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Kendall Worth on Community Services: Hey Ho, Minister Joanne Bernard has got to go!

Kendall Worth is a poverty activist and a frequent contributor to the Nova Scotia Advocate.

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – During Joanne Bernard’s time in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly she did very little to actually help people on social assistance.  

I remember her saying that she was going to get everyone’s special needs reinstated that they lost under the former NDP government. This ended up being a broken promise. What happened instead  is that things ended up just getting worse for income assistance clients.

This is why I say “hey ho Joanne Bernard has got to go!”

Yes, ESIA transformation did get started since she got elected. However, if anything is going to happen it sure is moving as slow as cold molasses.

Those 2 million dollars she used to pay an outside company to come in and make changes to the ESIA system/program, that 2 million could have been used to increase the income assistance rates.   

For more insight on what I am talking about here I invite readers to have a look at my past Nova Scotia Advocate articleIt appears to me that she is someone who is all talk when it comes to making life better for Nova Scotians who are on income assistance.  

The income assistance rates stayed frozen for two years, and in year three we got a $20.00 increase. That $20.00 increase hardly made a dent in the pockets of income assistance clients.

Joanne Bernard has to understand that by being the MLA for Dartmouth North a lot of people who she represents are on welfare.

I know this is because I myself have lived in that area of Dartmouth. From my days of being a resident of my old Dartmouth North address, I at one time used to be surrounded by people living in poverty as my very own neighbours. I remember  them living their lives in isolation and being stuck. I remembered people used to spend time loitering outside buildings including the exact building of my old Dartmouth address.  

It was sad to see these people having to resort to doing that in order to have socialization in their lives. They had to resort to doing that because they could not afford transportation to get anywhere, or even go and get a coffee at the Tim Hortons within walking distance from my old address.

I will say that even though I never personally got to know most of them, you could tell by looking at them they were stuck, had mental health issues, and lived in poverty.

There were times when people loitering outside my old address, when I used to walk by them to catch the bus they would ask me if I had a bit of spare change or a cigarette. I would tell them no and keep going about my business.

These are examples of people who Joanne Bernard is representing in her community who in my view she is not even paying attention to.


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  1. Thank you, Kendall for writing these articles to help people to understand welfare issues. It’s really important.

  2. Kendall the ESIA reform was actually started under the NDP the year before the Liberals were voted in but Bernard has always taken claim for it. As you know we were making positive changes and brought in multiple program increases along with the affordable tax credit and poverty reduction tax credit and raised income assistances by $75 per month along with other funding increases. The ESIA review does not have to stop the Minister in increasing assistance as the review takes place but that is the excuse she has provided. The NDP reduced poverty by 18% and given more time that figure would be higher. How much has the poverty been reduced under the Liberal government? No one seems to know because they have done nothing! Keep up the good work Kendall!

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