First voice welfare activists in Nova Scotia are trying very hard to raise awareness about the incredibly difficult living conditions they have to deal with on a daily basis. At times it seems like nobody is listening. And nobody is helping them. Lately there have been modest signals that Nova Scotia’s labour movement at least is hearing them. There is a long way to go, but it’s something to build upon.

We take a look at the provincial parties’ responses to a social justice questionnaire, zooming in on commitments around welfare and people who work for very low wages. And some other observations.

New contributor Alex Kronstein suggests that an election campaign is the perfect time to bug the candidates about the underlying social causes of our healthcare crisis. In part 1 of the series he argues that when it comes to income distribution Nova Scotia could do much better. A living wage, a $15 minimum wage, making it easier for workplaces to unionize, and a guaranteed income are all measures that could make a big difference here.

Christine Saulnier, Nova Scotia Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, looks at the different ways politicians propose to address poverty in Nova Scotia during this election: wage increases, social programs, tax-based incentives, or a job.

The Liberal plan to cut taxes will not benefit the very poor, while the money could have been used to raise the income assistance rates or reduce the clawbacks, she writes, while simply saying that “the best social program is still a job” ignores the many people who simply are unable to work. Meanwhile, the NDP proposal to raise minimum wage to $15 definitely helps people who are struggling to make ends meet.