French yellow vest protesters set fires along a march route through Paris on Saturday to drive home a message to a government they see as out of touch with the problems of the poor — rebuilding the fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral isn’t the only problem France needs to solve.

Like the high-visibility vests the protesters wear, the scattered small fires in Paris appeared to be a collective plea to the government to “look at me — I need help too!”

Police fired water cannon and sprayed tear gas to try to control radical elements on the margins of the largely peaceful march, one of several actions around Paris and other French cities.

A number of clients from the City of Moncton’s emergency homeless shelter on Assomption Boulevard – the old fire hall – chose to set up tents and were living behind the building.

The temporary shelter closed on April 1.

Some clients decided not to stay at either one of the two permanent shelters in Moncton, Harvest House or House of Nazareth.

The City of Moncton posted a notice indicating it wanted to do its annual spring cleanup along the Riverfront Trail and asked those living in tents to gather up their belongings on Thursday afternoon.

On Saturday, April 27, the Third Annual Basic Income Nova Scotia Miniconference will take place from 9:30 am – 4:00 pm at the Paul O’Regan Hall in the Halifax Central Library. The event will address issues around a Basic Income Guarantee as a strategy to end poverty and boost the economy. The focus will be on evaluating the evidence for a Basic Income with the intent of future implementation in Nova Scotia.

The miniconference is free and open to the public. In the spirit of anti-poverty work, there will be free coffee and tea throughout the day, as well as a free snack and lunch

In 1995, Chicago suffered a violent heat wave that resulted in the deaths of over 700 citizens. Many were seniors, African American and living in public housing. Reports out that many of the seniors who died were isolated from their family and community and that others felt imprisoned in their home, fearful of venturing out into their neighbourhood, shocked North America.

In 2003, eight years after the Chicago catastrophe, countries in western Europe experienced a heat wave that resulted in 27,000 dead: 15,000 deaths in France, between 4,000 and 8,000 in Italy, 1,300 in Portugal, and 2,000 in Britain. Many were seniors. Many were poor.

In both situations, political leadership initially denied the extent of the problem and minimized the risk to vulnerable populations…

The federal Liberals are using their omnibus budget bill to legislate a “right to housing” in Canada, a pledge advocates worry could fall short of being the historic step the government wants without a few parliamentary tweaks before summer.

The budget bill would set into law rules for the Liberals’ 10-year national housing strategy, now valued at more than $55 billion, impose those rules on future governments and create two new oversight bodies meant to make sure the spending reduces homelessness.

In Vancouver last month, more than 400 volunteers walked around, carrying clipboards and wearing bright yellow buttons that read “Homeless Count.” They were out on the streets or in shelters asking homeless people to complete brief surveys for the city’s annual Homeless Count co-ordinated by the Homelessness Services Association of B.C. (HSABC).

I spent one evening at a shelter, one block east of Main and Hastings. This intersection is at the heart of the Downtown Eastside, a neighbourhood in Vancouver that is home to a diverse group of people, many who struggle with socioeconomic and housing challenges and others affected by issues of mental health and substance use. To meet the significant need, a large number of social service agencies are concentrated in the Downtown Eastside.

For more than five years, Nova Scotia’s welfare system — sorry, it’s income assistance (IA) program — has been undergoing a transformation which, upon completion, leaves IA recipients poorer than they were before the whole thing began.

That’s right Nova Scotia, comparing apples to apples, or income assistance rates then and now — adjusted for inflation — Nova Scotians dependent on IA were better off before the government undertook its grand redesign of welfare.

If the goal was to improve the lot of the poorest Nova Scotians, the grand design is an epic failure, made so by the steadfast refusal of the government to increase IA rates to a level adequate for a family to live without want for the basics like nutritious food and decent housing.