Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Building a Platform

Way back in my very first post to this blog, I talked about my five-point platform:

1. Attract Families
2. Welcome Innovation
3. Encourage Diversity
4. Enhance Infrastructure
5. Increase Prosperity

I've been talking to a lot of people over my first week and a half of canvassing and it's helped me to understand that broadly, the issues that really matter to folks are covered in this platform. It is reassuring to know that I'm on the right track.

Today's Spec contained an article that brought point #5 of my platform to the fore this morning: Hamilton food banks meeting growing need with extended hours.

"Under the plan, one of [a group of] food banks will be open Thursday night from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each week on a rotating basis." 

They are doing this to accommodate the "working poor" who have difficulty accessing the food bank during normal hours since they're already busy working. The Dundas Salvation Army will be part of this program.
When I was formulating my platform, point #5 originally read "Reduce Poverty" but I really didn't think that fully expressed the message I was trying to convey. 

I much prefer the sentiment behind "Increase Prosperity". It implies that poverty should not be worn as a stigma and that what benefits the least-fortunate among us benefits us all.

Many residents don't realize that Dundas actually has the second-highest poverty rate in Hamilton. We also enjoy the third-highest median income. What all this means is that income disparity in Dundas is a real issue. 

Food banks have a special place in my heart. When we lived in Toronto, before moving to Dundas, Kim and I volunteered as order-pickers and screeners for the Daily Bread Food Bank. It was there that we learned about the breadth of a food bank's clientele. 

It was really eye-opening to see that ordinary, well-educated people needed to use the food bank due to nothing more than unfortunate circumstances. There but for the grace of God, go I.

My Mom runs one of the neighbourhood food banks back in Sudbury and I know things haven't changed a bit. If anything, they've gotten worse.

Food banks serve a noble purpose but they symbolize a fundamental failure in our society that leaves people and far too many children on the margins. It is deeply troubling that seniors or people doing an honest day's work have to go begging.

As Councillor, I pledge to do what I can to eliminate the need for food banks in Dundas and Hamilton. Let's put an end to this debilitating cycle!

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