Aboriginal people make up more than half the homeless population in Thunder Bay, Ont., a research paper says.

When York University researcher Caryl Patrick examined previous studies from across the country, she found a disturbing trend:

“Aboriginal homelessness in Canada is a crisis, and should be considered an epidemic.”

That epidemic reaches from Halifax, where First Nations people make up a tenth of the homeless population, to Yellowknife, where they account for 95 per cent.

Income inequality: How you doin’?

The people on top don’t give a damn; pass the gravy, please. The people stuck in the middle hiss like geese at the thought of losing what they have. And the poor are quietly drowning.

(What’s he on about now?)

I mean we are living in a society in which inequality has become the norm and this time, it’s personal — if you are on the bottom, in this place and at this time, you have failed and your failure is your fault, not my responsibility.

I wish I knew what to do.

On February 3rd, 2005, Nelson Mandela made a speech to over 20,000 people at Trafalgar Square, London. He spoke about making poverty history and how a new generation of global citizens would have to stand up and fight to eradicate this global problem.

This hits home with me, particularly because of the work I do with PACT. I am routinely in subsidized housing, food banks, and working in the lowest income areas of Toronto. The conditions are deplorable. Our government, and our society are failing our most vulnerable citizens. Ask yourself this: How can a child grow up to be a productive member of society, achieve higher education, and become a taxpayer if they grow up surrounded by gun violence and insect infestations? Hoe can a kid concentrate and learn in a school when they don’t have anything to eat between their TDSB lunch program on a Friday afternoon, and the breakfast program on a Monday morning? How can we blame, or expect any different from a child when they resort to less savoury means to fulfill their fundamental human needs – to get food in their bellies?

Nunavut and the Northwestern territories [sic] have the highest levels of food insecurity, while Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia account for 84 per cent of the food insecure households in Canada. Certain populations are more susceptible to food insecurity, including low-income households, households reliant on social assistance, seniors, unemployed people, recent immigrants, and certain minority ethnic groups.

Food insecurity is a multifaceted problem. It is an economic concern, a public health concern, a social health concern, and a human rights concern. It has repercussions in both mental health and egalitarianism. The repercussions are dire for an appalling number of Canadians, who may not have the means to purchase nutritious food. Victims endure inhumane conditions, from having to choose low-cost unhealthy options to skipping meals and going hungry because of financial restrictions.

The extremely cold winter is being blamed for an increased use of food banks in Windsor.

During a typical winter, the Salvation Army food bank in downtown Windsor serves approximately 50 people. This year, it’s helping 70.

“Our number is high because of the cold weather,” said Hua Zhang of the Windsor Salvation Army.

High heating costs have hit low-income families hard this year. Many budgeted money for their utility bills based on last winter.