Next week, the Nova Scotia government will table its budget that is forecast to have no deficit. This is no measure of good government — it was an unnecessary goal achieved with serious cost and sacrifice borne by the less advantaged, families as well as working Nova Scotians.

Over one in five Nova Scotia children lives in family poverty. Welfare incomes remain thousands of dollars below the poverty line and the government is saving money on “special needs” such as bus passes or small, extra diet allowances, cutting people off and robbing people of their dignity.

Thousands of Nova Scotians are without any place to call their own, living on the streets, couch-surfing or staying in shelters. Others are in accommodations that they cannot afford, or are not safe nor adequate nor properly maintained. Meanwhile, still other individuals and families who are housed spend an increasing proportion of their income on rent (including heat), leaving little for food and forcing more of them to go to food banks.