Vernon city council has voted for a city-wide shopping cart ban in all public spaces.

It was one of 46 recommendations brought to council by the Activate Safety Task Force, all focused on the effects of homelessness and poverty on the business community.

The ban was originally meant to only affect the business improvement area of the city, but during a lengthy debate on the issue, a city-wide ban was recommended.

Juliette Cunningham, the lone councillor who voted against the ban, says it will just exacerbate the situation and worsen the relationship between the city and the homeless.

Pallister tax proposal absurd

Well that didn’t take long.

Sixteen months and 10 days after being sworn into office and Premier Brian Pallister is already talking about raising taxes. I guess we now know who the real Brian Pallister is.

The premier said Wednesday that health care costs are escalating so rapidly, government will have no choice but to either bring in a new health tax or cut services. With the federal government no longer increasing health care transfers to the provinces by 6% a year (Manitoba got a 3.4% increase from Ottawa in 2017), the “stark” reality is that Manitoba has no choice but to either charge Manitobans a health care premium on their income taxes or slash services, Pallister said.

Of course, the premier’s assertions are utter nonsense. He’s creating an entirely false and misleading scenario and attaching a fabricated ultimatum to it. The evidence clearly shows he’s not telling Manitobans the truth. Which is why his tax proposal is hopelessly indefensible.

Smiths Falls councillors have rejected a proposal for the town to participate in a pilot project to test the concept of providing a guaranteed basic income in Ontario.

At a meeting of council’s Committee of the Whole Dec. 19, councillors were told that Mayor Shawn Pankow had written to the province in May suggesting that the town might be interested in participating in the project – a step which some councillors said they were unaware of and would not support.

“I think this is something that has merit,” said Councillor Lorraine Allen. “People who live in poverty and have mental illness of one kind of another are struggling.”

However, councillors John Maloney and Dawn Quinn said they viewed the project as throwing money at a problem that could better be addressed through education, and were not in favour of Smiths Falls being a site for the pilot project.

Council has endorsed the establishment of a food bank in the town that could open its doors by the end of the year.

Since last year, an organizing committee has been laying the groundwork for a food bank emboldened with the principal that it is incumbent upon a caring society to provide the basic essential food needs for those less fortunate in its own jurisdiction. On Monday night, council passed a motion supporting a food bank for the town.

“This is, unfortunately, exciting for the community,” said Mayor Bob Sweet adding it has become too difficult for Petawawa residents to commute to food banks in Pembroke.