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Friday, March 26, 2010


The Liberal Government, Conservatives in disguise, of British Columbia has sunk to an even new low for them. This latest story in the Nanaimo Daily News, Children’s meal program latest grant funding cut , shows just how low the Liberals are willing to sink.

Please, if you are as disgusted as I am with the ongoing cuts affecting the disenfranchized and poor of our province follow this link and let all members of government know BC MLA's .

Letter to editor Sent March 26
All sarcasm aside the latest word of cuts to the hot meal program for teen’s and low-income parents run by Little Ferns Early Learning Centre infuriate me. Here is the province with the highest child poverty rates in Canada and the Liberal Government is cutting the budgets of many of the very programs that help alleviate child poverty.

Cuts in funding to programs like this not only affect the families that through the availability of the daycare and meal program are able to pursue employment or education. Existing community meal programs and food banks will also shoulder the burden of increased need and yet you can bet there will be no corresponding funding to match.

Honestly, I do not know how members of this government can sleep at night. What is even worse is I have little doubt they will come up with some inane excuse to rationalize what they are doing.

If this isn't bad enough there is really no compelling reason for members of the government to give a rats ass about the effects of their decisions. Conscience aside they can sleep tight knowing that even if they don’t regain power in the next election most will receive juicy little pensions provided in part by those very people they seem to care so little about.

Published March 27
Funding cuts to youth group are truly appalling


There have been a number of stories in the local rags of late about the Vancouver Island Health Authorities (VIHA) latest plans to distribute Crack Kits under the guize of Harm Reduction. Don't get me wrong, I think there is a need for harm reduction strategies but one has to think of when are the so called strategies actually causing more harm.

I have been able to find only one study, out of Ottawa, that was done on the handing out of Crack Kits as a means to reduce HIV and HEP C as well as intravenous drug use. While it could not categorically state any reductions of the above what it did find was an increased use in Crack. Personally I don't really have a problem of handing these things out, in existing needle exchange services, though I think just providing the mouth piece as opposed to the whole crack pipe should suffice.

What I really have a problem with is VIHA's lack of consulting with neighbourhoods and their apparent forcing on some front line services the added responsibility of handing out needles and crack kits. This type of behaviour on the part of VIHA will only result in supporting some of the NIMBY attitudes that exist. Obnly through open communication and education will we ever be able to reduce these attitudes.

Below is a copy of a letter I sent as well as a link to the published version which in my opinion was overly edited.

Related Stories VIHA and their plan to distribute Crack Kits:

Letter To The Editor As Sent March 24th.

VIHA’s management, no disrespect to the many excellent frontline staff of and funded by VIHA, has taken its communication strategy to a whole new level. The level I speak of is one of intimidation and an utter disregard of the opinions of the people they serve.

Openly stating that their proposal to distribute crack kits from frontline services will not include discussion with surrounding community and that service providers can only opt out with ‘compelling’ reasons smacks of intimidation and coercion. If I were a service provider I would certainly feel any funding received from VIHA could be in jeopardy if I were not to comply.

VIHA’s website states it is "committed to being accountable to the public" and "committed to informing the public about how they plan to deliver services to meet the needs of communities." Their mission is “serving and involving the people of the islands to maintain and improve health.” Two of their core values, Partnership and Collaboration & Integrity, Accountability and Ethics talk about working in partnership and sharing responsibility with our colleagues, clients, communities; honouring their commitments to each other and every person they serve and communicating with openness and honesty as well as holding themselves to the highest ethical standards.

I see no talk of secrecy and intimidation in the above. These behaviours will only work to cement the publics’ already low opinion of this organization.

Published: Thursday, March 25, 2010 VIHA failing to listen to public on crack kits

This in the D/N March 26 Harris House success due to partnerships a good letter from Gord Cote of Nanaimo and Area Resource Services for Families.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Couple more letters

Wrote the first one after reading one more story about government funding cuts to gaming and the poor. The sarcasm just oozes from it and it is one of my favourites. This one was actually published as close to verbatum as they get. The second I wrote with regards to some stories about Welfare roles decreasing. They certainly may be but overall, I have no doubt, poverty is increasing.

Written March 17 and published in the Daily News on the 18th Trust our wise elected officials to look after us and the Bulletin on the 20th.

We should all feel grateful to Mary Polak for her extreme generosity reducing cuts to family and community programs from $10 million to $7.4 million. I mean really what would we do without these tremendous gestures from the Liberal Government, brings tears to my eyes the level of caring being shown.

Surely the people of B.C. are appreciative and realize that in no way will these cuts, as those that have gone before, contribute to our province's distinction of having the highest child poverty rates in the country for the greatest number of years. I mean honestly, the fact that B.C. has been distinguished in the child poverty field since the Liberals came to power in 2001 is purely coincidental.

Cuts to gaming grants and funding, why not? Our giving government recognizes this can only have a positive effect by decreasing gambling addictions. Once the consummate gambler realizes they are contributing less to non-profits surely they will look for better ways to support community.

Should we really feel sorry for the cuts to Volunteer Nanaimo, arts, adult sports etc.? Heck no, even the most cognitively challenged of us realize those taking part in the aforementioned would be better off getting second jobs and not wasting time in extracurricular endeavours. All this extra money would surely reduce the poverty rates.

Come on folks lets trust the wisdom of our elected officials, they are after all only looking out for what's best for us.

Written March 5th and published in the Daily News March 8th Welfare role numbers do not tell the whole story

Re: 'Welfare roll rise is slowing down' (March 5, Daily News)

I am afraid I beg to differ with John Horn on this one.

People are still falling into the pit and face even more problems climbing out.
As the gap between the haves and have nots grows ever wider the depth of the pit grows far deeper and the ability of people to climb out, without still having to rely on services like food banks and the 7-10 Club, grows increasingly slimmer.

Yes there are housing initiatives in the works but they are sadly slow in coming.
Those that are coming are low barrier for the hard to house and not for your average Joe or Joanne living in poverty in the community.

Rents have risen, the cost of living has risen and income assistance rates, the last fallback, remain the same.

For years, Nanaimo has been moving from a resource-based to service-based economy. With the move have gone the reasonably well paying jobs now replaced by minimum wage or slightly higher.

Those who have lost and will lose decent jobs, while having Employment Insurance and Income Assistance for survival, now can look forward to jobs paying well below the poverty line and many of these only part time.

While the number of income assistance applications declines the numbers of people, families and children, living in poverty are most definitely on the rise.

Monday, March 8, 2010

South End Neighbourhood Plan

Just a quick note on this one. We have been working on this for a few months now and the process has been a good one, not so much so with the other neighbourhood plan that is being done. You can check it out on the city website and the Southend Community Association What's Up in Nanaimo's South End will also have updates as well.