International Workers' Day rallygoers say tax rates, housing prices keep people in poverty

Moer than 100 people gathered at Charles Clark Square Sunday afternoon for a rally hosted by the Ontario Federation of Labour.

It was one of 20 going on across the province.

“We've heard from young people today that they're worried about their future,” said Mario Spagnuolo, interim president of the Windsor and District Labour Council.

The rally featured speakers like Kacie Ketch who shared a poem about poverty.

“Taxes on taxes to keep the poor right where they want them. Selling their souls at a loss,” Ketch recited. 

She pointed to the housing market and feels homelessness is a major issue that is in great need of attention.

“The idea behind my poem was that people shouldn't have to sell their souls to the devil to get out of poverty,” Ketch said.

Felicia Owen and her fiancé Dante Lee are in their early 20s and discouraged by the housing market. 

Owen watched her mom, who is a nurse, struggle to buy a home.

“Now me, I don't think I can afford to live in this city anymore and it feels like the government is purposely making it so poor people stay poorer while rich people get richer,” she said.

Lee added, “Everyone deserves to be able to make a living regardless of how many tens and thousands of dollars they've spent on a broken schooling system to obtain a piece of paper that says they've learned enough.”

Matthew Clairmont and his wife have had a crash course on autism. Their young son was diagnosed in November.

“And unfortunately we found out that the autism program has been in shambles for about four years now,” he said.

Clairmont feels the program has been an impediment and says his family has endured setbacks because of it. 

“The expenses for a lot of this therapy, ABA or PRT therapy is pretty high. You're essentially paying someone just as well as you or better to provide therapy for your child,” he said.

He and many others at the rally feel this election is important and politicians should be more committed to the needs of voters.

“We're going to continue to work with our sectors: public, private, unionized, non-unionized, to get people engaged in this election and to keep the government accountable,” said Spagnuolo.