "Montreal's poverty worst in Canada: Across the country, number of poor up 34% during '90-'95"

Edmonton Journal confirms what CBC claims, with Montreal having the largest urban poverty in all of Canada during the 90s ('90 to '95). Ottawa has the smallest proportion of poor resident and 23.3% for Vancouver. Journalistic article's source is a major report called "Urban Poverty". Article states that the average rate income of the poor is 14,500$ (a quarter of average earnings). This article both affirms what the news article of CBC dictates as well as gives us more intended figures of Montreal's income levels, earnings and poverty rates in both the early-mid 90s to also declaring that the levels have slowly declined since (but we have Stats Canada of 2007 to follow-up on just how much its declined as well as the implications to why). This journalistic news article is intended for all audiences ranging from the general public, to researchers and sociological students.

Citizenship & Immigration Canada (2009) - "Exploring minority enclave areas in Montréal, Toronto, and Vancouver"

The study of minority enclaves (boroughs) tries to link both the socio-economic marginalization that may lead to poverty and a possible relationship. While it may be a concluding factor, it states that it is part of a bigger marginalization. Despite this, enclaves are of extreme poverty as well as the fact that Montreal has it the worst in addition to having the lowest population of visible minorities and those who live in enclaves. This article is especially good at distinguishing the differences of poverty, levels of minority groups and enclaves and circling Montreal as having the least of minorities, but the most impoverished, gaining its lead as one of the city's with the largest poverty levels and the effects of minority groups (even living amongst Caucasians). This study is intended for all audiences ranging from the general public, to researchers and sociological students.

Andrew Heisz, Canada's Global Cities: Socio-Economic Conditions in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver (2006)

This article is both insightful and incredibly immense with information and facts ranging from Montreal's population growth, number of municipalities (60), labour markets, and income/low income. The article aims to understand the median standard of economic well-being, evidence of a widening gap between the rich and poor as well as what groups are at risk of exclusion based on having too little income. In addition to this, it applies the same information and fact-seeking to neighbouring growing cities we use to compare Montreal's levels to Vancouver and even Toronto, furthering establishing its usefulness in our exploration and questions. This study is intended for all audiences ranging from the general public, to researchers and sociological students.

CanEquity.com, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver Top Out National Poverty Rates: Statscan (2011)

                This article follows-up even further on the poverty levels of all three major cities. Overall, the national rate is at a near 10% (9.6), with Montreal now at 13.1%, lowering itself from 19.7% 10 years ago. The article goes on to contribute that services, housing and governmental benefits have lifted some problems, making Montreal, originally the top most impoverished city, now in third, following Toronto and Vancouver. While the article is good, it does not add much social context or reasoning to what are the contributing factors towards a still-high poverty rate. This study is intended for all audiences ranging from the general public, to researchers and sociological students.

Poverty Trends in Canada (2007), National Council of Welfare, "Solving Poverty Information Kit"

                The Solving Poverty Information Kit given by the National Council of Welfare for Canada does not give much insight into Montreal's poverty, but gives an over-arching foundational view of Canada as a whole and helps distinguish that although rates have dropped according to CanEquity in 2011, the National Council of Welfare distinguishes that anyone still working and below the age of 65 years, has had little to no change in their current income or, better stated: have had little effect on the poverty rates. From 16.2% to 16.8% in the last 25 years. Only those 65 years old have dropped massively from 34.1% to the lowest: 14.5%. Programs such as the Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement are credited as the main reasons for the drop. So while rates have dropped massively nation-wide, it has been mostly for seniors and what was once perceived as optimism since our 1990's findings, is now returning to its true state, that poverty, for the working ages and adults, is still a major problem and many are still living below a comfortable level. This article helps separate and further eliminate potential reasoning to a reasonable high poverty rate. This study is intended for all audiences ranging from the general public, to researchers and sociological students.

Rudy Pohl, Street Level Consulting.ca, Poverty in Canada (2002)

                Not necessarily related to Montreal's poverty, but this article will help define poverty in a more sociological format both in wording and to be in accordance with our statistics and findings. It also helps measure the validity of the statistics, what to interpret from it as well as the ability to measure poverty in Canada. This article is intended for all audiences ranging from the general public, to researchers and sociological students.

Be A Lady: Feminism in the 21st Century

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Feminism, Canada, and Its Modern Implications


Amongst political ideologies there are few with a more spirited typecast figure than the feminist.  To many the feminist invokes visions of burning bras and protest lines; to others it is another respectable and educated choice in political alignment. Feminism is a loaded term with many connotations and undereducated understandings. Much of what shaped feminism was that which directly opposed it: psychoanalytic theory (which would later be used consistently in the discourse) was greatly a reponse to hysteria (Hunter, 73), the terms Planned Parenthood and birth control were coined in the 1920s to gain recognition of women's health by the government (Engelmen, 182), and Morgentaler's work was a direct reaction to the institutionalization of family care(Wright-Pellerin, 7).

A feminist is "an advocate or supporter of the rights and equality of women" (Oxford (noun). Feminist theory is an academic extension of feminism into various fields. It includes:  anthropology, sociology, economics, women's studies, literary criticism,art history,psychoanalysis and philosophy. Feminist theory seeks to understand gender inequality and focuses on politics, power, and sexuality.


The first-wave feminist movement began as early as the late nineteenth century. Though the entrance of women into the workforce during the First World War is often cited as a catalyst for the beginnings of the feminist movement the campaign for women's personhood began long before. Suffragettes sought access to education and equal employment along with their right to vote. During this time feminism acted as a form of binary opposition against the early twentieth centuries instilled standards of Christianity and sex-linked qualities. (Groves and Jenainti 73) Religion was an important factor in the early stages of the feminist movement, in fact it has been criticized for encouraging population and race control and pushing for a perfect race within Genome projects.



The success of first-wave feminism had a large impact on the theology of second-wave. Because women were more educated the movement began to take both a theoretical and practical approach to women's issues. Theses issues were defined as women's liberation and women's rights, respectively, seeking independence and empowerment. (Groves and Jenainti 86) Having gained legal personhood, the ability to vote and basic rights women now sought to enforce social change in the cultural upheaval of the 1960s and 1970s. Second-wave feminists fought for equal pay, equal rights, right to initiate a divorce, illegalization of marital rape and domestic abuse, as well as new laws for sexual assualt.

Much of what we think of when we think of the stereotypical feminist comes from the women of the second-wave (although many claim that no bras were actually burned).


Third-wave feminist consciously implemented masculine and female traits (analytical vs. emotional for instance) and embraced them as a method of liberation. Third-wavers continued to challenge the myth of the universal female experience and put a greater emphasis on race, sexuality, religion, and social class as factors in creating equality. Feminist scholar Ann Oakley wrote in the mid-eighties of the myth of biological motherhood. the myth that once a woman becomes a mother that is her role in society and it will never waver. Oakley also sought to disprove the maternal desire for a woman to birth her own children. Oakley believed that children can just as successfully be raised by a group of "social" or "collective" mothers, be them male or female, as had been done historically in villages and towns. (Groves and Jenainti 120-21)


Feminism in Canada

Canada has had is own history with feminism. Canada was one of the earliest countries to give women the vote (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta in 1916) although Quebec women were not given the vote until much later in 1940. The Famous Five made up of Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Irene Parlby, Loise McKinney, and Henriette Edwards were behind the "Persons Case" in 1927 in which they asked, "Does the word 'Persons' in Section 24 of the British North America Act, 1867, include female persons? Women were ruled as persons in 1929.

Much of Canada's second-wave movement mirrored that of the rest of the Western world with creation of women's organizations by both public and political funding, movement against battered women, and rights movements. A predominant role in Canadian cultural revolution was the creation and execution of both the Canadian Human Rights Act, 1977, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982. Canada differs from other countries in that it has no legislation for abortion, meaning it is decriminalized (since 1969) but there is no regulation. Henry Morgentaler is a famous Montreal doctor who attempted to give women reproductive freedom most notably in R vs. Morgentaler in 1988.

Third-wave feminism followed the rest of the Western world once more but many feminists put a greater emphasis on Quebec and Aboriginal women in their studies and work.

Current and Future Feminist Activity

There has been much debate surrounding feminism in the past decade. "Feminist" is often seen as a dirty word one may say, "I'm not a feminist but..." creating a generation of unfeminist feminists. Camile Paglia has been quoted as saying that contemporary feminism is faltering, "in a reactionary phase of hysterical moralism and prudery" (Craig, Julie Spring 2012) However, feminist tradition finding a new life online and in blogs. Websites like The Hairpin and Jezebel.com approach media and news with a feminist lens while remaining readable, informative, and entertaining. Current issues in women's rights (specifically health, representation and birth control) and the conservative war on women have been presented in the media as well. After excessive and recession many people are redefining their morals and beliefs and feminism is taking a direct hit. but with the help of established theories and the constant recruitment of new young feminists this way be turned around.

See this video for more information:

 "What do Feminist Have Left? " with Guy Branum

#pussy riot a Russian feminist punk band

By: Virago

Screen shot 2021-07-06 at 2.48.40 PM.pngImage source Flickr

Back in February of this year, the Harper government boldly introduced a new bill entitled the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act , known officially as Bill C-30. It is a proposed amendment to the Canadian Criminal Code that would require telecommunication service providers to log all personal subscriber information such as their name, address, unlisted and cell phone numbers and IP address (one's online identity) for release to the authorities upon their potential request. More importantly, the bill would make backdoor functions mandatory, securing unannounced remote access to individuals' electronics and the information within them by bypassing the need for permission or passwords. And all of this, without a warrant! This bill would effectively grant the government the surveillance power to track and monitor the digital lives of all innocent and law-abiding Canadians - not just the very minute portion suspected of child-related crimes. The current government is not beyond meaningless bill name changes to sound more appealing, false justifications and childish proclamations, or even infringing on civil right in order to force through this privacy-invading bill under the guise of "protecting children".

The bill was presented by Conservative MP and Public Safety Minister Vic Toews as a necessary step to end child trafficking and pornography in Canada. He said, "This is legislation that civilized, democratic countries around the world recognize is important in order to deal with some very significant problems."1 (CBC News) The problem with that claim, however, is that beyond the mention of "protecting children from predators" in its title, the words "children" or "internet predator" oddly do not appear anywhere in the bill's actual content. Furthermore, Bill C-30 was originally labeled the Lawful Access Act - a name that mayhave rubbed citizens the wrong way, one that might confirm any uneasy feeling that the government would like access to more of our information. No wonder they decided to change it. Shortly after its appearance, the bill was quickly tabled. An hour or so later, an identical document reemerged carefully renamed the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act. Perhaps they thought this wording might better tug at people's heartstrings, yet Canadians still question its true intentions despite the latest unchanged incarnation.

By Ottman Boutrig

Screen shot 2021-06-07 at 4.08.16 AM.pngWith its long immigration history, Canada has a strong tradition of tolerance reflected in its ethnic diversity and cultural heritage; however, in these times of economic crisis, it's easy to find anti-immigrant sentiments. It's true that some Canadians think that immigrants hinder the country, but the majority of us support immigration and consider that introducing some changes to the government's policy should make immigrants a better asset to the country.
In the world of Planetary Politics, where's the race?
Hailing from the planet Erehwon, G.O.Graphman attempts to understand our planetary politics while trying to help us avoid what Erehwonians call "planetary lamination." Environmental concern is the primary reason for this earthly visit, so take the quiz-like Environmental Awareness Booster found below, and spread this link to as many people as possible. The Environmental Awareness Booster is not a test, but an engaging way to inform the public about some pretty shocking facts and statistics about the Eco-system of this global sphere called Earth.
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The true north strong and free? What do these words even mean now that the Canadian senate, our representatives, and our public have allowed Bill C-10 to pass? It is called "the Safe Streets and Communities Act," which sounds disproportionately urgent when considering that crime has steadily decreased since the early 1970s. Mandatory sentences will strip judges of their rights to practice that which is inherent to the nomenclature of their positions - their better judgement. It will also create the need for gigantic prison complexes to educate our wayward youth in the ways of deeper criminality. Vital funds have already started being siphoned away from our educational systems, our healthcare facilities, and our environmental and sustainability projects. Rather than investing in preventive social programs, and in education itself, the conservative government prefers the wrath of old testament consequences to tangible social reform.

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For anyone who has not learned about what happened and is still happening with this world wide scandal, these videos are very fun and informative.

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What does Restauration mean?
It is the French word for restoration, which has deep cultural roots in both politics and theater. It is also commonly employed when restoring works of art or buildings to their once and former glory. Many times during the following interview at Shäika Café on the corner of Sherbrooke and Old Orchard, just across the street from the Empress Cultural Centre, I questioned whether or not the term could be applied to one's faith in elected political leaders. I believe it can.

The following is an interview with Peter McQueen, City Councillor for NDG, who was halfway through his term at the time of this interview in October. He will be up for re-election in 2013.

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