“Good poor” and “poor poor”… Really?

Photo: Philippe Lopez, Agence France-Presse
The Plan of action for the economic inclusion and social participation 2017-2023 is the government policy, the most ambitious in recent years in the area of social justice, argues the minister François Blais.

In a text published in Le Devoir, the historian Benoit Marsan takes the action Plan for the economic inclusion and social participation 2017-2023 that I announced on 10 December last in the presence of the prime minister.


In all likelihood, he didn’t read it, because there would be a sum of information that go against his about fear mongering and reading very “marxisante” he offers the recent evolution of social policies, a reading which does not glue in any way to the particular situation of Quebec, which remains, let us recall, the social-democracy the most developed in North America.


To get to draw up his table all in black, the author resumes his account of the idea according to which there is in this plan that for people with severe employment limitations, the “good poor,” he said, expression condescending, which makes a mockery of the harsh reality of people who will never be able to meet their needs.


Different transfers


I will point out that the “good poor” in question are not benefiting from the economic recovery current of Québec, or of the opportunities offered by a labour market close to full employment in several regions. Most living alone, they can not longer rely on the significant improvements of the income of the families of the past 15 years that have enabled a large number of them out of poverty.


Does he know for example that in Quebec, a family receives different transfers of the State that allow it to achieve on average 80 % of the market basket measure even before one of its members had started work only an hour ?


With its 43 measures, 18 departments or agencies involved and a total budget of nearly $ 3 billion, the government plan comes in support to different groups in need. The social assistance recipients with no limitations to employment, the “bad poor,” Mr. Marsan, are not left out. All transfers included, they keep with this plan, the disposable income the highest in Canada for this group. Important measures are also announced to enable them and their children to make progress towards greater economic self-reliance.


In time, this third plan will provide a permanent exit from poverty to more than 100 000 people, the vast majority are people living alone. It will allow the Quebec for the first time to access one of the leaders of the industrialized countries in terms of the fight against poverty, platoon comprised of countries such as Finland, Sweden, Denmark, the netherlands and Switzerland. It is this which makes the government policy, the most ambitious in recent years in the area of social justice.