I believe I have finally found a solution to Alberta’s poverty problem and if it works here it can be exported to the rest of Canada. Think of it as a social experiment that should please all the good people of Alberta.

In Alberta there are two classes; those who have and those who don’t. Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking there’s a middle class any more, the Alberta PCs have nicely done away with it and it’s about damn time, I say. Too much time and effort wasted trying to accommodate those who can’t pay for themselves and don’t add to the Alberta coffers enough. So, either you’re a have or a don’t have.

However, I’ve seen too much whining about the poor and have been guilty about it myself. Let’s face it, politicians aren’t interested in poverty because the poor don’t vote. Well, not enough to make a difference, anyway. Even if they did, they don’t pay enough in taxes to be worth worrying about. In other words, it doesn’t pay to look after the needs of the poor.

I have always been one to look for solutions wherever I can find them. It’s not enough to simply point fingers at a problem and hope someone takes care of it, I’m a person of action. So I think I’ve found a solution to that pesky poverty problem in Alberta. One that will be very palatable to the haves and politicians alike. Let us address each problem the poor face in turn.

  1. Housing. The damn homeless are everywhere. Like bloody cockroaches. You can’t walk a block downtown without tripping over one and the diseases they carry are worse than cockroaches. So let’s house them. I propose we erect a small camp just outside of city limits with large skyscraper apartment buildings. These complexes, which we will call “camps” for  convenience, will be walled for the poor’s own protection and feeling of safety. It will be just like current upscale walled communities. We can place it near the prisons as we all know how rampant crime is among the poor. This way they can have an easy walk to visit loved ones within prison from their homes. After all, the government isn’t cruel. Keeping loved ones together is important.The apartments will all be the same. From one to three bedrooms with built-in bunk-style beds that fold down from the walls. The living room will be similarly accommodated with sofa, chair and coffee table that is overlaid with easy to maintain cushions for comfort. This design will allow the poor to live in relative comfort while freeing them from having to buy furniture. After all, if you’re poor, having nice new possessions such as furniture is a luxury and the poor cannot afford luxuries.
  2. Food. There is a problem with nutrition among the poor. Currently, the poor buy low-quality, high fat, high sodium, easily stored food that is cheap. This leads to deprivation which leads to health issues. Science has found a low-cost, high nutrient quality food source that can easily be made into a paste. Insects. Insects are high in protein and nutrients, cheap to farm and eco-friendly. They don’t require the vast tracts of land to accommodate like cows or pigs do. Added to this are other high nutrient foods like rice or quinoa and all the nutrient needs of the poor can easily be met at a low cost.
  3. Work. This food will need to be processed. The poor need to work. We can build factories just outside the camps to process the new food source. At these factories the paste can be made and flavored and easily distributed. As well, the factories can be modified to perform a number of functions. Instead of processing clothing in third-world countries, these factories can allow the clothing to be processed right here in Canada. Everyone will work, even those with disabilities. Those with disabilities can work fewer hours unless they choose to work overtime. Of course, the camps will need to be maintained so some of the able bodied will be pressed into that work. This will give them much needed skills and a feeling of contributing to the greater good. This, in turn, will lead to a sense of pride and the poor can eventually work their way out of their situation. From time to time, the good citizens of Alberta may need to hire labour at a cost-saving price. The camps will have easy access to inexpensive labour and a bussing solution can be worked out to bus workers to their jobs outside the camps.This brings me to another problem; prostitution. We are all grown ups and know that prostitution is going on. Largely it is poor women who are supervised by gangs in this line of work. Yet there are those of the good folk who enjoy a good prostitute now and again. I am not going to judge. Therefore, a red light district will be built in the camps where those with money can go to enjoy their services. Instead of paying the prostitute, the consumer will simply pay at an entrance booth. There he or she will get a ticket stating how many prostitutes he or she wishes to enjoy that evening. The prostitute will mark the ticket before their session begins and everyone is happy. This will keep prostitution and its accompanying drugs and crime out of the good neighbourhoods while still making it easily available.
  4. Health. If the Alberta Government is to be believed, everyone’s health is of prime importance. Therefore a health facility will be built in the camp for immediate needs. This will not be a hospital but simply a quick-care facility attended by nurses. Since there will be no need or desire to treat issues at this facility, a doctor only need come once a month to oversee operations. For larger health issues and emergencies, the poor can be taken to a hospital in the city proper and attended to there where there is full access to necessary equipment. The poor can be attended in the hospitals in a discrete, out of the way area designated for them. In this way, the good citizens of Alberta need never see them.
  5. Education. Since higher education is wasted on the poor, we need only accommodate grades 1 to 12. Such frivolous classes as art and drama can be eliminated and replaced with factory education or sewing or maintenance. This will give them real world skills when they go to work in the nearby factories and such.
  6. Crime. We all know that the poor are more likely to commit crime. This, of course, is due to their lazy natures and lack of education. I do not see any use in wasting police resources in trying to stop the inevitable. Therefore, there will be no police presence in the camps.
  7. Waste. I suggest we move landfills near the camps to accommodate for the large amount of refuse that will be processed there. It will be an easy, low-cost solution to the problem.
  8. Clothing. Need, not want, is the rule of the day. Let us not waste time on useless fashion or colours. A simple jumpsuit in beige will be sufficient. Of course, given Canadian winters, there will need to be two different designs; one for summer and one for winter. The winter one will be insulated while the summer one will have ventilation. Shoes will be simple boots for winter, good and functional, and sandals for summer. The jumpsuit will be accommodated with a hood to eliminate the need for a jacket.
  9. Green space. The haves are well aware that nice things are wasted on the poor. The poor cannot take the same pride in their  living conditions as those with money do. However, it is necessary to have some green space so that the poor can be encouraged to take walks to maintain their health. Therefore, one small park in each of the camps with a small playground for children will be constructed. In the parks such plants as apple trees, plum bushes, tomato and potato plants can be planted to supplement their diet needs. These will be luxuries as the Government of Alberta and its good citizens are not without pity.

For those who think that such accommodations are cruel, let me assure you that this is kinder than the current situation. It is well-known that the poor are most comfortable among their own kind. It is cruel to expect the poor to try to rise above their station and it is bad economics to try to help them. The camps are a quick, convenient solution that is best for everyone.

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