A tale of two food banks
29 JULY, 2015
I listened patiently as she became quite animated about "abuse." Eventually I took a deep breath and said, "Why do you call the behaviour of a person who is hungry and is asking for food "abuse"? Why not say it is a problem of low welfare rates, or even a problem of demand for more food than a voluntary food system can supply?
Privatizing Hydro is a big mistake — it's a step backwards
28 JULY, 2015 — HEARST
"It's hard to regulate something when you sell 60% of it" says Andre. "Why would the Ontario government make this backwards step? And while we are on the subject of energy — the province should also ban energy 're-sellers' who take advantage of people in our community".
It is only 9 km from the Wawa food bank to the gold mine — but the rich get richer and the poor... well you know how this ends
27 JULY, 2015 — WAWA
These two mines are in "unorganized townships" outside the boundaries of the municipality of Wawa. This means they pay a royalty to the province — but no taxes to the municipality. Wawa would receive at least hundreds of thousands of dollars (perhaps millions) in property taxes if the mine was located within the municipal boundary.
"Give people on assistance back their dignity"
24 JULY, 2015 — SAULT STE. MARIE
Yesterday I was at the Soup Kitchen Community Centre in Sault Ste. Marie that Tony Martin founded 31 years ago — long before he ran for election. It was a slow day and the staff said only (!) 150 people were there for lunch. The good news is that it's still a thriving centre of support and community connection. The bad news is that 31 years later — this place that is both a food bank and community meal provider — is still necessary.
"Resistance is fertile"
23 JULY, 2015 — SAULT STE. MARIE
At the end of each meeting today I asked this question: How can the Put Food in the Budget campaign contribute to the anti-poverty work people are doing in Sault Ste. Marie? People said "it is really important for us to know that we are part of something bigger. We want to know we are not alone. We want to talk with and hear from people in other communities. We want to know we belong to something at a provincial level that is working to make change."
"Duct tape is not going to hold us together — we need a real safety net."
22 JULY, 2015 — ELLIOT LAKE
I talk to people at the Sally Ann lunch program and at the Anti-Poverty Coalition dinner and I hear stories that are all too familiar. "Only $100 a month to buy food after I pay all my bills" says Scott. "I don't have enough to eat — so I go to all the meal programs during the week and on weekends I skip meals" says Marlene.
"How do you live on a food budget of $ 3.67 per day in Whitefish River, Manitoulin Island?"
21 JULY, 2015 — WHITEFISH RIVER
I said that in non-Native communities there is often a lot of stigma towards people who are poor and receive social assistance. I asked if that was an issue in this community. The Chief smiled — "All Aboriginal people are poor — we are the poorest of the poor in Canada. There is no freedom to have hope — in this community of four hundred people there have been six suicides in the last five years. The worst thing for us will be if we lose the concept of love."