Sunday, November 09, 2008

Food for Thought

October 17th. was UN Day to Eradicate Poverty. Last year about 43 Million people took part in the global Stand Up, Take Action campaign. In addition, The Toronto Star editorial (26/10/08) headline read, “Vital to Reduce Poverty This Year”. Why this year, I’m not sure, as they have been saying this for about 100 years. How are we doing so far? The same newspaper highlighted the growing phenomenon of tent cities around North America. In Las Vegas, they are sprouting up in the shadow of the glitzy casinos. Can anything be more obscene? And they are not all mental health migrants. Seven out of ten are people from the area who have lost their houses in the current mortgage melt down. In Victoria, BC, a new by-law had to be rushed in to enable Police to move in and break up their tent city. “Ask not what your government can do for you…yadda yadda yadda” asJohn Kennedy once said. Indeed! - Never fear, however, Toronto City Council has found the solution. The notorious, poverty and crime ridden Jane/Finch area has been rebranded as University Heights with spiffy new banners hanging from the light poles. Now doesn’t that sound better? I’ll bet the people there feel richer already!- But wait! Our federal government will come to the rescue. Apparently they are not as cash-strapped as they thought and had us believe. Those poor, poverty-stricken banks, that have reported record profits for as long as I can remember, have received a gift from our government of $25 billion. And, the war in Afghanistan will cost $18 billion by the withdrawal date of 2011. Surely, the end of poverty must be in sight now. ! Not- On the environment, 46 scientists from ten countries, who are studying the Arctic, have concluded that Fall temperatures are 5C above normal, and accompanied by unprecedented rates of rising sea levels and the attendant effect on marine and mammal life. Is it time to act yet?- John Ayers

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