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Nova Scotians protest low wages, rising living costs as legislature’s spring sitting begins

Click to play video: 'Anti-poverty protest held outside N.S. Legislature' Anti-poverty protest held outside N.S. Legislature
WATCH: An anti-poverty protest was held outside the Nova Scotia Legislature as the House resumed sitting. The protest aimed to draw attention to the barriers faced by people living in poverty. The groups wants government to raise the minimum wage and provide affordable housing for all. Amber Fryday reports. – Mar 24, 2022

Nearly a hundred people gathered outside the Nova Scotia legislature early Thursday afternoon to protest rising living costs, low wages and poverty in the province.

It was the first day of the legislature’s spring sitting.

Advocates called on the government to acknowledge that many Nova Scotians are living in poverty, and for the provincial budget to address that.

Amber Fryday / Global News

One protester, who lives in Halifax without secure housing, said “it’s time that the public take note.”

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“I think we deserve more than what we’re getting right now,” said Stephen Moses.

Read more: A growing city with growing unaffordability — How Halifax’s cost of living is ‘affecting everyone’

Moses works full-time, but has been homeless for about a year now after he was evicted from his apartment, he said.

“Even though I am paid a dollar more than minimum wage, right now that isn’t enough to get by.

“I feel really bad for people who are making a dollar less than me. I can’t imagine how much harder it would be for them.”

Amber Fryday / Global News

Thursday’s protest was organized by a coalition of worker, housing and anti-poverty advocates, including organizations like Justice for Workers Nova Scotia, a group that advocates for living wages in the province.

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Read more: Nova Scotia opposition to focus on cost of living, health care during spring sitting

Halifax Mutual Aid spokesperson Campbell McClintock said at the rally that there is little help from the Halifax municipality and province for those who face financial and housing barriers.

“We really need to measure the health of our communities by the people who are the most vulnerable and face the most barriers,” said McClintock.

“If we’re not leading that with our policies, I don’t know what we’re doing.”

Some advocates at the rally said they’re hopeful that Nova Scotia’s Premier Tim Houston is listening, as the spring session continues.

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The province’s opposition parties made it clear earlier this week that the rising cost of living and health care will be top of the agenda.

NDP Leader Gary Burrill said in a Tuesday news conference that “the government is out of touch from the intensifying financial pressures related to the escalation in the cost of living.”

Houston’s Progressive Conservative government has promised some relief, but is yet to announce what measures it will take.

— with files from The Canadian Press.

Read more: N.S. bans protests outside homes of health officials after top doctor harassed

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