I was talking about the basic income guarantee to a couple of friends and one of them commented on how the fundraising done for local agencies such as the food bank, the school nutrition program, or the heat bank brings the community together. She was right; events that raise money for important causes do foster community.
In the three cities in Ontario where basic income is being tested – which includes Lindsay – there are still about 1,200 open spots for lower income people.
If you’re working or own your own business but just not earning enough, or if you’re on Ontario Works or disability, you might be eligible.
Lindsay Advocate Publisher Roderick Benns recently interviewed local MP Jamie Schmale on how we should be dealing with poverty in Kawartha Lakes.
Benns: What’s the best way to fight poverty in our communities? And if the answer is good jobs, why have we never, ever, under any government of any political stripe been able to fight poverty effectively?
The co-front man for one of Canada’s greatest bands, Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo, says people are born into economic and social circumstances that either shows a wide horizon before them, or a small horizon – and when it’s small, it’s “suffocating.”
A vintage advertisement about a benefit night for the Citizen’s Relief Association at the Academy Theatre, Dec. 15th 1931.
This benefit night made $205.93, and featured a variety of talent including Mary Crowley’s orchestra, Prof. Rupert Gliddon’s band, Al Perrin’s band, dancers, and comedians.
The Master of Ceremonies was Art Allin, and theatre manager “Hi” Meehan delighted the crowd with his imitation of the famous American “illustrated song” performer, Eddie Cantor.
Established in the autumn of 1931, the Citizens’ Relief Association was a joint venture between the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs, and was designed “…to find work, homes, and food for those in want.”
Circumstances had become increasingly dire for many families since the onset of the Depression two years before.
To compound the problem, a steady stream of unemployed men were making their way through town by riding illegally on passing freight trains and lodging overnight in the police lockup.
Often, these “hobos,” or “transients,” would be offered a warm meal by private homeowners in exchange for some work: chopping firewood or cutting weeds, for instance.
The new and innovative social program that Ontario is testing in Lindsay and two other Ontario centres – a ‘basic income guarantee’ — is surging in participant numbers.
I live a good life and I try not to take it for granted. Because I have a certain income, I can choose what to buy and where to shop. I can generate options and choose what is best for my family and me. I am fascinated about what makes up a good life and the following passage got me thinking about the link between choice and income:
Lindsay Advocate Publisher Roderick Benns sat down with Ian McKechnie, local historian and assistant manager of the Olde Gaol Museum, to talk about the museum’s plans for an innovative exhibit on the history and heritage of poverty in Lindsay and in the larger Kawartha Lakes. McKechnie is also The Advocate’s local history columnist.
Benns: Tell me a little about the idea for the museum to host an exhibit that has to do with poverty. What is the general idea?
McKechnie: For years, people have understood museums to be places where one goes to see “old stuff” sitting silently in glass showcases. You come in, a guide shows you around, and you leave thinking to yourself, “I have an old stack of newspapers the museum might be interested in,” or, “I have an old upright piano that I’m sure the museum will want to have in its collection.”
It has been four short months since The Lindsay Advocate launched and it feels like we already belong here. For that, we owe thanks to all our readers.
Our focus has been – and will continue to be – on the social and economic wellness of Lindsay. With growth, we are open to extending that vision to all of Kawartha Lakes.
Readers have responded to this vision in droves and that tells us we are responding to genuine community need.
The inspiration for The Advocate comes from two places.
Part Two. This year, Statistics Canada has released new data on the social and economic well-being of cities and towns across Canada. This is part two in a series about Lindsay’s 12 lowest income neighbourhood zones and how they are coping in a challenging economic environment. To read Part One go here.
This is a story about a community coming together to fight an all-too-common scourge – the fact that incomes are too low to meet people’s needs.
Call it poverty. Call it scarcity. It doesn’t much matter.