A homeless man and his dog walk across Canada to bring awareness to the plight of the homeless. A Video below from Sun Media. He braves the elements, fatigue and everything else that goes along with being homeless walking for so long. But he continues the mission. He has places to be and people to see.
The City of Vancouver determined to keep its’ city spic n span; attempting to sweep away its’ biggest problem; a very large homeless population. Vancouver passes laws that basically makes it illegal to be homeless with the hope that if their Olympic guests from all over the world don’t find out this city’s deep dark secret; the fact that one of the richest countries in the world has people who are living off the streets and eating from garbage cans with all their soiled worldly possessions in a dingy shopping cart. The city of Vancouver (with help of course) seems to think that if they clear away the homeless, they won’t exist and they and their fair city can still look pretty on the world stage.
The Pivot Legal Society will be beginning a red tent campaign where they will be handing out 500 tents to Vancouver’s homeless to set up camp in public places to draw attention to the need for affordable and secure housing. A few have argued that this act exploits the homeless. Perhaps. However, it can’t be any worse than the exploitation the homeless face due to all the hardships life on city streets forces them to live. At least, they will have some kind of make shift shelter. More importantly, they are doing something to further their cause; to rally for what everybody in society should have: affordable, secure housing.
Activities like the Poverty Olympics definitely meant for all to see that there definitely is a problem with poverty and homelessness:
Highlights of the one-day event include a celebration with “cockroach cake” and meeting poverty mascots Itchy the Bedbug, Creepy the Cockroach, and Chewy the Rat. It also includes events such as housing hurdles, hockey with the Vancouver Olympic Committee Predators, and the broken promise slalom.
“This is our opportunity to get the message out to the world that our government could end poverty and homelessness. It’s about housing supply, low incomes and low wages. There is no excuse for it and we hope the visitors to Vancouver will be appalled by Canada’s record on poverty,” said event organizer Wendy Pederson of the Raise the Rates Coalition, a coalition of community groups and organizations concerned with poverty and homelessness in B.C.
The efforts of Homeless activists, anti-poverty groups and the homeless themselves seem to have started gaining attention from international media.
A homeless man in Montreal saved up his pennies for a return bus ticket to Vancouver will be joining his homeless brothers and sisters over there to protest the pre-Olympic sanitizing of the city.
These are people who don’t have access to computers to be on Facebook, Twitter or other networking and blogging sites for the most part. Yet, they somehow manage each in their own way to make their way to Vancouver’s east side with the help of anti-poverty groups and other homeless advocates to keep the momentum going for their mission to make the world aware of the homeless problem and the solution is housing and jobs with adequate incomes; not sanitization or legislating their situations.
My question is, if the Homeless can protest, involve themselves in some form of activism or other measures to garner attention from the public at large and make their voices heard: why can’t the rest of Canadians? The rest of us who are fortunate enough to have such tools at our disposal to communicate with anyone in the country as well as other means to continue what we started when Christopher White first formed CAPP on Facebook?
Yes, other groups and symbolic events have popped up. There have been flash rallies in various cities whenever a Harpercon visits. We have been sending Valentines Cards to Ottawa. Many of us continue to write our MPs. However, I can’t help but feel that we’re losing momentum here.
The Montreal Chapter representatives are keeping us up to date as to what is coming and when; however, they had expressed whether or not planning activities during the Olympics would be worth it given every Canadian’s attention would more than likely be deflected there. We had spoken of not doing anything Saturday, February 27 because that is the night of the Olympic Hockey finals. Hockey, being the religion that it is in Canada, particularly in Quebec would no doubt take precedence over everything else. It would probably be more watched than the closing ceremonies the next day. Sadly, I get that.
However, we are taking a hit in the Corporate Harpercon media. They’re hitting us from everything to poor showings at rallies held cross country on January 23 to the groups claiming to be non-partisan but tainted that by having politicians with us to our movement fizzling out.
Even some progressive bloggers have taken aim at the facebook groups and the rallies, showing divisiveness on our side, something Stevie, Harpercons and their media and pundits thrive on.
The latest posting from Five on Five infuriated me when I first read it. Montreal Simon shared my sentiment. However, after reading both their posts, I find myself somewhere in between their arguments. I’m sure many Facebookers who are members of CAPP and have taken a liking for onion rings to new heights are also getting weary of the other groups forming and join simply because they don’t want to be counted out. A symbolic gesture of solidarity if you will. However, we mustn’ t lose site of the fact that if it weren’t for Christopher White getting the anti-prorogation ball rolling with CAPP on Facebook with other sites subsequently popping up like noprorogue.ca. Social Media competing against the Corporate Harpercon media machine. It got Canadians out there and the usual apathy was broken. Simon tells it best :
I do have to say this: The Facebook Army has done MORE to mobilize progressive Canadians, and put a big dent in the side of the Harper dictatorship, than anything or anybody has done in more than FOUR years.
That is exactly how this movement got started. However, it is now time to move this away from Facebook groups and onion rings somewhat, as Robert McBean suggests.
It is time to make noise and continue doing so throughout the Olympics and of course, beyond. Let’s take this government to task and make sure they work for us (including the Homeless across Canada, naturally) and not the other way around.
To be honest, I don’t know what the other groups across Canada are planning if anything; I haven’t heard. Montreal definitely wants to keep this going. It is after all, more than just about proroging parliament. It is Stevie’s high handedness and lack of transparency that is at issue. We can’t allow this any longer. The Europeans would be up in arms over something like this.
I we’re (Montreal group) game; still planning activities to keep up the momentum. I only hope we can remain unified with the other Canadian groups.
Many Canadians are out of work with no prospects of new jobs, our troops are risking life and limb fighting a senseless and unwinnable war with no break in sight and in response, Stevie leaves us high and dry, so he can be secretive, stack his senate, run away from such nastiness like Torturegate and climate change to the point of making us unrecognizable on the world stage and make backroom deals basically selling out even more of Canada by incessantly begging President Obama to lift his ‘Buy American’ programs.
Why can’t we attempt to make noise during the Olympics? Stevie pretty much told Canadians to fuck ourselves so he can watch the Olympics in peace. I say we shouldn’t grant it to him. Being without leadership, a government that is ‘working’ clandestinely against its’ own citizens, the jobless rate which leads so many to homelessness isn’t a recipe for peaceful living.
The homeless and their advocates in Vancouver certainly aren’t going to leave Stevie, Harpercons, or Campbell and his cronies or even the Municipal governments and Olympic organizers for that matter, in peace: they will be competing for the cameras and air time no doubt. We should do the same. After all, Stevie has gotten away with what he had because we allowed him to with our apathy and inactivity.
The homeless aim to bring attention to their plight from olympic visitors from all over the world. Perhaps we should let them know that Mr. Smiley Blue eyes in the matching sweater vests who he really is and what kind of government he really leads.