Category Archives: Idle No More

No, BC Actually Mentored Saskatchewan’s Poor-Bashing

https://images.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Foxfamblogs.org%2Ffp2p%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2014%2F10%2FClass_War-2_250px.jpg&f=1Despite being Metro News, Emily Jackson’s great piece yesterday [below] about how brutally cruel the Saskatchewan government is should make us mindful of a number of issues.

Not the least of which is that the neoliberal Saskatchewan Party has been photocopying many of the worst of BC’s regressive and anti-social policies.

That makes the BC Liberal government Saskatchewan’s poor-bashing mentor.

Let’s re-spin this piece and explore some key context, then work up some solutions!

  1. In Saskatchewan there’s a lot of racism and classism and discrimination against the poor and those with mental health issues. BC too.
  2. 1 in 7 people in Saskatchewan is aboriginal.
  3. In Saskatchewan, the police have been known to drive aboriginals out of town to dump them on the outskirts of town. In the winter. There are even jovial nicknames for that little jaunt.
  4. Saskatchewan has cut funding to shelters. So has BC. It’s called poorbashing. People, after all, should pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Because, after all, we are all born with equal opportunity to succeed in life! [Myth, as you know.]
  5. The BC premier is an opportunistic liar when it comes to the 2 men the Saskatchewan Party put on a bus with a one-way ticket to BC: “Wherever they are in Canada, we should be supporting them… if they decide to come to British Columbia, we’re going to support them in that.” There are hundreds of thousands of stories of people in BC who are being degraded, de-funded, insulted and left to dangle in the wind from almost 15 years of cuts to social programs. Perhaps she thinks these men from the bus can work in LNG because that’s mythical as the BC Liberal Party social conscience.
  6. A Vancouver city councillor is deluded if he really believes his own words, that he “hopes Saskatchewan will look to British Columbia and Vancouver for how to properly treat people who need low barrier shelters.” Vancouver has a dismal record of actually contending with homelessness and inadequate housing. And if he really believes that anyone should look to the BC government for how to deal with the poor, he’s at best disingenuous. But then he shows his weakening credibility: “We’re a humane and just society here in Vancouver, and certainly our province is as well,” Jang said. “You just don’t treat people that way.” BC treats its vulnerable populations hideously. Our province is a train wreck.

Solutions Time!

  1. The same Vancouver councillor is right in calling for a national homelessness strategy, and far far more robust than this insult.
  2. We also need a poverty reduction plan in BC.
  3. We also need living wage legislation in BC.
  4. We need a housing authority in Vancouver, like Whistler has.
  5. We also need a national poverty strategy.
  6. And a national housing strategy.
  7. This isn’t really all that difficult. #1-6 indicate some intentional planning, based on sincerity and integrity and actual concern to ensure that people in a rich country like Canada don’t have to live in squalor.
  8. Which brings us to #8. Welcome, #8! Canadians are ignorant or oblivious or criminally indifferent to the squalor we have created over generations on reserves and for off-reserve first peoples. We are content with their inadequate housing, untreated mental health disorders and addictions, pathetic healthcare and education, insufficient physical and social infrastructure, and a myriad of other socio-economic problems reminiscent of 21st century failed states. And you won’t see any comments on this piece about how they just need to pull themselves up by their…bootstraps. I’ll just delete them upon submission. So there’s that.
  9. Oh, and we also need the post-carbon energy infrastructure transition to ramp up to 11 now because delaying will create climate chaos that will exacerbate all the socio-economic problems above, and many more.

Ultimately, we can simply coordinate our ample brain power, increasing tax base and will to create a just and equitable Canada for everyone.

And if that isn’t compelling enough for you because it’s the right thing to do, imagine if you weren’t born who you were. Imagine you were born lacking the socio-economic entitlements you have and you lived in communities like I mentioned in #8. Bad luck, eh.

If you have the neurons to even just imagine that, then ask yourself, shouldn’t you be advocating for public policy that would provide people with the best shot at a good life on the off chance that you would have been born into a vulnerable community? After all, all humans deserve an equal chance to have a good life, and not be born into deprivation, right?

And if the answer is no, it’s probably because you weren’t and you’re ok enjoying your entitlements while others born into vulnerability can just rot.

There’s a word for that kind of person. Many words, even.

B.C. will help two homeless men sent west by Saskatchewan government: Premier Christy Clark

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark said the province should and will help the two homeless men en route to the west coast after the Saskatchewan government bought them one-way bus tickets to B.C., where neither had social services lined up.

Saskatchewan’s ministry of social services spent $500 on B.C.-bound bus tickets for the two First Nations men instead of helping them at home, where their local shelter recently faced funding cuts, the Saskatoon Star Phoenix reported Wednesday.

According to the newspaper, one man has family in Victoria and one, a 21-year-old who struggles with mental health problems, doesn’t know a soul in Vancouver, his final destination. The men embarked from North Battleford, Sask. Tuesday night, but it’s not clear whether they arrived in B.C.

Regardless, Clark said the province stands ready to help, adding that B.C.’s strong economy is attracting a variety of people.

“I think everybody in British Columbia would say we want to support people with serious mental illness and we want to make sure they get the care that they need,” Clark told reporters. “Wherever they are in Canada, we should be supporting them… if they decide to come to British Columbia, we’re going to support them in that.”

Vancouver Coun. Kerry Jang, who is also a psychiatry professor at UBC who researches mental illness, said this story shows homelessness is a problem across Canada, not just in major centres, and called for a national homelessness strategy. Meanwhile, he hopes Saskatchewan will look to British Columbia and Vancouver for how to properly treat people who need low barrier shelters.

“To treat two human beings that way, slapping them on the bus, one reportedly with mental health issues, to send them off into the night, is absolutely disgusting,” Jang said.

“I hope Saskatchewan learns from this and says we’ve got to invest in our social services and get people the best care to get them on their feet again, not push it off and hope fate will take care of them.”

The Star Phoenix reported that Saskatchewan social workers have the discretion to buy people bus tickets, usually to join family, but it is not typical. The government announced Wednesday it will review the case.

Vancouver’s annual homeless count takes place Wednesday night to Thursday morning. If volunteers meet either man, they will offer help.

“We’re a humane and just society here in Vancouver, and certainly our province is as well,” Jang said. “You just don’t treat people that way.”

11 Weeks of Daily Harper Protests

The Harper Re-election Disaster Bus Totalitarianism: daily, for 11 weeks!

Get used to this.

People hate Harper and his Conservatives. We will see through his weak attempt to wedge oppositions parties by running a long election campaign because he has more money to spend.

Saturation will come fast.

We will remember how much contempt he holds for people and democracy.

We will listen to his 5 non-answers to 5 media questions each day and we will be constantly reminded of how much we can’t stand what he has done to Canada.

And we will see this. Every day:

Looking for Heroes?

energy-east-poster.jpg

I’ve been watching The Book of Negroes this week. I have no words. I only recognize justice, integrity, brutality, acknowledgement, witnessing, story telling and a myriad of other foggy responses.

It’s easy to also ponder qualities of heroes.

Then I read this from earlier this week, and nodded. Do you get it?

Anishinabe Women Protest Energy East Pipeline on Family Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 16, 2015

‘Protect the Water, For Future Generations’: Message being shared today with local families, starting at Market Square at noon.

Kenora—Dozens of Anishinabe Women, their families, and supporters converge today on Market Square at noon to deliver a message against the proposed Energy East Pipeline that will deliver tarsands oil right through the City and through all of Treaty 3 (and other First Nations) Territory.

Today’s Family Day demonstration, with a focus on protecting the water for future generations, is intended to be highly visible—with drumming, singing, placards and speeches—and to inform and engage the local public about the immense threats posed by the likelihood of oil spills to local water sources, ecosystems, animal habitat, and human health, as well as broader environmental impacts from proposed tarsands expansion.

Fawn Wapioke is Chief of Shoal Lake #39. She says, “I am deeply concerned about the pipeline and believe that our responsibility is to the land, the water, and future of our People. Our responsibility is upholding the law of the land to ensure survival of our Mother Earth.”

TransCanada, speaking to the possibility of a major oil spill in the area, has said that it would take a minimum 22 minutes to shut down the Energy East pipeline in case of a leak. Any spill from the pipeline  could allow as much as 2.7 million litres of oil to spill in that time.

It wouldn’t be the first major industrial spill in the region.

“Being from Grassy Narrows, I know firsthand how damage to the water can poison our families and our kids, not just now, but in the future, too,” said Corrisa Swain, a Youth from Grassy Narrows where families continue to watch newborn children exhibit the brutal symptoms of mercury poisoning, a Dryden pulp and paper mill having dumped over 9000 kgs of Mercury into the English and Wabigoon River System over 40 years ago. “We know from our own experience how these kinds of projects can have terrible impacts on future generations and how unlikely it is that government or companies will ever clean up afterwards,” says Swain.

The environmental impacts from the Energy East Pipeline also extend far beyond the local effects on the Winnipeg River, Lake of the Woods and local ecosystems.

“The project is a climate nightmare, demanding as much as a 40% expansion of tarsands extraction, releasing millions of tonnes more carbon pollution, just when we’ve been told that 75% of tarsands oil needs to stay in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate impacts in the next century,” said Teika Newton, a representative of Kenora Transitions Initiative (TIK), a Kenora-based environmental advocacy group. “There is also the reality that tarsands extraction, like pipeline spills, have terrible impacts on downstream communities across the continent,” Newton says.

Trancanada’s new pipeline project has already been opposed across the entirety of its route, from local tarsands impacted communities to the Mohawk community of Kanesatake and Mi’qmak communities on the East Coast. In Treaty 3 Territory, Grand Chief Warren White has already clearly stated that the pipeline will not carry tarsands oil across the territory without express consent from affected First Nations. Local grassroots communities have echoed those sentiments.

“The Energy East Pipeline is going to affect us all, we together as Peoples need to prevent this project. For the sake of the water, wildlife, and land,” says Alicia Kejick, a Youth from Shoal Lake #39. “For our Peoples and future grandchildren,” Kejick says, “it is momentous that we protect what is ours to begin with. We will be out on Family Day, not just to raise awareness, but to speak for those who can’t.”

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Contact:   Chrissy Swain, 807 407 1468