Vernon politicians find themselves caught in the middle of a growing social issue.

Recent court rulings have dictated that the homeless cannot be removed from public parks if there aren’t shelter beds available so Vernon, like many other B.C. communities, has relaxed regulations. On Monday, council voted to allow temporary shelter in designated public spaces from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. when shelter beds are not available.

This is a tough one because the city must abide by the courts but many residents, naturally, are concerned, about what’s happening in the parks. Coun. Catherine Lord can say she hasn’t seen a reduction in public use in Polson Park, but perception can become reality if some residents are convinced there is a safety issue.

Residents in Montreal’s Little Burgundy neighbourhood weren’t happy to find out the Open Door, a drop-in centre that supports homeless and low income people in Montreal, may have found a new home in their backyard.

Some say they don’t support the idea that the centre could move into Bible Way Pentecostal Church, at 2390 Coursol St.

“The property values would diminish tremendously,” Julie Bourne, a resident, told Global News.

Toronto Community Housing residents and allies from Jane and Finch and across the city held a rally on Friday, June 23 to protest the closure of over 100 community housing units.

Around 30 residents and ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) members came together to demand repairs for social housing and an end to Toronto Community Housing closures all over Toronto. ACORN, the anti-poverty group organizing the rally, claim that with 90,000 people waiting for social housing, Toronto needs more affordable homes, not less.

If the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS) has its way, minimum wage earners in New Brunswick will be waiting a long time before they see an increase.

According to the Halifax-based think tank, modestly self described on its website as “one of the most highly regarded think tanks in North America” (their award-winning track record is “a feat unprecedented in the world”), minimum wage earners should eschew rate increases in favour of government action that would decrease the cost of living and increase the purchasing power of the existing wage. In particular AIMS wants government to: remove trade barriers, phase out the national supply management system and reduce payroll taxes.

This predictable neoliberal prescription is unlikely to produce any immediate (or intermediate) relief to the 6.6 percent of wage-earners in the province who work for $11 an hour. Over the last 10 years the percentage of N.B. workers earning the minimum wage has increased by almost 60 percent, from 4.2 percent to 6.6 percent.

As Canada’s 150th anniversary approaches, in-your-face patriotism is ramping up. We’re encouraged to celebrate all things Canadian: Tim Hortons, hockey and “our home and native land.” CBC’s online video “Canada is celebrating 150 years of… what, exactly?” condenses events that led to this colonial celebration, with the acknowledgement “Indigenous people have been on this land for thousands of years,” and ending with “How old is Canada, really? Hard to say. We’re going with 150… for obvious reasons.”

Obviously… ? In 1867, the “Dominion of Canada” was created to the benefit of people who displaced First Nations. This colonization process was violent and culturally genocidal. Since then, Indigenous people have experienced land dispossession, destruction of traditional cultures and violent assimilation through residential schools. When I think about pride in who I am, identifying as “Canadian” doesn’t come to mind.

Two advocates for the poor are questioning the Food Banks B.C. policy of denying hampers to those who have no fixed address, arguing it lacks compassion.

The Friends in Need Food Bank in Maple Ridge follows that policy, requiring some form of government photo identification for any adult member of a family, as well as secondary identification, proof of address in Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, in addition to proof of income.

Service may be denied without proof of identity, according to the food bank’s website.

What does it say about our city? While some Torontonians make millions off a skyrocketing housing market, homeless deaths have nearly doubled.

On the second Tuesday of every month, friends and family of those who have died on our city’s streets join together on the steps of the Church of the Holy Trinity to acknowledge and mourn their passing. On June 13, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa and I were there to witness the addition of three new names being added to the list of the dead. The names read out were, as is too often the case, John and Jane Does.

The attendees are a colourful group of people with lived street experience, family and friends of the deceased, homeless advocates and allies, and church volunteers. Through poetry and song, rants and statements, they demonstrate their grief and their rage in ways that were both respectful and disruptive. Anger is an appropriate emotion here.