Today is Blog Action Day. I learned about this from Nature Deva. Bloggers from around the world unite to write about a world issue. This year the topic is poverty. After the Canadian election yesterday this topic is even more important. A court ruling handed down yesterday in Victoria BC, has given homeless people in that city the right to erect tents in public parks and green spaces. For more info click here.
Many of us may cringe at the "unsightliness"of this. Make shift shelters, debris and goodness knows what else will be laid out for all to see. This is a landmark decision and one that the mayor of Victoria is not happy about. In many countries around the world poverty is not as hidden as it is here. We shake our heads at our homeless, thinking they may be lazy, drug addicts, or mentally ill. Some give spare change, some support homeless shelters, but most of us turn our heads the other way. Poverty exists in Canada and while our government gives tax cuts to corporations people have no public housing. Our climate on thw west coast may be the mildest in Canada, but I cringe to think that a nylon tent or card board shelter is all that keeps many homeless from our sub-zero temperatures. I don't want to see tent cities in our public parks, but I don't want to see human beings living in poverty anywhere. Why is it that parks can only be used by people who have? If you were homeless would you rather sleep in a tent in a park or in a cold concrete doorway or dangerous back alley? We need to get our homeless the option of housing. The options of shelter and the help they require to pursue what we all do. I say the option because some people who live on the street choose to live there. I do not understand that choice but I try not to judge it. I have not walked in anyone else's shoes. For those that want off the street our governments from federal to municipal must provide safe alternatives for them. I think that is a worthy case for my tax dollars, and until they do, on their drive or walk to work each morning they will be faced with the reality of poverty in Canandian cities, tents and all.