Category Archives: Vision Vancouver

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.”

Vancouver’s ‘Progressive’ Council and Housing

Vancouver’s City Council is occasionally lauded as ‘progressive,’ and the ruling party – Vision Vancouver – takes significant pride in trumpeting their work on affordable housing as evidence of such. But then they go and define “affordable rent” for a 1-bedroom apartment at $1,500.

And today’s quote from Geoff Meggs is fascinating:

Meggs dismisses Antrim’s ideas as infeasible. Allowing tenants back into renovated suites without extraordinary rent increases, he says, would unfairly force landlords to lose money. “I don’t think anybody, regardless of their perspective on rents, can afford to renovate a home and not pay off that renovation somehow,” he reasons.

That’s right. It would be unfair to force a landlord, who might have evicted someone so that they could repaint the walls, to triple the rent. Depriving them of income is unfair. Depriving someone of affordable housing isn’t, apparently.

Minimum Wage: Not Just for Kids Anymore!

The 1% and their media apologists and think tank lackeys would have us all believe that minimum wage is for kids. It’s for unskilled labour in entry level jobs.And it’s ok. We shouldn’t worry. They’re just kids after all: no families or mortgages. They don’t have much training or life experience and honestly, they should be lucky to have work so they could buy CDs and go to movies.That mythology is alive and well, regardless of the fact that the demographics demonstrate that it’s not just shiftless youth who deserve this minimum wage punishment.As the OECD world embraces a paradigm of precarious work, we should simply look at the facts. US stats from the AFL-CIO indicate how this minimum wage mythology is just ignorance: wilful or otherwise.

And you’ll note women continue to get shafted as men make up just over half the number of minimum wage workers as women. So it’s class warfare [as always], and gender discrimination.

And in the “good olde days” [TM] when a high school diploma meant access to life-sustaining work, 93% of minimum wage workers lack a bachelor’s degree. And even though a bachelor’s degree doesn’t guarantee work in one’s field, it at least allows them access to higher paying jobs.

The flipside is disturbing. In America even more so than in Canada, the price to get access to non-minimum wage jobs is tens of thousands of dollars of student debt to get the bachelor’s degree. That barrier to entry is another fact of class warfare. The poor who can’t afford a bachelor’s degree deserve to remain poor.

The cycle of entrenched, multi-generational  poverty is another tool of class warfare. Don’t fool yourself.

The Reality Of Who Actually Works For Minimum Wage Will Shock You

If you add up the totals in these charts, 75% of minimum wage earners are adults. Let that sink in for a minute. 70% have at least a high school degree, and some have had at least a year or two of college.
Take a look at the size of the big blue slice in the first pie chart — that represents adult women who are working for minimum wage, almost half of the total. This is why raising the minimum wage would make a huge difference for tons of families, especially those in which women are the primary breadwinners or single moms.
Brandon Weber
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– from The Reality Of Who Actually Works For Minimum Wage Will Shock You.