When Poverty Mattered

Then and Now

By Paul Weinberg  

Paperback $22.00

EPUB $21.99

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Founded in Toronto in 1968, the Praxis Corporation was a progressive research institute mandated to spark political discussion about a range of social issues, such as poverty, homelessness, anti-war activism, community activism and worker organization. Deemed a radical threat by the Canadian state, Praxis was put under RCMP surveillance. In 1970, Praxis’s office was burgled and burned to the ground. No arrests were made, but internal documents and records stolen from Praxis ended up in the hands of the RCMP Security Service. All this occurred as Pierre Trudeau’s Liberal government shifted away from social spending and poverty reduction towards the economic regime of austerity and neoliberalism that we have today.

In When Poverty Mattered, Paul Weinberg combines insights gleaned from internal government documents, access to information requests and investigative journalism to provide both a history of radical politics in 1960s Canada and an illustration of misdeeds and dirty tricks the Canadian government orchestrated in order to disrupt activist organizations fighting for a more just society.

Anyone interested in the history of poverty and poor people’s movements should read this book.”

— Gaétan Héroux, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and co-author of Toronto’s Poor: A Rebellious History

  • EPUB
  • ISBN: 9781773631813
  • November 2019
  • $21.99
  • For sale worldwide
  • Kindle
  • ISBN: 9781773631820
  • November 2019
  • For sale worldwide

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  • Paul Weinberg’s book reminds us that political activism is viewed as a threat by much more powerful and secretive actors with little accountability.

    — Sean Hurley for The Point (full review)


  • Acknowledgements
  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • Poverty Is Rediscovered
  • Pierre Trudeau’s Ambivalence About Poverty
  • The Media and Poverty
  • Praxis and Its Contribution
  • Other Poverty Initiatives
  • Opposition and Surveillance
  • An Unsolved Crime, a Journalist’s Secrets and the Suspected Burglars
  • The Dirty Tricks Scandal
  • The Clashing Poverty Reports
  • The Poverty File Today
  • Afterword: Picking Up the Pieces
  • References
  • Index


  • Paul Weinberg

    Paul Weinberg has worked in journalism most of his life, primarily as a freelance writer. He has written for newspapers such as the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Daily Star and the Hamilton Spectator, weeklies including NOW Magazine and Eye Magazine, and a range of publications including the Report on Business, This Magazine and the CCPA Monitor. Currently living in Hamilton, he is editing an upcoming collection of articles about the City of Hamilton. And he spent a little over a decade researching his new book, When Poverty Mattered, Then and Now which he describes as combining the elements of history and investigative journalism.

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