Opinion

EDITORIAL: Helping those who want to work

They are easy to see in the big cities.

You can find homeless, addicted, hungry, mentally-challenged people in droves on Hastings Street in Vancouver, or any big city for that matter.

We don't often see them here in our little paradise called Parksville Qualicum Beach. Rest assured, the hungry, homeless and working poor are here, however.

In her first installment today of a three-part series on these issues (see page A5), reporter Lissa Alexander tells the story of a local man who has moved 18 times since 2002.

Alexander also provides some sobering stats about the vacancy rate here and what percentage of their income people are paying in rent.

More than one-third of the people using local food banks are employed, many of them full-time. Others are on disability pensions — they can't find suitable employment and the pensions hardly supply enough for healthy meals, let alone stable residency.

In future installments in this series, Alexander examines child poverty in our region.

It sounds fairly bleak, sure, but we feel it's something that needs to be exposed, needs to be better understood, if there are to be any solutions.

Alexander has also solicited the opinions of politicians, volunteers and those who work in the social services here in an attempt to offer solutions, or at least their versions of solutions.

Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell hasn't exactly been a shining star in this regard. She offers statistics on what the Liberals have done with our tax dollars over the past decade on this file, but there has been nothing concrete for the people of her constituency in terms of job creation.

There are those who believe the government should take care of them from cradle to grave. We don't have much time for that view, and we believe the people of this constituency don't either, as evidenced by the result of the last provincial election.

But there are those, right here in our backyard, who want to work, want to contribute. Those are the people Stilwell and the Liberals should be helping.

— Editorial by John Harding

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