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  • Writer's pictureWayne Drury

To Heat or Eat

Updated: Jan 22, 2023

Real People staring down the barrel of food insecurity and energy poverty

It seems that we almost forget about or ignore the 1.5 million Canadians who go hungry every day and live on the street or in a home that is so cold they might as well be on the street. As Stompin Tom Conners sang, “from Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston and all across this land, man,” people are figuratively, or possibly really, starving and freezing to death.

The government believes it is more important to add to the pain and suffering with higher carbon taxes coming and to not change any signals that would indicate recognition of and action to combat the high cost of inflation. What a sad time. Despondency has set in.

Following are quotes from people fighting these real issues every day.

  • I bought my sick dad some heated leggings. All my energy is used up trying to keep him and me warm.

  • I am so cold; I live in my bed like the grandparents in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

  • I work 50 hours per week and still cannot cover my arrears. What do I do?

  • I live in an affluent area, but I have a secret; How can I tell my neighbours that I will not make it through the rest of winter?

  • Tax cuts for the rich? It makes me despair.

  • Fridges are expensive to run. I must turn mine off to save what little I can.

  • We live on cereal and soup. I ration washing my hair – what else can I give up to survive?

  • I miss the simple things – an ice cream. But impossible on $600 per week.

  • I have spent all my family life looking after my two autistic children. How am I supposed to find a job now in my mid-40’s?

  • I work at the food bank more than I use it. It is my way of saying thank you for the little that I have.

What can we do about poverty? First, stop blaming people for being poor.

Poverty is not a choice. It is about government policy. It is what government does, or doesn’t do in the face of inflation. Maybe this chaos, the intransigence is all part of a bigger plan that we know little about. There must be ideology behind all of this. I cannot fathom any other reason.

Some may suggest we need penance to pay for what we have done as humans with climate change and difficult situations with climate change must reflect difficult solutions, no matter what the impact on the people, the planet and sustainability.

Decisions such as blocking natural gas shipments that could have a real positive impact in China just do not make sense. Just to keep up, China is building six new coal-fired plants that will spew out 100% more C02 than if they were able to burn natural gas. We block the sale of natural gas to China. Why do we do that? It does not make sense at any level for the people, the planet or for sustainability.

Is it because someone wants a “perfect solution? By trying for the perfect solution, we are missing a lot of opportunities to do the world a world of good. A very sad situation.

Best wishes from.....

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