Category Archives: Anti-poverty

You’re not really poor if you have a computer or a refrigerator


I actually have the exact same laptop.

This is for the people who think that just because poor people in Canada and the USA have computers, refrigerators, cars, televisions and cellphones that we aren’t really poor and just need to STFU, even though you won’t listen and will just continue to spout your ignorant fallacies anyway.

Ok, so this is for the people who know damn well that poverty exists in Canada and like reading things that validate their beliefs, or perhaps for the people who think that having a good argument might stop the poverty-deniers from spreading their nonsense. Or perhaps it’s just for the people who have heard the ‘there is no poverty in Canada’ argument and are open-minded about hearing what it really going on. Read the rest of this entry

A Tale of Two Poverty Panels


In the past month there were two different panel discussions on poverty streaming live online for the world to watch. One from the USA, and one from Canada, both took place in their nation’s capital. I watched both, and must admit the US panel was far more interesting. Here they both are, first the Canadian panel.

“On February 14th, the Dignity for All campaign for a poverty-free Canada hosted “What’s Next? How do we Address Poverty in Canada?” on Parliament Hill. Over 130 people – including a significant number of parliamentarians, advocacy groups, and members of the public – attended the public forum, with many more from across the country watching online via our live feed.
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BBC Documentary: Poor America


With one and a half million American children now homeless, reporter Hilary Andersson meets the school pupils who go hungry in the richest country on Earth. From those living in the storm drains under Las Vegas to the tent cities now springing up around the United States, Panorama finds out how the poor are surviving in America and asks whatever happened to Barack Obama’s vision for the country.

Downtown garbage cans as a source of food


I’m not sure if there is a name for scavenging food from public trash receptacles. It’s not quite dumpster diving, and I wouldn’t call it canning either, as that usually refers to collecting refundable cans.

Whatever it’s called, it paid off for me today perfectly.

I left the house early today to do some work for a friend. My food supply at home is limited to rice, beans, noodles, quinoa, potatoes and tomato sauce. I woke up a half hour before I had to leave, and there was no time to cook any of that, and besides, I can’t eat when I first get up.

So I figured I’d check the garbage cans when I got downtown. This is something I’ve resorted to on many occasions. Usually, a check into a hundred or so garbage cans downtown will eventually yield unfinished take-out food, half eaten bags of chips and if you’re collecting cans, a buck or two worth. I don’t mind that I’m highly visibile while I do this. The downtown core is filled with decadence and conspicuous consumption, which is far more disgusting to me. I like to remind the sheeple and tourists that poverty exists in our lovely little city, and that people are going to desperate measures to survive.
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Dignified Shelter NOW!


I just started watching a film called The Saint of Fort Washington (1993), about a person with schizophrenia who finds himself out on the street when a slumlord tears down his apartment building. I’m only ten minutes into it; a part where the main character (played by Matt Dillon) walks into a homeless shelter that seems to be a converted auditorium. The accomadations, like most homeless shelters, is dorm-style; everyone packed into one room. This particular shelter had hundreds of beds filling a floor that looked larger than a professional hockey rink.

Fort Washington Armory NYC (screenshot from film)

I’ve worked in a big shelter, with maybe 75 in one room. Like I said, this is what homeless shelters are like.

And that saddens and frustrates me.
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Frameworks for Perceiving and Addressing Poverty


I have an interview tomorrow morning with a reporter from the Martlett (University of Victoria student paper), who contacted me after reading my plea for funding to work on my book. So I wanted to share some of the thoughts I have been assembling in my mind in preperation for the interview.

One of the main things I intend to touch upon in A Poverty Of Perception is the way that we perceive poverty; by which I mean not just the stereotypes and prejudices towards people in poverty, but also the frameworks used by activists, scholars and policy-makers when addressing this issue.

A predominant perception, particulairly among economists, is that poverty is an economic problem. This definition gives way to solutions that are rooted in economic growth and development. The well documented failure of economic development to sufficently impact poverty dispells this notion rather easily.

More difficult to dispell is the framework used by many radical activists that targets capitalism as the cause of poverty, usually setting up an argument for socialism or anarchism of some form.
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Envisioning the perfect job


Now that I have a place to live and am no longer homeless, my experience of poverty is that of unemployed. I’m in the process of applying for welfare, but unless I end up being diagnosed with a ‘condition’ that reflects an inability to find or hold employment, I’m required to keep looking for work.

Lately I’ve been reflecting on what the ideal job would be, what it is I am meant to be doing, or at the very least, can tolerate enough to stay employed at. I’m lucky enough to have quite a few skills, and have been envisioning how to put them to use, and what it would look like to get paid to do so.

I think about what I currently spend my time doing. Reading and writing about poverty and homelessness takes up the vast majority of my day. I am pretty much obsessed with the fact that so many people are without the most basic of necessities in the land of plenty while so many others are oblivious to this reality, or hold misguided notions that people choose to be homeless, or deserve to be. I have been studying this issue for long enough to know that shifting people’s perceptions is extremely difficult. The reality of the situation is that those of us who do care about alleviating poverty and homelessness (and ultimately ending it) truly need to be doing everything we can.
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