October 19, 2020
Twenty-five years ago this month, then Ontario premier Mike Harris slashed social assistance rates by 21.6 per cent.
In response to criticism of the cuts, Harris’s minister in charge of social services, David Tsubouchi, put forward a shopping list — later dubbed the “welfare diet” — to prove that welfare recipients could survive on the new lower rates by adhering to a $90-a-month grocery budget.
Tsubouchi’s list, which included nine servings of pasta but no sauce, and did not include butter, salt or other pantry staples, was widely ridiculed.
“It is totally out of touch with reality and is consistent with the stupidity and the ignorance of this minister,” Liberal MPP Dominic Agostino said in the legislature at the time.