As a civil and caring democratic society, which prides itself in being number one in quality of life, respecting the dignity of each human being and basic human rights as spelled out in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, why are there people who do not have the basics of such shelter and security?

May I suggest that this whole problem of homelessness is being addressed by an attitude of scarcity and charity rather than with an attitude of abundance and social justice.

The problem is not one of affordability, the problem lies within the system we call the free market capitalistic system of democracy.

Ottawa city council on Wednesday couldn’t find the words to describe the grim reality of people sleeping outside and unable to find an affordable place to live, finally agreeing that “emergency” is the only word that would do it justice.

Some councillors seemed embarrassed that they were divided on the language to describe a dire situation for too many people in this city, even though they all agreed governments must do more to help people find affordable homes.

Northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan have the highest rates of child poverty in Canada, according to a recently released report.

The report, issued by Campaign 2000, a Toronto-based anti-poverty organization, paints a dim picture of child poverty in the northern regions of Canada’s two central provinces.

According to the report, 19.6 per cent of children across Canada, including 27.9 per cent of children in Manitoba, were estimated to be living in poverty in 2017. Within the area covered by the federal riding of Churchill-Keewatinook Aski – which covers the entirety of northern Manitoba, including Flin Flon – almost two-thirds of kids, 63.4 per cent, were considered to be impoverished.

As temperatures sink and winter storms lash every region of Canada, the severity of homelessness across the country has come into sharp relief—in part due to burgeoning encampments like those in Winnipeg, which offer some benefits of community yet are vulnerable to fire and extreme cold.

While no one has been formally tracking their growth, Tim Richter, president and CEO of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, says these makeshift villages are more common and visible than in the past. Homelessness in general, meanwhile, is getting worse: about 235,000 people experience it in Canada each year, up from an estimated 200,000 in 2013, according to the alliance. Of those, around 35,000 are currently “sleeping rough”—that is, living outdoors. The result has been tension with the permanent dwellers around their camps—and frightening incidents for those living within them.

An anti-poverty organization wants to break down the myths and prejudices surrounding people who live in poverty.

The Common Front for Social Justice has launched a campaign to combat common terms often used for the poor such as “they are lazy” and “they don’t want to work”.

A number of individuals are telling their stories including Robert MacKay, who is on social assistance, and says he grew up with alcoholic parents.

MacKay says no one chooses to be on social assistance and it is not a disgrace to ask for help if you need it.

Across the Thompson-Okanagan region, Central Okanagan children are faring slightly better than their neighbours.

First Call released its 23rd Annual Child Poverty Report Card, Jan. 14, detailing poverty levels for districts across B.C.

One in six Central Okanagan children are living in poverty. According to the report, there are 5,970 children (17 per cent), and 15 per cent of all Central Okanagan residents living in poverty in the district.

However, the Central Okanagan has a slightly lower percentage of children living in poverty compared with neighbouring regions.

Canada can afford to eliminate poverty, support the middle class and dramatically shrink the gap between the rich and poor by introducing an annual basic income of $22,000, according to a new report.

The unconditional stipend for adults over 18 would come with an annual price tag of between $134 billion and $637 billion, depending on three options explored by the Basic Income Canada Network in a report being released Thursday.

“Basic income in Canada is not a question of possibilities, but of priorities,” said the report’s co-author Sheila Regehr, chair of the network.