On the front page of Sunday's paper, The Province, was a picture of a man I have grown exceptionally tired of. Then on page A3, just to give me something to wipe my butt with while doing laundry, was a full page interview with the guy. The person in question is David Cunningham. He's been a thorn in the side of every VANOC member and the regional police for years, and now he's uttering threats against the very people who brought him to "fame".
He believes that his confrontational tactics are working for getting his group's message out about the lack of affordable housing in the Vancouver area. Since this is the second blog topic I've written about these dolts, I'd have to agree that it does get them some attention, albeit negative.
I'll agree that homelessness is a problem in the Vancouver area, but I don't think that uttering threats against the members of the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) will do much good. Heck, if it wasn't for the coming Olympic Games and the once public VANOC gatherings, David Cunningham would be one of those people known only by the police as a recovering drug addict.
Deeper in the paper, I happened upon an opinion article that comes pretty close to how I feel about the situation:
I am a single parent of three children. I have endured the hardships of poverty, collected welfare and been a low-income earner, and I know very well what it is like to live in poverty.
I know what it feels like to stand in line at the food bank, not knowing where the next jug of milk is coming from and to have to tell a hungry child that there is nothing more to eat today.
But I have never screamed or whined about it. I never laid blame, and I certainly never harassed those who had more than me. Instead, I chose to educate myself, geta better job and provide a better life for myself and my children.
The best way to fight poverty is to remove yourself from it. Get educated and get a job.
- Debra Morris, Langley
While I haven't had to go through this dire situation (nor can I even imagine the stresses this woman must have felt), I couldn't agree with her more.
Five years ago I was in a crunch after moving to BC. I had no friends or family close enough to really help. I had no work. I was going anywhere from four to six days without food, all the while looking for work, walking from place to place with an envelope of resumes. I was past due on rent, and I had lost 70 lbs in five weeks. I was in a terrible position and wouldn't wish that circumstance on my worst enemies.
But I kept looking, and I kept my head up. Luckily, I had an understanding landlord who let me pay back my outstanding debt at a later date, and I eventually found work. To this day, that first paycheque for $173.70 was the largest paycheque I had ever seen in my life, despite the fact that I earned much more before the move to BC, and I earn much more now.
I never blamed others for my lack of work. Although I had some choice words for the people that said they had hired me before my move, I didn't hold them accountable for my welfare. I was capable of making my own decisions, my own mistakes, and living with the consequences. I did have some help from family when the going got really tough, and in the end I made it through.
We're all in control of our own destiny. Yes, the costs have risen quite a bit in the Vancouver area over the last five to ten years, but we can't expect the government to be held accountable for maintaining our standard of living. Many of the people that are homeless due to circumstance are dedicated to getting back on their feet and often accomplish it with the help of many help centres throughout the city. Renting a furnished room in the suburbs of Vancouver will cost anywhere from $100 to $400 a month. How much would subsidized housing cost? No doubt the same.
If people are truly upset that they're living in the street, then it's time for them to educate themselves and do something about it. I'm so sick of hearing people say "they won't give me a chance" or "I'm too old to change". If you've already given up on yourself, give me one reason why my tax dollars should go to help you. I paid more in tax last year than I made in the entire 2002 year, and I'll be damned before I give up more of my earnings to people who don't even have the courage to make something better of themselves.
Yes, being poor sucks. Especially in Vancouver when it seems that everyone has a BMW, 'Benz or Porsche. But if people aren't willing to help themselves, then I'm not willing to listen to those who scream and shout "not fair" to everyone that's earned what they have.