Aug. 6, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The leadership team of the New Brunswick Poverty Reduction Initiative has released A Choir of Voices - The What Was Said Report. The report summarizes public dialogue sessions held last winter as the first phase of Bringing the pieces together, the comprehensive public engagement initiative that aims to develop a poverty reduction plan for the province.
"Almost 2,500 New Brunswickers have shared their views and ideas on the best ways to reduce poverty in our province," said Social Development Minister Kelly Lamrock, co-chair of the initiative. "This valuable information will drive the overall development of the poverty reduction plan."
A Choir of Voices is the basis of discussions being held during Phase II of the initiative, during which participants in round-table sessions will develop options for how poverty can be reduced. This process is intended to ensure that the voices of New Brunswickers are heard.
"It was inspiring to be engaged with such a diverse group of New Brunswickers, many of whom have had first-hand experience of living in poverty," said co-chair Léo-Paul Pinet, who represented the non-profit sector. "Participants in the public sessions were able to paint a very compelling picture of the challenges faced by many New Brunswickers."
The 16 public dialogue sessions were held in different regions of the province from January to March, and brought together New Brunswickers from all walks of life to share their experiences and stories related to poverty. Individuals also shared their views by e-mail, fax and regular mail.
"Being able to listen to the experiences of those who participated in Phase I was interesting and sometimes very humbling," said co-chair Gerry Pond, who represented the business community. "Several issues were brought to light, and participants offered a genuine description of poverty as it exists in New Brunswick."
The Bringing the pieces together initiative consists of three stages: a dialogue phase; a round-table phase; and a final forum phase. The final forum, to be held in November, will bring together members of all sectors of the province to complete and adopt a plan to reduce poverty in New Brunswick.
Copies of A Choir of Voices - The What Was Said Report may be obtained online, or by calling 1-888-315-6606.
New Brunswickers are invited to share their comments on the report, by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org; by fax at 506-462-5150; or by regular mail at A Poverty Reduction Plan for New Brunswick, c/o The Department of Social Development, P.O. Box 6000, Fredericton, N.B., E3B 5H1.
MEDIA CONTACT: Alison Aiton, Department of Social Development, 506-444-2416.