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N.B. group targets prejudices and myths about people living in poverty with new campaign

N.B. group taking aim at myths about people in poverty
WATCH: The Moncton chapter of the Common Front for Social Justice says misrepresentation and misconceptions can be damaging for many people. Callum Smith has more.

A Moncton group is launching a campaign to combat prejudices and myths surrounding people who are living in poverty.

Robert MacKay, project manager for the Moncton chapter of the Common Front for Social Justice (CFSJ), said radio ads and videos will be posted to Facebook and YouTube as part of the campaign.

The group hopes it will help break “myths around poverty that are very damaging myths that hurt a lot of people.”

The chapter says the three most common prejudices are that people living in poverty “are lazy and don’t want to work,” “they should get off drugs and booze,” and “they choose to be on social assistance.”

READ MORE: N.B. report sheds light on children, youth struggling with poverty, social exclusion

MacKay says the campaign will provide people with a “different point of view about people that we’re seeing as ‘problem people.'”

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Lisa Ryan, the community development co-ordinator with the Greater Moncton Homelessness Steering Committee, says she believes the campaign “will help push the narrative forward.”

Ryan says one of the most common misconceptions she hears about people living in poverty is that they chose to be in the situation they’re in.

“Yes, we do have some responsibility (for) our situations and choices,” she says. “But some of us are born into situations where we don’t have the same privilege as someone who’s born in a healthy home or in a better socio-economic bracket.”

Moncton Public Library combats ‘period poverty’
Moncton Public Library combats ‘period poverty’

Val Smith, a member of the CFSJ, says people who accuse those collecting cans and bottles of being too lazy to work should reconsider their judgment.

“These people are out at 5:30 a.m. or 6 a.m. every morning, sometimes even earlier,” Smith says. “Doing this kind of work, if you’re making a dollar an hour, you’re having a good day.”

One of the proposals put forward by the group is for the provincial government to increase social assistance rates to keep up with the cost of inflation.

“We hope it’ll make a difference,” MacKay says.