Vancouver East Side poverty festers amidst Stephen Harper government’s corporate tax cuts
by John Stokes
Many British Columbians who have either seen or ventured in the vicinity East Hastings in Vancouver might have asked themselves the question, does it have to be this way? Arguably, Vancouver’s East Side that has been featured in television documentaries and news reports, is the worst type of urban area of human destitution and hopelessness. People are being left to rot in a community of drug and alcohol abuse, gang warfare, and exploitation by pimps, or in font of, or behind various condemned storefronts and other buildings.
However, it does not have to be this way. Such human destitution in areas of poverty and ensuing social malaise that fosters cultures of violence, can easily be addressed within the socially responsible management of Canadian taxpayers’ money. However, this is not the apparent intent of the Stephen Harper government. Rather than allocate public funds, back into communities that look to government to equitably allocate financial resources, the Stephen Harper government chooses to provide billions of dollars in direct and indirect subsidies (through corporate tax shelters), to the most affluent elites of Canadian society. The predictable result for areas of Canadian cities that include Vancouver is that they are becoming more socially destitute, while the already financially wealthy, is getting richer.
The Harper government, then rationalizes this approach by the lie that this is done so that these large corporations can “create jobs” for Canadians. But the truth of the matter is that this money is not being used for any such job creation, but instead, is being either bankrolled to feed an affluent lifestyle, or to support the creation of large sweatshops in places like China. Jobs in Canada, are created instead, by small businesses, that unfortunately, are not owned by the elites that the Harper government seeks to serve. The Harper government is an elitist government that seeks to serve the rich, at the expense of communities like Vancouver’s East Side.
Poverty in Canada can be substantively eradicated, if Canadians can inspire a new political movement that seeks to serve the quality-of-living of all Canadians in a socially responsible manner. And no, this writer does not leave out the NDP, that has its own track record of corruption federally and through a prior provincial NDP government. There is, indeed, no excuse for anyone in Canada not to have equitable access to food, clothing and shelter, as well as universal access to public healthcare, and a safe environment, that affirms their human, social, cultural, political and economic rights. That is the kind of society Canadians have sought to inspire, which is also affirmed in a comprehensive system of United Nations Covenants.
|Quality-of-Life and Human Development is a book for further reading on this subject.|
The following book and writings critically explore the need to transform the capitalist economic system that leads to areas of social despair in Canada, like Vancouver’s East Side, to a truly “New Economy” inspired by Human Development, and a related system of public policies.
Quality-of-Life and Human Development, Agora Publishing Consortium, 2007, ISBN: 1897036353.
Living as Existential Masonry: A Rejection of the Capitalist Focus on Quality-of-Living, LINK.
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