Category Archives: Family

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.”

Seven Tips for Feminist Men

I know already. You’re a feminist. And a man. But I’m not going to pat you on the back for that because we need to do better.

We may think we’ve already earned all the male-feminist scout badges. We may subscribe to the male-feminist version of the doctors’ maxim ‘first, do no harm.’ But that’s not enough. We need to actively change our world.

So here are seven ways to improve.

1. Switch from Passive to Active

Men need to move past a place of neutrality to actively supporting feminist actions that make a real difference in people’s lives.

This may feel risky, and it should, because some men will interpret our actions as betraying our gender. We need to call that out.

If you aren’t comfortable pondering all this, keep reading anyway.

2. Seed Your Life with Feminist Inspiration

In February, Emma Watson (Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films) announced she was going to take a year off of acting to pursue activism and personal development. She is already the global face of the UN’s HeForShe gender equality campaign. Be inspired by following her and that campaign on whatever social media platforms you are on.

As of a few weeks ago, fewer than 18,000 Canadian men had committed to gender equality actions at HeForShe.org. Add your name there and explore the website to learn about innovative ways to pursue more equality. One in 18 Icelandic men have made that pledge. To match that rate, a million Canadian men need to sign up. Get busy and tell your friends!

Watson has also started “Our Shared Shelf,” a global online feminist book club. Join it. Why not? There are already over 119,000 members.

Also, read and subscribe to Gender-Focus.com, an exceptional Canadian (and labour-friendly) website exploring equality. We need to be challenged out of our complacency with new ideas; see #1 above.

Also, go back into your favourite social media platforms and follow Buffy Sainte-Marie, Margaret Atwood, Pam Palmater, Nora Loreto, bell hooks, Tantoo Cardinal, Geena Davis, Ta’Kaiya Blaney, and the Idle No More movement. That’s a good start!

3. Be Quiet

Men talk too much. We hog airtime in meetings, mindlessly exercise our illegitimate entitlement to talk first in mixed groups, and we interrupt women reflexively. A lot. We need to get over ourselves and recognize that for women to have more influence we need to create that space by being quiet more. It’s amazing what we can learn when our mouths are closed!

Here’s a fun exercise: while being quiet, count how many times women say, “I just wanted to say . . .” before sharing their idea. Where does that come from?

Being quiet also means not agreeing to be on or attend all-white or all-male panels or committees.

4. Raise Feminist Sons

Our boys are growing up with an opportunity to interact with girls in more progressive ways than when we were growing up. From a healthier understanding of consent to new norms of collaboration, our job is to model feminist actions, and to talk about why we’re doing that.

We also need to tell our sons stories about our own experiences — when we saw inequality and either did or didn’t do something about it. Our stories carry the wisdom we need to share.

And when progressive groups at our sons’ schools have a feminist bake sale and charge boys $1 and girls only $0.72, we need to applaud that.

5. Sacrifice, and Promote Pay Equity

Here’s a badge no one will give us: the badge of suffering. Men must give up some of our entitlements, including financial, for women to get more.

We already know that solidarity means supporting each other, but it really means doing so until it hurts. Last month, Thompson Rivers University Faculty Association in BC settled a collective agreement that explicitly earmarked extra funds for their precarious contract professors. That’s sacrifice, but it’s still far too rare, in post-secondary or any sector.

We also need to promote pay-equity language and funding in collective bargaining so that people in female-dominated jobs can earn comparable pay. And that means people in male-dominated jobs will have to seek smaller raises.

6. Abandon the Meritocracy Myth

People often object to quota positions on committees and boards because of this myth of meritocracy. Let it go.

In 2016, we can no longer accept the idea that all people have had equal access to education, opportunities and political influence, and therefore no one has any unearned advantages over anyone else. It’s just not true.

Meritocracy is a myth often used as an excuse to keep marginalized groups away from men’s entitlement zones. And merit is itself arbitrary and defined by people already representing demographics in power.

7. Promote Talented Women

Since we’re being more quiet (see #3 above), we should spend some of our newly found reflective time to carefully watch the women around us to see who we can encourage and promote.

We need to talk to them and ask what they want to accomplish in work and life. Then we should help them do that. And we need to remember that being a good ally means doing what people need us to do. Resist the urge to practise paternalism; let people guide us in helping them.

There. That wasn’t so bad, was it?

Where to Put the Homeless?

Source: A groundbreaking study suggests giving homeless Canadians homes first saves money

So, giving homeless people homes saves money [and shhhh, it’s the RIGHT thing to do!]…who knew!

Utah, that’s who. They’ve been at it for a while now.

It’s a report that could change the way that homeless people are treated in Canada. Funded by the federal government, “At Home/Chez Soi” is the largest study of its kind, with five years of research conducted in five major cities. It’s estimated that more than 150,000 people are homeless across the country, costing Canadians $1.4 billion each year.

The report suggests putting homeless people in housing, even before they have dealt with other problems such as mental illness and addiction, works to improve their lives. And it saves money.