If I told you about a country with beautiful scenery composed of mountains and coastlines, surrounded by oceans on three sides and blessed with oil wealth you could pick Scotland or Canada …and be right with either! Liking a drink, Celtic place names and a middle class under pressure and at risk of evaporating are other things these two countries have in common.
Reporting on Glasgow is this blog posting from the Socialist Courier. The really funny part is how this item is from the archives, having been published in 1981!
Getting the blues in suburbia
With poverty, the fun just never stops. Now, the automobile in North American popular culture is viewed as a great cultural leveller and class unifier. Montreal’s Department of Public Health just spent four years looking at motor vehicle accidents and guess what they came up with? The poorer your neighbourhood the more vehicular, pedestrian and cycling accidents take place and the more serious the nature of them.
“Gentlemen, start your engines!”
Wealth and traffic accidents: study shows poorer people many times more likely to be hurt
It’s quite heartening to see Ed Broadbent reemerging into Canada’s public realm through the creation of an institute with a major focus on economic inequality. Even those adhering to neo-conservative thought must surely find it refreshing to come across perspectives other than their own. Of course, that may be asking too much but Mr. Broadbent appears intent on backing up his take on inequality, and the harm it does, with strong arguments, research and statistical evidence. Not just the right has a tradition of vehemence, argumentativeness and truthfulness don’t you know!
At suburban-poverty.com we have high hopes that Mr. Broadbent will be successful getting the word out. A reversal of the brain-washing, the opinions-disguised-as-the-truth, the elistist contmept and laissez-faire social policy that have been so much a part of the national life for the last three decades is long overdue. Indeed, we remember in our teens some three decades ago, that in Canada Scandinavia-style social democracy was viewed as a perfectly rational option for the nation by a great many people. Things turned out rather differently it would seem. The inequality we have here now and, above all, the way it is viewed as inevitable by so many tells us that.
But efforts like that of economicinequality.ca and now Mr. Broadbent, however, show us that perhaps Canada is not a complete write off yet? “Ready, aye ready …already!”
Since suburban-poverty.com takes a global view of its namesake issue it is a little surprising we have not mentioned H.U.D. Apparently the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development has had, shall we say, its ups and downs over the years. Either way they have made themselves felt and been a factor shaping urban and suburban life in America for some time now. In the winter of 2012 their Policy Development & Research people produced this item called Meeting the Challenges of Suburban Poverty.
HUD [Evidence Matters]
Dating from 2006 but still worth a mention for our purposes is this working paper from the research division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Yeah, you guessed it, the more cities sprawl, the worse the income inequality gets. We are glad you have been paying attention…
Urban decentralization and income inequality: is sprawl associated with rising income segregation across neighbourhoods?
Photo: Richgellis via Wikimedia Commons
Look at this stupid thing! They call that a fighter plane? For starters, it looks like a toy carved from a dirty bar of soap with a set of bus wheels stuck underneath. Naming this glorified laptop after the American P-38 Lightning of the Second World War shows just how desperate the military industrial complex has become. The cost overruns are not even really the problem, they are apparently quite normal where this type of project is concerned. The lack of competitive bidding is also secondary to suburban-poverty.com. There will even be jobs if the purchase goes through, always a good thing, and Canada needs defence gear in a dangerous, resource-hungry world. What pisses us off, besides how lame looking this thing is when put up against the diversity of flying machines the world has come up with over the last hundred years, is the relationship between this weapon system and poverty and inequality. How can we have the money for this and precious little else? If we have Yankee wars, Yankee ghettos and Yankee justice then we might as well have Yankee fighter planes screaming through the skies protecting the glory of it all, yah, is that it?
Linda McQuaig mentioned the F-35s today in her column in the Toronto Star. She seems dead against them across the board and she mentioned how the $10bn in cost overruns (so far!) have left the Tories blubbering despite their projection of an image of fiscal sensibility. The latter is a ticket Tories and Reformers and Republicans have been cashing at election time for decades now. We’ll forever wonder why.
Ms McQuaig, a lefty, also mentioned the Tories’ recent demolition of a modest program of financial support to a partly volunteer-run initiative that maintains internet access in public libraries. This was done in the name of austerity and financial sensibility.
Not only were the Super Hornet, SAAB and Eurofighter products left out of consideration but their planes are totally hot looking and some of them have two engines!! The latter is somewhat important when you are flying over the second largest country in the world. The toy above only has one. What happens when you are thousands of kilometers from a runway and you lose an engine? Goodbye zillion dollar killing machine, that’s what. Certainly, suburban-poverty.com finds itself mostly in agreement with Ms. McQuaig, who established herself as a package of intelligence, wit and truthfulness in our books some time ago.
Reaching even further back in time was an article on the very same page of the same newspaper, Canada’s largest, from Ed Broadbent. We remember our childhood when Mr. Broadbent was leader of the opposition and our working class Scottish parents would nod approvingly whenever he was on the news and would vote for him. He never got to be PM, perhaps back then the people felt they were still going somewhere and didn’t really need him. Either way, Mr. Broadbent came out swinging at economic inequality in Canada. His take is backed up by public opinion research. It seems inequality has begun to worry Canadians on a number of levels. It seems they are sober about realizing they have to remain willing to pay taxes to preserve fairness and the quality of life. Like Ms McQuaig’s piece it makes for interesting reading. Does it take a genius, or a Toronto Star editor, to place inequality and F-35 Lightnings on the same page?
Yesterday’s Toronto Star had an item about newcomers to Canada. A study indicates many new immigrants land directly in suburban poverty. They’ve been doing so for decades, truth be told.
New immigrants are the “hidden homeless”
One of the principal authors of Brookings Institution material on suburban poverty, Elizabeth Kneebone, wrote the piece Poverty In New England: It’s a Suburban Thing for an online publication belonging to the Boston Federal Reserve Bank last year. Normally we wouldn’t expect to find them particularly in touch with the realities of poverty so perhaps this indicates the seriousness of the matter? We’ve been hearing talk about recovery from the United States but the reality might be no more than election-related palaver and gasoline prices are on the rise again. The latter is now fully associated with recessionary activity and the continued blooming of suburban poverty.
Poverty In New England
Economic Inequality held another public forum yesterday at Metropolitan United Church. Three speakers weighed in on the matter, Jim Stanford, an economist with the Canadian Auto Workers was first with an early highlight in which he referred to FOX-style business “journalist” Kevin O’Leary as an asshole. John Ralston Saul, president of PEN International and author made being a serious, history-minded public intellectual look so easy that even we are thinking of applying for such a position.
Tanya Zakrison, a surgeon from Doctors for Fair Taxation also weighed in on the realities of inequality. Her phrase, “trauma is a political disease” will remain with us among our impressions of the two hour event. John Sewell and Liz Rykoff were there to act as hosts and are from the organzation’s steering committee. Mike Ford handled the music.
Suburban-poverty.com attended the last forum, in Etobicoke. Monday’s forum involved a larger crowd and there was less audience participation. We found it educational and were heartened by the brain power on display and by the calibre of the arguments made against the aging bromides of neo-conservatism. John Ralston Saul’s sense of Canadian history and the value he places on the relationship between democracy and the intelligence of the people is so nice to hear.
Metropolitan United Church was a good choice of venue. Its community services efforts in the basement include a drop-in and meal program. Open that day, it fed the homeless, provided referrals and other services to those in deep social difficulty, facing low income, personal problems, social exclusion …the very effects of inequality.
Doctors for Fair Taxation
nb: expired links 🙁
image: Metropolitan Methodist Church, (United), Toronto, 1896
How cool is this dear readers? One of suburban-poverty.com’s fine, talented, fans has knitted us a hat with our URL on it!!! We were truly touched, charmed and delighted to behold this hand knit, funky wonder hat.