The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is calling on the federal government to create its own basic income pilot project to replace the one that was prematurely cancelled by Doug Ford’s provincial government in 2018.

The national chamber adopted the resolution, which was put forward by the Hamilton and Thunder Bay Chambers of Commerce, at its annual general meeting this week.

It calls on the federal government to create a basic income pilot project and “assess the potential costs, benefits, pitfalls, challenges and outcomes of a nationwide basic income social assistance program.”

A newly released report tries to put a number on how many Nunavummiut struggle with homelessness, while explaining the complexities of securing a place to live in the territory.

The survey looked at homelessness in four different communities—Pond Inlet, Clyde River, Arviat and Gjoa Haven—estimating that more than 400 people in those communities have either no home or they sleep at multiple homes, sometimes in front porches or shacks.

The report found that between five and 11 per cent of children in those communities identified as housing insecure.

In late September, a new designated outdoor camping space for the homeless was announced, moving from the ball diamonds on Recreation Avenue to a vacant industrial lot along the rail trail on Baillie Avenue.

The new location, however, has been used little with the majority of Kelowna’s homeless opting to shelter in the downtown core on colder nights.

“I think that our community of people who are sheltering outside have already voted with their feet. Last night there were four tents there, so people are simply finding other nooks-and-crannies, different places in the city to be, they’re simply not utilizing it.”

In a recent piece on the current state of food banks, Paul Taylor remarked, “We demand gratitude for what we’ve given.”

In a country where food has been recognized as a human right by the state (see the Universal Declaration on Human Rights), emergency access to food should not feel like a handout. People should not feel a sense of obligation to the person or institution who provided that food.

These historic notions of generosity and servitude are pervasive today, lingering still in the ways that we position emergency access to food as an act of charity. As long as we talk about food in the context of charity, we continue to rid the state of its responsibility to deliver on the right to food.

Remote Indigenous communities face a problem as the changing climate makes it more difficult to access traditional sources of food.

That issue, which is detailed in a new report by advocacy group Human Rights Watch, is exacerbated by the fact that many communities have a lack of alternatives that are both affordable and nutritious.

“It’s difficult for our people to access healthy foods,” Vern Cheechoo said Wednesday at a press conference that coincided with the report’s release.

This election campaign has seen a lot of talk about crime and public safety related to tent cities and the threat they pose to communities.

There’s been less talk about the root cause of the encampments — poverty.

“This whole system is falling apart because we’ve just frozen it in time where everything magically cost $375,” said Karen Ward, a community advocate who lives in the Downtown Eastside. That’s the amount single people on income and disability assistance get for rent in British Columbia.

“People can’t get out of poverty — where are you going to rent?”

Twenty-five years ago this month, then Ontario premier Mike Harris slashed social assistance rates by 21.6 per cent.

In response to criticism of the cuts, Harris’s minister in charge of social services, David Tsubouchi, put forward a shopping list — later dubbed the “welfare diet” — to prove that welfare recipients could survive on the new lower rates by adhering to a $90-a-month grocery budget.

Tsubouchi’s list, which included nine servings of pasta but no sauce, and did not include butter, salt or other pantry staples, was widely ridiculed.

“It is totally out of touch with reality and is consistent with the stupidity and the ignorance of this minister,” Liberal MPP Dominic Agostino said in the legislature at the time.