Thoughts from a Forest of Fallen Trees : The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Side of Existence

(If a philosopher falls in the forest who really cares?) Critical Theory, Deconstruction, Ethics, Religion and other such Things.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Poverty Article

People must feed poverty of mind
Cambridge TIMES (Apr 13, 2007)
The impoverished in our region live in misery and deprivation. They are caught in a vicious circle from which there seems to be no way out. Their lives are without the very things that make life worthwhile. Yet, the good news continues to sound.
We are told that Waterloo Region has a strong economy. This alone should make us proud. It is the fifth fastest growing region in the country. Farmland is being parcelled off to make way for subdivisions of asphalt and concrete bliss.
The media routinely praise the region for being home to high-technology industry, along with having a highly skilled labour force. Yet, it is well known that these highly skilled workers are not earning what they deserve, given the fact that the corporations they work for are making extensive profits from the skills and expertise of this same labour force. Corporate CEOs congratulate themselves on behalf of the collective efforts of the working poor.
Statistics Canada also gives a glowing report by informing us that the region has the second lowest rate of poverty in the country. The government wishes us to cheer collective slogans of congratulations. However, the fact remains that the economic disparity between the rich and the poor is greater in Waterloo Region than the rest of Canada.
The region has approximately 47,450 persons living in poverty. Imagine an entire city of people living in poverty while being surrounded by those who have wealth. These numbers are unacceptable, because each number represents a real person in our community who is suffering from want of necessities.
We have also been given the information that the rates of child poverty in Waterloo Region are lower compared to the rest of Canada. Yet, one in five children in the region live in poverty. These glowing statistics do little for the individual who is starving and has a host of other problems that stem from poverty, such as depression, family conflict, housing problems, health problems, etc.
Given the overwhelming wealth in the region, should we not focus on how to equalize the economic gap between persons? Should we not be focusing on immediately stopping the neglect of families and children by the current federal government so that children do not go to bed hungry and that parents and guardians have the opportunity to earn a decent salary? Given the billions of dollars in surplus generated by the government, is it not apparent that some of this money should be used to eliminate poverty?
It is sobering to know that Canada's child poverty rate is almost three times higher than most other major industrialized nations. The only conclusion that one can draw from these facts is that poverty in Canada is legislated by the government. It has given its democratic mandate - received from the people - over to global corporations. Such legislated poverty in the form of pensions and welfare assistance that barely cover the essentials of food and shelter are a sad testament to a region that is bloated in stock options, BMWs and $3-million homes, while the children of Lazarus beg for crumbs on the same streets that are supposedly paved with gold.
The other poverty is a poverty of mind that has had its values reversed from a very early age.
The way we meet others with hospitality and generosity shows our richness or poverty. The poverty of mind must be transformed into the richness of learning how to help others. Perhaps this is the first step involved in eliminating economic poverty that surrounds many in our region.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Soren Carter

Soren Carter.2007
Mixed Media on Canvas.
Private Collection.
The New Album from Soren Carter