Happy poverty birthday

It reminds me of when I was young and Alberta had the lowest minimum wage in the country and Ralph Klein would say things like:

Premier Gordon Campbell maintains that the minimum-wage law doesn’t need updating because most people in B.C. make more than the minimum wage. Increasing the minimum wage, according to the premier, would mean many corporations would be forced to lay off employees at a time when jobs are scarce.

But now BC’s $8 minimum wage is the lowest and has been constant for 8 years. Recession or not, people deserve adequate compensation for their labours.

In reality, BC’s real minimum wage is $6 since that’s what they can pay people who are “in training.”

Perhaps we can set a maximum wage too. There’s more than enough work and cash to go around. Let’s share the work and share the pleasure.

No one should care what they think anyways

Newsflash: Conservative cops don’t like Vancouver’s safe-injection site.

In other news, sky still said to be blue (it’s perpetually cloudy here for the next 4 months so I’ll take your word).

But seriously, a study of police officers opinions is not a legitimate source of data compared to actual sociological studies of the project. But facts don’t tend to matter to some officers or politicians.

Living Waters Vancouver care of Google Streetview

Despite the people who don’t understand that it’s generally fair to drive around a city and take pictures of anything that’s publicly displayed, I love the Google Streetview feature of their maps and that they’ve just launched it in Canada. Especially because I can show you locations like this that I mentioned the other day:


View Larger Map

That giant blue store with the cross is Ray Comfort’s E. Hastings ministry. Of course there’s more ministries than affordable housing on that street, which begs the questions:

  1. Are these religions doing more good or harm to the down-on-their luck? And atheists, actually be honest, how many people are being fed by religions down there that otherwise wouldn’t have a food – and is that worth the lies they get in exchange?
  2. Where are the secular or atheist charities in the area?

January updates

Well it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, and considering Geer Week (formerly Eng Week) is coming up on campus, it may be another week before I really get going again.

Anyways, here’s a round up of news items I feel like sharing:

  • The Garneau Theatre is under new ownership. I was initially very conserned about this story, as they were talking (and still are) about tearing down the front entrance. However, it turns out that they are doing this to essentially revamp it and the theatre will continue to operate (even during construction). This is a great indie theatre, and it’s good to know it will continue. (Speaking of indie films, see Milk if you haven’t yet).
  • In the past month and a bit the Alberta Tories have found another way to increase our carbon emissions and finger the recession: spending a quarter million on flying across the globe. Teleconferencing is so 1990s, face to face is the only possible way to convince people that the tar sands aren’t evil.
  • And speaking of tar sands, the oil companies released a poll that found that almost half of people polled in Edmonton and Toronto don’t trust a word they say. I feel a little bad that they had to spend money to confirm this.
  • Alberta leads Canada in job losses in December as Albertans lost nearly 20,000 jobs. But the good news that the Journal finds: Edmonton is still tied for lowest unemployment rate (however, they neglect to mention homeless rates).
  • And finally, keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming report on carbon-capture technology that the Tories are banking $2 billion on (and wanting the broke federal government to match). Eng Phys director Dr. Backhouse did a (very rough) ballpark calculation on carbon-capture and figures that if we bury all our carbon burned and continue to increase at a steady rate that we’ll be out of oxygen (since you have to take 2 oxygen atoms for every carbon atom you remove from the atmosphere, since we bury carbon dioxide) in 750 years. Of course, the issue becomes more of a threat if you realize that a slight change in oxygen content in our atmosphere will likely have drastic effects.

Until I get another chance to write, here’s some blogs (that are regularly updated) that I follow regularly (in loose category labels):

Atheism:

Web Comics

Politics

I read lots more than that, but that should be a good start.

A solution to the homeless problem?

So there is a lot of tension in the city of Edmonton right now. A tent city of about 200 residents currently exists, and there are thousands of other homeless in the city. Part of this is due to the fact the average rent has risen somewhere around 10-20% (or more) since last year (my rent was $600 when I moved in here May/06, and will be $850 for whoever moves in Sept/07). This has put a lot of people out on their own with nowhere to live. The current occupancy is somewhere below 1% in Calgary and Edmonton.

So how do we fix this?

The idea I have is that if premier Ed Stelmach really cares at all, he can open his own door and let some people move in with him. If he’s not willing, perhaps some people should just start knocking his door down.

At the very least action like this would prompt him to explain where the supposed housing for these people are.