The Housing Crisis as Seen From Below

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There is a new bill up for debate in the Alberta Legislature that would end child-free housing in Alberta. What this means is there would no longer be anymore adult only buildings. This sounds great on paper and, as a matter of fact, Mark Holmgren, a man I admire greatly, advocates for it on his blog post. However, the idea horrifies me and I don’t think people have thought this through completely.

I don’t have kids for a reason and I don’t want to be around them. I’ve said this before in previous posts and, yes, that makes me an asshole. However, that’s not why I’m against this. The only reason this is up for debate in the Alberta Legislature is because kids make for a great photo op and politicians earn brownie points when they look like they’re fighting for kids. Let’s look at the real cost of this bill, shall we? Here I present three real life stories of people I know who will be impacted negatively by this bill.

Lady Grace

I’m going to call this lady Grace because she’s tried to live her life with the kind of grace and acceptance that few attain.

Grace wanted to be a mother all her life. When she was very small she’d play with her dolls, caring for them as if they were live babies. She never resented helping her mother care for her younger siblings. She looked forward to a time when she would have children of her own.

She married a wonderful man and became pregnant right away. Sadly, she lost the baby in the first trimester. Then there was a second. Then a third. Then a hysterectomy. Her husband felt helpless and their marriage didn’t survive.

No one knows the pain of losing a child unless you’ve been through it. Grace battled depression even as she desperately tried to move on with her life. Yes, she could have adopted but she never quite bounced back from those three miscarriages.

Grace now lives in adult-only buildings. Living next door to families is just too much for  her to deal with and can spin her downward into a suicidal spin. Now, though, she may have no choice. So her life is put at risk so politicians can earn brownie points.

Ernie

Ernie was severely and repeatedly abused by his father from a very young age. His father was a sexual sadist who would alternate between beating and raping him. Ernie survived his childhood by running away and eventually getting help to deal with his demons.

One of his demons involves pedophilia. Even though he’s never looked at a child sexually or even thought about it, Ernie is afraid that what his father did to him left him damaged in ways that have yet to manifest. This is one of the things he sees a psychologist for. His biggest fear is that he will turn into his father.

As a result, Ernie lives in adult only buildings. Living next to children is terrifying to him. Whether the world understands it or not, Ernie is trying to keep himself safe. Now, though, he will have to sacrifice his security so politicians can have the opportunity to say they’re fighting for families.

Me

I live with Nonverbal Learning Disorder. An easy way to understand this is if ADD and Autism had a love child, it’d be NLD. As a result, I often suffer from sensory overload which causes me to try and focus on every single thing I’m seeing and hearing at the same time. Yes, this leads to panic attacks.

I currently live in a family friendly complex and it’s a fresh version of hell daily. Kids screech at volumes best reserved for slasher flicks. Parents yell, bringing up memories of my own abusive home life growing up. I am now doing my best to save up so I can move into a building that doesn’t have children.

Am I selfish? Probably. The truth is I don’t want to have to pay daily because someone else chose to have children. I don’t think I’m out of line here when I say please don’t inflict your children on me.

Conclusion

Should there be more family-friendly housing in Alberta? Hell yes. Then again, there should be more adult only housing. More senior’s housing. More housing for veterans. More low income housing period. However, if we want to look at the truth of the situation, let’s look back to those same politicians who are wringing their hands over a lack of housing for children.

Here in Edmonton there has been a frenzy of development for the kind of neighbourhoods that house the good folks. You’ve seen them, I’m sure. Boxy little houses in boxy little neighbourhoods with boxy little people leading boxy little lives. They regulate everything from what kind of fence you can have to what kind of grass you can plant so they can always be assured that housing values will always rise. That way the good folk never have to worry about *that* element in their neighbourhood.

Worse is what has happened downtown. Luxury highrises going up faster than a porn star’s dick. Oh sure they look beautiful and I’m sure they have amazing features and views. The result of these highrises is always the same; rent prices increase in a city where a cheap one bedroom costs upward of $1000/month. Capital Region Housing Corporation is overwhelmed already and these highrises do nothing but cause more strain on an already overburdened system.

Want to know who’s to blame for the current housing problem the poor face? Point your fingers to greedy developers who build faster than they can sell and the politicians who approve those developments while older and poorer neighbourhoods go overlooked yet again. The poor are pushed into those neighbourhoods where crime is rampant until the benevolent politician gods see them and decide to develop them. Then rents rise again and the poor move again.

Eliminating adult only buildings is only going to cause more problems and is just another band aid fix to a problem capitalism and politicians created. There is a fix to this problem but not one politician wants to take a look at it. It’s called the Basic Income Program.

But, fuck it. The poor only matter as a photo op.

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One Percent

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All I have are words.

There is a battle going on in society today and I’m afraid I’m woefully underprepared. I would like to say that my mighty lance and fiery charger are armored up and ready to slay the dragons but that would be a lie.

See, the revolution that’s being waged is against the wealthy 1% and they are more than prepared for this battle. They’ve been waging this war since the Middle Ages in one form or another and they’ve had time to sharpen their teeth.

The latest battlefield is Ontario’s Basic Income Project. Oh, I know, so insignificant to that dragon we shall call One Percent, isn’t it? I mean, can they even locate Ontario on a map? Believe me when I say that this battle is more significant than you realize.

Okay, so let’s go back in history for a moment. Once upon a time it was a lord’s duty to see that all the people living on his land were taken care of. Very often he would ride around with his entourage dispensing justice or aid where necessary. In return, the people farmed the land and made the goods that the lord traded or sold. There was a balance. If the lord or king ever failed in his duty or demanded too much of the people, they were happy to replace him.

Let’s just say this didn’t mean a nice, quiet retirement for him.

Somewhere along the line, things changed. Instead of lords and peasants we got governments and people. It should have worked, this system. Everyone has a voice and everyone can be heard but recently it’s started breaking down.

I’m not going to go into the pyrrhic victory that is Trump’s rule. That horse has been well and truly beat. I’m going to talk about the bone-deep weariness I have every time the government shows its ignorance in its duties. The absolute rage I have at those in power using their position to masturbate their egos rather than do their duty. The soul wrenching sorrow I feel at those who must pay the price for the government’s unwillingness to remember what their duty is.

When the Ontario government introduced their Basic Income Project I cheered. At last we were gaining some ground on One Percent. Basic income would mean that the playing ground would finally be levelled out some and everyone could have an equal chance regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation or who their daddy was.

But we can’t have that, can we?

See, One Percent does have a fear. That fear is that those people at the bottom of the pile, those who have been repressed and abused for centuries, will finally wake up and realize that the One Percent is no longer needed. One Percent has built a house of cards called Capitalism that relies on certain “truths” of society . It needs the poor to constantly pour money and goods upwards to feed its belly. To keep the feast coming, One Percent has perpetuated racism, fear mongering, hate, ignorance and division. So long as we fight each other, we ignore the true horror that is Donald Trump and Doug Ford and Jason Kenny. So long as we nip at each other’s heels we fail to see the smoke and mirrors act going on.

That is exactly what Ford and his crew are relying on.

Ford is hoping we will be too busy being outraged by Melania’s coat or the next trumpite being an asshole to really do anything about the removal of the Basic Income Project. The Basic Income Project represented a real weapon in the fight against inequality and he’s hoping we won’t notice when it’s removed.

We are in the middle of a revolution and it’s now we need to fight. This revolution is taking place online and we cannot allow One Percent to win. We have to keep fighting and taking back our ground.

So use your social media to fight. Write blogs and post videos. Phone and email Doug Ford and Lisa MacLeod even if you’re not in Canada. Let them know we’re not giving up. Let them know they have an obligation to their people.

Don’t let One Percent win.

We Can End Poverty

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A tree in Edmonton full of fall foliage

Remember this link. It’ll come in handy at the end of this blog.

As we head into fall, we come into a season where the emphasis is on family. With Thanksgiving (in Canada) about a week away then Christmas, people will start thinking about all the wonderful things they’ll be doing with family. Thoughts of turkey or ham with stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy and those little tiny cabbages I really hate will be dancing through people’s heads. We’ll think about sharing a glass of wine or six with our siblings, thinking about all those holidays growing up and watching nieces and nephews play with our children. When the weather gets cold outside, we’ll be warm inside surrounded by love.

Then there’s those who have no family or are estranged.

There’ll be no presents or turkey or memories. I don’t mind, personally. I chose this path and believe me when I say I’d rather be at home by myself watching old movies than enduring another abusive night with my sister. I’d come away from those holidays wanting to jump off a bridge. For those who think I’m exaggerating, I spent the week after my last Christmas with my sister crying hysterically and contemplating suicide. Turkey isn’t worth that.

However, this isn’t about me.

Many homeless people are going to be alone during the holidays, struggling to find a place to sleep and enough to eat. They don’t have a family to have turkey with or share memories with and they need your help. There are things you can do that take no time or effort on your part but make a world of difference to someone who has nothing.

For example, I always carry those little dollar store gloves in my purse during the winter. They’re not much but they offer some protection against the cold. A friend of mine knits scarves all year and gives them to shelters. She can’t knit anything else but it helps. There are senior’s facilities that ask for donations of wool. Knitting and crocheting helps keeps elderly hands agile and the products are often donated to shelters or schools.

Do you have an apple tree in your yard that you complain drops apples on your yard and is a pain in the ass to clean up? Maybe you planted too much zucchini in the garden this year and are going to throw out what you can’t use. Take those apples and zucchini and whatever else you have leftover and take them to shelters or the Food Bank. Fresh fruit and vegetables are always needed and welcome.

As you pack up your summer clothes, some are inevitably never going to be worn again. This is a great time to clean your closets and donate your clothes and such to places like the Bissell Centre.

So what happens if you do these things? One more person gets to eat. One less homeless person freezes to death on the streets in Edmonton’s winter. More than that, though, you help yourself. The amount of money that places like the Food Bank and the Bissell Centre require just to make ends meet is huge. If they had fewer people depending on them, they could allocate their resources better.

There’s more than that, though. Instead of having to feed, clothe and house people who are unable to do it for themselves; you create a new workforce. People previously unemployable due to a lack of a fixed address, suddenly become employable. Guess what? Employed people spend money. They boost the local economy by buying things. So instead of being a drain on society, they contribute to society. There’s a lot of hidden talent within Edmonton’s poor that’s going unused.

Do you know there’s more benefits to ending poverty? Children who live in poverty do poorer in school than children who don’t live in poverty. If you don’t eat, you can’t think. That’s just common sense. So you invest in a whole generation of kids who may go on to do great things and give them chances they may not have had before.

Remember that link I posted at the top of the page? Well, click on it now. These are good people trying to do good things. There are those people that will tell you that there will always be poverty and we can’t do anything about it. I’m here to tell you that’s bullshit. Edmonton’s mayor, Don Iveson, has made a commitment to end poverty in Edmonton. Edmonton is the capital city of the wealthiest province in Canada. We have a lot to be proud of and if we end poverty, it will add one more thing to the list of Edmonton’s pride. All it takes is working together and I’ve never seen a problem yet that Edmonton can’t overcome. We’re not afraid of hard work and we can pull together, we’ve done it before. Let’s help our city end this problem.

Poor Little Girl

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Alison Redford looking up at ceiling as she resigns from office

Alison Redford

I am sending out a call to all Albertans. To the left is the iconic picture of Alison Redford during her resignation speech. I want everyone who reads this blog to take this picture and caption it.

Why?

Redford’s contempt for the role to which we elected her continues to grow to unbelievable proportions and we Albertans keep putting up with it. There’s no answers coming out of either the Legislature or the PCs. Alberta’s journalists are trying to do their part, asking questions that need to be answered but that’s only a small part of the equation. Our elected officials should be rattling their cages in response to her disappearance.

However, she’s not really gone, is she?

Nope. We know exactly where Redford is. She’s in Palm Springs. So Redford calls sick into work and then plays hooky. Okay. We’ve all done it. Turned a three-day weekend into a four-day one, take a quick trip out of town, maybe party a little too much. If you really want to play the sympathy for the devil card, Redford was probably humiliated by her bum’s rush out of the Premier’s office. A few days away from work is good for a bruised soul.

Even if that’s the way you want to go, enough is enough. We Albertans are still footing her paycheck. If I, or any other Albertan, screwed up at work so phenomenally that we got demoted then decided not to show up for work, we wouldn’t have a job. So why is it that Redford still has her job and is still pulling in a paycheck? From Palm Springs yet.

So let’s see, while Redford suns herself in Palm Springs and licks her wounds, homeless in Alberta worry about where they will sleep tonight. While she plays a round of golf and works off her stress, children go without meals. And while she enjoys her rest, Alberta non-profit organizations strain to keep those living in poverty from drowning under the weight of needs they can’t possibly meet. Businesses raise their prices so they can pay taxes to cover her paycheck. Needed infrastructure goes ignored so that money can be diverted to her paycheck.

But that’s okay. The poor girl needs a vacation.

That’s why I ask all Albertans to take the above picture and caption it. Post it to your social media, letting the Alberta Legislature know how you feel. Perhaps if this gets turned into a meme, they’ll listen. Gods know they haven’t listened to anything else.

Mutilating the Labia

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I had my first sexual experience when I was six years old. A female friend and I were curious and played several rousing games of “what does this do?” I don’t regret that early experience, it allowed me to realize that my body can make me very happy. I know now that I’m an anomaly and not many other girl children do this. Apparently, though, parents will rarely bat an eyelash if a young boy is caught masturbating. It’s met with some giggles and blushes but that’s all.

This childhood memory makes me realize the difference between male and female behaviour and what is acceptable or not. The difference isn’t in our thinking or roles in life, it’s in the control we have over ourselves and who we are as people. Men who control their own destinies are seen as powerful and virile. A woman who tries to control her situation is seen as a controlling bitch, she is derided as a harpy and can be called butch. A man can be strong in the boardroom or in the bedroom yet a woman is expected to be the pure mother figure by day and a whore by night in the dark behind closed doors. Still there are those who question feminism’s validity. As though feminism is simply out to destroy their life or make the work environment difficult.

So I thought about some of the things that women in our country have to endure. I’m not taking this outside of Canada. Heck, I won’t even take it out of Alberta. I wonder if men would endure the same things. So let’s do a little switchup. Okay?

Bullying

Women aren’t bullied, are they? Women are the bullies. Damn. We expect those blonde jokes to stop but they’re so funny. So here’s the turnaround; a man goes in to work and the first comment he hears on how his female boss likes how tight his new pants are. When he makes a comment that he’s uncomfortable, she slaps him on the ass and says, “oh, can’t you take a joke?” He files a complaint with his human resources department but the boss is only given a slap on the wrist. Instead, he’s offered a chance to move out of that department. Forget that he’s spent five years in his current position and his boss has only been there for two but HR says this is for the best; change or leave. After all, they have to keep everyone happy. Besides, the boss did mean it as a compliment and is he so sensitive that he can’t take it?

Pay

Equal pay for equal work, right? By and large, women are paid far less for the same job men do. As a man, you automatically earn more for the same job as a woman. So, men, how would you like to do your current job but take an almost 25% pay cut? Yes, women earn around 75 to 80 cents per dollar men earn. Oh and that job your currently doing? Let’s add a few more duties but you’re not getting a pay raise.

The Old Boy’s Club

Think this is gone? It isn’t. In many companies, meetings are held on the golf course. Well, women golf, too, right? They do but they are less likely to be invited along to one of these little events. So let’s turn this around. The CEO is having a spa day and has invited three of her female managers. You, a male manager, expressed interest in going but she says you’ll be bored and she’ll grab a coffee with you some other time. Not a likely scenario? Think again.

Abuse

Well, guys, don’t worry; this one’s an equal opportunity game. Men are just as likely to be abused as women in a domestic relationship so this not one I’m going to do a switchup on. However, there is more societal pressure on a woman to “make things work” in a relationship. A woman is supposed to be caregiver and homemaker and if the relationship falls apart, there are movies and books pointing to how it was her fault. How she failed as a woman. This one is a toss up, though.

Cultural Expectations

Okay, this one’s a problem. There are cultures in the world that have practices that we, in Canada, have decided are wrong. Yet, Canada has a large immigrant population and these practices come to this country so I’m going to do a switchup here. Men, you are four or five years old when you are taken to your uncle’s home. There, you are stripped of your pants and underwear and lain on the kitchen table. Perhaps your limbs have been tied spread eagle to the table. A gag is placed in your mouth so you can’t scream or make noise. Your uncle takes a sharp knife, may even be a utility knife, and he begins cutting the foreskin off your penis. He then cuts the rim under the cap on your penis off and makes a slice down the length of your penis. This scar will grow in such a way so that getting a full erection later in life is impossible. To finish things off, he then sews your testicles in place. If you survive this little “operation”, you will then be an asset to your family. Forget about completing school. Getting married is more important. While you won’t be told to quit school, you also won’t be encouraged. Forget telling your teachers. It’s drilled into you every day that this is family business and family comes first. You will then perpetuate this horror on your sons.

Poverty

Okay, men, here’s your switchup. When you got married, she was the woman of her dreams. Then, after the wedding, something happened. It wasn’t obvious but she changed somehow. She was more distant, drank more, was less involved in you. One day, she went out to get milk for the baby and just never came back. Now you have three children and no skills to get a job. With a toddler, affordable childcare is a nightmare so being away for eight hours a day is not an option. The biggest surprise is finding out that all your savings, your RRSPs are all gone and your  credit is maxed out. Welcome to bankruptcy. Next you realize you have to feed the kids so you go to welfare. Humiliated and frustrated, you dance through their game just to feed your kids and give them a life but daily you feel the weight of just living pressing down on you until you simply give up. You go through a series of women, hoping to find a mommy to your babies but the next is worse than the last. You don’t know how to make it on your own but you can’t seem to make it with anyone else. Your kids resent you for driving daddy away and depression is your daily companion. You don’t even try any longer. Heck, it’s enough that you even put on pants during the day.

Rape

This one is just for you, guys. You’re a teen boy and you go to a party. Like the other kids, you have a few too many and pass out on the couch. At one point you wake up and realize you’ve been given a Viagra and girls are hopping on you like you’re a pogo stick. To top it off, there’s someone filming. It hurts and you want them to stop. Not one is using a condom. You go to your parents who take you to the police the next day. Then comes a series of doctors examining you, blood tests for STDs and pictures of marks. Then, you go on your Facebook page and there you are in all your shame. Someone has uploaded the video of you being raped multiple times and now the entire school, including the teachers, has seen it. Instead of being supportive, everyone blames you. They say you liked it. That you wanted it. Your friends want nothing to do with you and school is a nightmare. The girls responsible hang outside your locker, pressing against you and rape you verbally over and over. In desperation you and your family reach out to the media and your story gets out. The school, though, can’t allow these girls to be vilified. They’re the school stars and the school needs them. So the school hires its own public relations person and they put a new spin on it. Now you’re not only the villain in school, you’re the prick out to ruin these innocent girls’ lives. When you try to complain, start your own social media campaign, you’re told you’re playing the “victim” card. Forget college. They won’t touch a hot topic like this. Your family is forced to move but your shame goes with you. The outcome of the trial? The girls are found guilty but of a misdemeanor. They won’t spend any time in jail and when they’re 18, their record will be clear. One girl has had an offer for a free ride from two colleges.

Men, you tell me that you’d put yourself in any one of these positions and not want things to be better. You tell me that any of this is a reasonable situation for any woman to expect to happen to her then tell me that women are not allowed to fight back. Yes, there are Oprah Winfreys and Michele Obamas in this world and thank the gods for them. However, there are far more nameless, faceless, voiceless women who are beaten down by a system that expects them to be the perfect woman. They want the mother whore to satisfy every need. Heaven help the woman who embraces her inner wild child, for she is the wanton slut and open to shaming.

It is not the women who have taken control of their lives that we need to fight for. It is the woman in the shadows who cannot speak for herself that we need to give tools to be able to stand on her own.

Time For a Change

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Pile of coins

Greed

HUMANS ARE GREEDY.

For centuries anthropologists, biologists and other scientists have searched for what makes humans different from other animals. At first they focused on our intelligence. After all, it was what got us out of the trees and doing all sorts of neat things like farming and making fire. Imagine our surprise when we found out that wasn’t it. That animals like dolphins, apes and even ravens have intelligence that is comparable to ours.

Then we focused on their ability to problem solve, plan or even use tools. Well, turns out that ravens are great problem solvers, something farmers all over have known for centuries.

Ditto with ability to grieve, understand death, identify the self. All dead ends on how humans differ from animals. The only difference anyone could see was humanity’s ability to find new ways to be cruel to each other in interesting and creative ways. Animals don’t seem to have that capacity.

The one thing, in my mind, that separates humans from animals is our greed. We go way beyond our need to provide for ourselves and loved ones. If you make $50,000/yr, well, you’d better ramp it up because your neighbour is making $75,000/yr. If you have an Audi, better trade it in for a BMW. Forget that there are children starving across town. Forget that someone froze to death in a doorway in the middle of the night because the temperatures fell to -30 C. After all, that extra bit of money you have is something you earned. Never mind that it sits in the bank and is never put to use. Never mind that you don’t actually need two or three cars. They’re yours, dammit.

So how are we surprised, then, that the government we elected, Alison Redford and her cronies, are simply mimicking our own values? I’m not saying we need to instigate Communism here. However, would it be such a hardship to give up some of those bucks sitting in the bank doing nothing so that fellow Albertans can eat?

Our politicians follow the example of the people. When Ralph Klein was elected into office, Albertans everywhere were tightening their belts. Klein simply followed the will of the people and did what we were already doing. Now, Klein performed cuts much like Jack the Ripper performed surgery but it did achieve its goal.

Albertans have been living high on the hog now for quite a while. We’ve earned it. We tightened belts, made seniors and the poor suffered so we could pay down our debts. Then Klein handed out cheques to reward us. So we’ve been eating caviar and drinking expensive beer and then we elected someone who reflected our ideals; Alison Redford.

Redford came in and saw the caviar and imported beer and saw dollar bills. Many Albertans are angry over her uncontrolled spending and outrageous plans such as the palace she was building. However, before we condemn her we need to condemn ourselves. Redford merely did what any leader is going to do; she emulated and amplified what was important to Albertans. We’ve become so stuck in our own greed we can’t see past our own noses.

It doesn’t matter who we elect now, really. We could elect Mickey Mouse and his band of merry men and still have the same problems we faced with Redford. What needs to happen before we elect anyone is change our attitudes. It’s time we stopped saying it’s okay for Alberta Health to have the kind of wait times going on that they do while they screw over our health system with nonsense legislation that makes it more difficult for doctors to treat their patients. It’s time we put our foot down about Income Support saying it’s viable for a single Albertan to live on $667/month. It’s time we stopped expecting non-profit organizations to pick up the slack that the Alberta government should be doing. It’s more than time that we stopped punishing small businesses and rewarding big business. For the sake of little green monkeys, don’t you think it’s high time that government employees stopped using our tax dollars to pay for their golf and calling it “meetings”? Isn’t anyone else sick of MLAs hiring out their buddies for government contracts?

Until we say enough to this and more, anyone we elect will simply do what Redford has done. We need to start asking what potential candidates plan to DO about this mess and not just allowing them to get away with spewing platitudes at us. It’s time Albertans demanded their politicians have real, viable plans to change this around. Not just finger pointing and name calling.

Albertans deserve better. ALL Albertans. It’s time we realized that and more than time we demanded better.

 

A Modern Proposal

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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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