The provincial government is easing the burden on people who receive disability assistance, with an extra $52 a month for transportation costs. With the former B.C. Liberal government’s miserly treatment of the poor still fresh in many minds, the NDP seems determined to show a kinder face to those in need.

Shane Simpson, minister of social development and poverty reduction, said last week the first supplement will appear on Dec. 20 cheques, to cover the period beginning Jan. 1.

In a move that cemented its reputation for pinching pennies through the misery of people who couldn’t fight back, the former government raised payments to people with disabilities by $77 month, but at the same time started charging them $52 a month for a bus pass that used to cost $45 a year.

For many people, that slashed the increase to a paltry $25 a month

The construction of five multiple-residential buildings containing a total of 127 units on a 1.94 hectare property located at 425 Highview Drive received site plan approval at Huntsville’s planning committee on October 11, 2017.

For 20 years, 65 per cent of the units, made up of one and two bedroom apartments, will rent at 20 per cent below market value, as determined by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). In exchange, the Town will allow a slight increase in permitted density on the lands from 60 units per hectare (2.47 acres) to 65.5 units per hectare.

“That’s a great exchange,” said Huntsville Deputy Mayor Karin Terziano.

This year there are eight candidates running in the Vancouver city council by-election, including Jean Swanson and Judy Graves. Given their longtime involvement in Downtown Eastside politics, the media has been quick to conflate Graves with Swanson. But are they really so similar, and what exactly are the politics behind Judy Graves and OneCity?

For most of his life, Murray Barr was an ordinary American until everything changed abruptly when his story of personal tragedy and period of homelessness created a media frenzy. It was in his article, “Million Dollar Murray,” that Malcolm Gladwell turned homelessness into a celebrity cause by illustrating how Barr cost the taxpayers of Reno, Nevada around a million dollars despite not having a permanent home.

Murray’s story shocked many because it seemed unfathomable that homelessness cost money, let alone a million dollars. In reality, this is far from uncommon.

People without a home, and lacking supports for mental illness and addiction, can draw significantly on social services for survival, including shelters, social agencies and hospitals. They also tend to interact more frequently with police, fire and paramedic services – those agencies on the frontlines, dealing with the visible symptoms of homelessness. This all costs money.

Why Don’t the Poor Rise Up? is the title of a new anthology co-edited by Mount Royal University associate English professor Michael Truscello and Toronto-based post-secondary educator Ajamu Nangwaya.

The book shares its title with a 2015 New York Times op-ed by American academic and journalist Thomas Edsall. Was that the impetus for the project?

It provided impetus, although the question of why don’t the poor rise up is always part of revolutionary thinking. But the op-ed was recognition that even capitalist media like The New York Times and The Economist are perplexed there isn’t more opposition to the system given the record levels of inequality, runaway climate change, and other [oppressive] facets of the current order. That suggested there was a new level of awareness, and the moment was ripe for popular revolt

There is data that demonstrates that for our poor, faced with the priorities of daily survival, voting is a “nice-to-do,” rather than a “need to do.”

Ironically, given their large number, if the poor got out and cast their vote, they could decide who will govern our city and influence policies to reduce poverty in Calgary. And at the same time, it would reaffirm their citizenship and begin to lessen their marginalization and powerlessness.

So what can be done in these final days of the 2017 municipal campaign?

… It seems so simple, yet we are not doing it. It is not too late. Start today. By assisting people get out to vote, you will be helping to reduce poverty.

Bruce County council is not quite ready to sign off on its 2018 budget.

Council turned the proposed budget back to staff, despite a recommendation to approve the document at a 3.54% tax levy increase, asking for an additional $100,000 to be cut, which would bring the tax increase to 3.3%, or $1.4-million.

One suggestion dismissed by council was to cut a proposed $200,000 contribution to affordable housing down to $100,000, but Twolan says that’s not an area council wants to be cutting.

“We have to start investing more into affordable housing, so hopefully [senior staff] will come back with ways to getting to 3.3% without going at that $100,000 for affordable housing,” says Twolan.