Just after coverage of the Homelessness Report Card for 2013 The Star published a profile of a single mother involved with social services, experiencing concurrent difficulties and said to be sleeping at night in play structures in parks while pregnant and in the company of her fifteen-month-old son. Now, these profiles of life at the bottom in the major cities of North America are never particularly hard to find. The hope is that such stories contribute to change. Unfortunately, this one could have been in the paper in June of 1983 just as easily as last week. The only real difference might be found in the setting. Lisa Roberts has been living outdoors since May in Whitby, a satellite community lying east of Toronto. Life in Whitby has been characterized by fast population growth, by sprawl, for years now. We even find Canada’s Tory federal Minister of Finance to be the Member of Parliament for Whitby suggesting extra-strength neoconservative values there, values not readily attached to social spending or even sympathy for those in difficulty. And the reader comments! …when did Canadians become such snarky, reductive, reactive, socially conservative people? Even allowing for a certain pathology to the act of online reader commentary there is some hate going on down there, people.
See also: (317) Durham Region
image: 1877 map of Whitby by JH Beers via Wikimedia Commons