Friday, November 30, 2007

Child Poverty - The Other Side of the Argument

Walter Schulz has a completely different take on the subect of Child Poverty in BC than I. He posted the following the day before I posted my item on the subject, which you can read here.

I don't agree with him, but I think his points are well made and that his opposing position is worth seeing. I thank him for letting me reproduce this from his blog.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Exaggerating child poverty.

The BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition is calling on the BC government to do something now to reduce child poverty, with almost 21 percent of kids in the province living in poverty. The national anti poverty group, Campaign 2000 set the poverty line at $21,000 for two people living in a city of 500,000 or more, and $32,000 for a family of four living in such a community. The Tyee has also commented suggesting that one in five B.C. children is poor, making the province’s child poverty rate the highest in Canada for the fourth consecutive year.Hold on for just one darn minute.One in five B.C. children living in poverty???$21,000 for two people or $32,000 for a family of four is poverty????What these three news items are trying to described isn't poverty; they're describing instead income inequality. When they use Stats Canada's low income cut off as the measurement for poverty what they are really doing is comparing how people are living relative to other Canadians. The low income cut off method has never been considered a poverty line by Statistics Canada. "Statistics Canada has clearly and consistently emphasized, since their publication began over 25 years ago, that the LICOs are quite different from measures of poverty". If a family doesn't have a colour television or a cell phone are they now considered poor?

These social activists need to give their heads a shake.To say that one in every five children is living in poverty in British Columbia, is quite frankly - bullshit!And what are they calling on the BC government to do to reduce this so called "child poverty"?They want the minimum wage raised to $10.50/hour, eliminate the $6.00/hour training wage and to increase BC's welfare rates.Well of course they do.

The BC Government in its 2007 budget already increased welfare rates for all those on assistance.

British Columbia already has the lowest income tax rates in Canada for low-income earners. In fact, those earning under $16,000 a year pay no provincial income tax.

Since 2001 the B.C. economy has created over new 370,000 jobs and we have the lowest unemployment rate in almost 40 years! (4.4% in BC and 4.1% in Vancouver)

British Columbia already has the highest general minimum wage rate of all the provinces.

BC's 2006 budget pledged $421 million over four years to strengthen supports for children.

For social activists to be constantly overstating the problem of poverty rates amongst children in British Columbia does a disservice to those who are most in need. Despite all the rhetoric and political posturing from these groups, (and when haven't these groups called on the BC liberal government to give more money to social causes?) - BC has done an excellent job of helping those who are most in need.

From 24 Hours - Alex Nails The Drug Charlatans

Get Ready, They're Coming: DRUGS!

Mayor Sullivan's drug initiative panned!

By A. G. Tsakumis
'Rebel With A Clause'

Of all the spin-doctored proposals Sam Sullivan has hatched, none is as ultimately off base as CAST, his drug replacement baby, which he has asked the federal Conservative government to fund.
CAST is, simply, part and parcel of His Worship's distorted effort to show heart through hubristic populism, and no less banal than any of his other numberless (non)triumphs.

The quest for enlightenment begins with a read of its website (
It is as stupefying as it is embarrassing.
The notion of replacing street drugs with a drug substitute - although somewhat new - is nothing more than placing addicts at the trough of the perpetual drug need, all in the name of (false) compassion.
These science fiction proponents hail studies as a case made. However, not one study shows with any supremacy that this hogwash works.

In fact, once past the outer layers of fluff, it is abundantly evident that not only the findings from such studies are massaged by CAST proponents, but further, that the mayor and his cadre are wanting of our tax dollars to study studies which are inconclusive at best, and, at least, utter failures in proving CAST or any related initiative worthy of being funded.

But the doctors and retired politicians backing these reports claim success, which begs the question: if the evidence proves that such lunacy is indeed effective, why further studies?

They argue that studies needn't be endlessly repeated to be valid.

Then why are they arguing for the CAST study? The contradiction is obscene.
When Mayor Sullivan, or the city's drug czar Don MacPherson, state that drug replacement is 'harm reduction', the cacophony is amplified.

It is hardly medical treatment to permanently burden an addict with yet another dependency. Instead, the studies expound the social good in all this. Rather than trumpet the recovery of addicts, which would support the mayor's misstatements, the hypothesis runs in the opposite direction. Fringe replacement efforts will make for much “social justice”, but all without saying how.

This CAST nonsense is not about anything else except sanitizing the streets of the DTES, so that Japanese and German tourists won't have to refocus their camera lenses in 2010.

This is about using a social construct, and not a very good one, to aid the mayor's re-election agenda.

Would you put a loved one suffering from skin cancer in a tanning bed as treatment? Would you offer lower tar cigarettes to a lung cancer patient? Highly questionable social good trumps individual recovery in Sam's world. This program will hurt people. Addicts will have no chance for a normal life.

Moreover, how ethical is it to start on a drug protocol with no chance of continuing?
The drug replacement must persist forever, notwithstanding that most addicts, particularly on the DTES, are not last-chance, no-hope candidates.

Why are we offering palliative care to people who are not terminal? Besides, which federal or provincial government wants to become the drug dealer? All the drug legalization obliviots aside, the street dealers would have a field day in competition.

Troubling still, that the scholarship purportedly in support of CAST having been misrepresented on the website, the Mayor has company, plump with controversy. Among Mr. Sullivan's CAST inner sanctum is Dr. David Marsh, the chief officiating guru at Vancouver Coastal Health, who is an expatriate of Toronto country, where he failed to convince his colleagues into putting the Taranah Corridor's first NAOMI heroin trial next to a methadone recovery clinic - a no-no of monumental proportions to any addiction Doc - since it's considered a 'trigger' to have a recovering addict anywhere near drugs or drug use.

Dr. Marsh has the ear of our Mayor. He often will advise Sobriety Sam on how to sell CAST.
Don't believe me?

Earlier this year, on the day our Mayor hinted that CAST might replace Insite/Four Pillars, Dr. Marsh raced down to the mayor's office and spent the Friday afternoon trying to undo the media firestorm that young Sammy had created.

To clean up the DTES we need: treatment beds, in the hundreds; adequate housing (but not necessarily just Downtown); and the re-opening of Riverview's full facilities with a state-of-the-art mental health/drug treatment facility - not Yaletown redux at Riverview.

And if the Four Pillars is finally going to really work, then fund all FOUR pillars. Enforcement, Treatment and Education are a must. We have to get into schools and talk to our children about what's killing us.

But alas, Mayor Sullivan won't listen to the Drug Prevention Network; Al Arsenault, Exec. Director of the Odd Squad Society; Vancouver addiction specialists Dr. Colin Mangham, Doug Coleman, Donald Hedges; David Berner, former addiction counselor and local pundit or former Justice Wally Craig and countless addictionologists, who know the DTES well.
He would rather beg, profusely, at failure's open door.

On the issue of dealing with drug issues in Vancouver, Sam Sullivan has created a culture ethical frivolity. He and his sycophants subvert any hope for genuine help for the addicted downtrodden, preferring, alternatively, to mid-wife extended tyranny on the DTES.
Unbelievably, through all of this, there are people who still believe that Sam Sullivan is entirely palatable as Mayor for 2008.

Equalities in The Military?

It may be startling to realize that the Warriors have a more comprehensive appreciation of Democracy than the Legislators.

A group of retired American Generals & Admirals - 28 in all - have joined forces to repeal the idiot "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" compromise that Bill Clinton accepted on gays in the military.

“We respectfully urge Congress to repeal the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy,” the letter says. “Those of us signing this letter have dedicated our lives to defending the rights of our citizens to believe whatever they wish.”

Read the full story from this morning's NY Times here.


For, and from, the man in a morning flurry:

- Carol Taylor's not running again provincially so that she can glide into the mayor's chair is the worst kept gossip of the last 8 months. I cannot tell you how many hundreds of people have sworn me to secrecy on this scoop.

Fine. Carol will make an excellent City Mayor. She won't bring any particularly enlightened policy to the table, but she won't have to. First, she will rid us of the That Pest, The Nutty One, and second, she is a first rate manager, former city councillor and the wife of a former mayor. She knows how the machine works.

The sooner, the better.

- I have avoided the Ian Bush story from the beginning, because I felt I just wasn't there to witness what really happened. However....the result of the commission investigating this death somehow doesn't quite feel right. Perhaps we are being influenced in our reactions to this conclusion by the YVR Taser Murder. It just seems so improbable.

- The Mulroney -Schreiber story is so sordid and unseemly. Insiders have told us that M's wife, Mila, was and is a "money pit," and that M was always worried about paying the bills. Nevertheless, how could a man this smart and this experienced on the world stage take $100,000 in cash from anyone under any circumstances? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

- Kudos to the Sun Editorial this morning for 2 pieces: 1)They remind us that the Premier, when Mayor of the City, launched a suit against the province for Expo Line insults and hardships to citizens. Now, on the other side of the Line, he sings a different cracked tune. 2) They add to our often expressed outrage at the total dysfunction of this administration with regard to Children & Families. To see this tepid little furry toys for the Olympics gathering all that misplaced adoration and press coverage, while Children at Risk are ignored is sickening and the best barometer of Campbell's focus.