A Facebook friend writes:

“You’d think the kind of guy who resents having to give free stuff to ‘poorer Americans’ would be strongly in favor of said Americans investing in a single, portable item that delivers access to education and information, to the contemporary world’s equivalent of the ‘want ads,’ and a stable point of contact via email, text and voice to someone who may have no other stability in life; heck, making them reachable by employers!

“Apparently Mr. Chaffetz simultaneously fails to understand health care, poverty and networked technology. Quite the trifecta!”

Everybody was all over poor Jason Chaffetz last week. The congressman from Utah uttered a spectacularly ill-advised crack about how people who lose their health insurance when his fellow Republicans finally kill Obamacare should just suck it up and not buy the latest iPhone.

Facebook and Twitter were, as is their nature, immediate and relentless. The idea that anyone could afford a year’s worth of health insurance, or even a week’s worth of chemo, for the price of a 6S was so laughable that the tweetstorm quickly became a tsunami.

Congress will be with us always, but our representatives could do themselves and their constituents a favor if they stopped indulging in the mistaken notion that low-income families are coddled in this country, living on more government largesse than is good for them.

Remarks from U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall about how poor people don’t want health care made Americans from across the land wonder how a doctor, of all people, could possibly have come to believe that, as Marshall put it, “Just like Jesus said, ‘The poor will always be with us.’ … There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.”

Cranbrook’s slogan is “Mountains of Opportunity” for an active, safe lifestyle within an urban setting. Yet the truth is just like other places in Canada and B.C., our community has numerous poverty concerns.

The federal and provincial government acknowledge that poverty exists in Canada and there are exceptionally high rates in B.C. According to the 2015 BC Child Poverty Report Card, 16% of British Columbians live below the poverty line. Despite this concerning statistic, British Columbia is Canada’s only province or territory that has not established or made commitments towards a poverty reduction strategy.

Poverty is not having the means or resources to meet the needs of an individual, family or community. Poverty is having to choose between groceries or rent, a coat or school trip, a car or heat in the home, spending time with family or getting a second job to support them. It is stress, stigma, isolation and defeat. It is making choices not because we want too, but because we are forced to in order to survive. It is a cycle of barriers preventing access to healthy foods, education, housing, living-wage employment and resources that allow us to live our daily lives.

The City of Cranbrook’s budget estimates spending approximately 14% of its revenue on poverty related expenses including tax exemptions, grants, protective services and healthcare. According to a recent Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report the estimated provincial cost of a comprehensive poverty reduction plan in B.C., is $3 billion per year. The estimated current yearly cost of doing nothing is $9.2 billion.

They serve meals on Toronto campuses, but can they afford meat for their families?

They deal with hundreds of customers a day, and are expected to smile.

Until now. Food servers at York University and University of Toronto Scarborough are on strike.

Most of the 220 people represented by UNITE Here, Local 75 on York’s Downsview campus, and 60 at UTSC, get $11.50 to $12.21.

Growing fast and planning big things, York and UTSC say they’re “anchor institutions” committed to raising up the communities around them. That’s a lie if full-time employees on those campuses don’t make a living wage.

In December 2016, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed a bill allowing Ohio residents to carry guns to class in universities. Attached to this bill was a rider that prevented Ohio cities from raising the minimum wage. You see, Cleveland was ready to enact a citywide $15 dollar an hour minimum wage, placing them at about 80% of par for other industrialized nations.

Ohio’s current minimum wage is $8.10 per hour and will increase to $8.15 next year, equivalent to Albania but still a bit higher than Bangladesh.

This is the official policy of the Trump administration in Washington as well, financed and supported by massive donations to candidates from the American Enterprise Institute, the US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.

In 1963, this was the job I got. The wage was $1.50 per hour. OK, let’s take a look at how this works. Based on the Consumer Price Index, a figure that has been artificially jockeyed around to hide real inflation, now more heavily based on collapsed housing prices, rather than consume goods, I was making, by today’s standards, $12.50 per hour.

For the sixth time Michelle Mungall and the NDP have introduced a poverty reduction act in the Legislature.

“We have some of Canada’s highest poverty levels and yet we are the only province without a plan to reduce poverty,” said Mungall. “Housing prices and the cost of living continue to rise and food bank use is at an all-time high while homelessness as exploded with over 70 tent cities in the Lower Mainland alone.”

The Poverty Reduction and Economic Inclusion Act mandates the government to set specific targets and goals to reduce poverty in the province. Christy Clark’s Liberal Government has so far declined to debate the act.

Nova Scotians need a $15 per hour minimum wage to afford a nutritional diet, according to a new study from Mount Saint Vincent University.

The school’s Food Action Research Centre, in partnership with Voices for Food Security in Nova Scotia, released the results of their biannual participatory food costing survey.

In June 2015, the researchers randomly chose 21 grocery stores from across the province to find how much it would cost to fill the National Nutritious Food Basket, a list of 67 food items necessary for a balanced diet.

“We found households earning minimum wage or receiving income assistance would not be able to afford their basic needs, let alone save money to cover unexpected costs,” reads the report.

The results showed that, considering the food basket and all other expenses, households of four making minimum wage experience a monthly deficit of $418.07 while families on income assistance experience a deficit of $986.14.