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Food Bank Users Call For Justice, Not Charity

by Raise The Rates

Poor People's Radio
Poor People's Radio
Marching to the CBC from the Downtown Eastside
Marching to the CBC from the Downtown Eastside

Media Release

For Immediate Release

December 7, 2012


Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territory


Food bank users call for justice, not charity

About 80 low income people converged on the CBC on it annual food bank day to say that they want governments to end the need for food banks by raising welfare rates.

Organized by Raise the Rates, the group set up its tent on the CBC Plaza and ran ‘Poor People’s Radio’ for an hour, which gave people living in poverty an opportunity to speak out.

Raise the Rates had written to the CBC offering them the opportunity to interview people who live in poverty and depend on Food Banks. Instead the CBC ignored the poor people outside and their security guards tried to harass them, while inside the feel-good programs continued.

This time of year there are many charities collecting food, presents and money to give to ‘those less fortunate’. However in all this fund raising, the experiences and voices of those people forced into poverty by government policies are hardly ever heard. Why are the poor ignored?

The CBC Food Bank day will raise around $500,000 for the year. This is a large sum for people to donate. Yet it is less than $5 a year, or a dime a week, for every child in poverty in BC.

Food Banks were set up in 1982 as a ‘temporary’ measure. Surely, after 30 years, it is time to ask ‘Why have Food Banks been here so long?’ and ‘Why is there so much need and poverty in BC?’. Food Banks temporarily treat hunger, which is a symptom, the cause is poverty and Raise the Rates wants treatment for the causes of poverty.


Contact Raise the Rates:

·      Bill Hopwood: 604 738-1653, 778 686-5293 (cell)

·      Jean Swanson: 604 729-2380,


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CBC the WASPish voice of the comfortable middle class and up...

I am not surprised to hear of the CBC's behaviour on this issue.  They have a long history of ignoring the view from the sharp end of the stick and are constanting excluding opinion that is "too radical", not "reasoned and calm argument", and anything that no doubt makes the CBC decision-makers squirm in their comfortable studio seats, mid-range autos, condos or houses.

Long the voice of the WASPish middle class middle of the road listener, the CBC has neglected its mandate to the people, to cover all aspects of the story, even if they don't agree with others.  This pretence is carried out often by having a "for" and "against" on any particular issue, which often neglects the multiplicity of nuances and aspects of complex but solveable issues of our time.

For example if there is a wood industry closing down they will cover the labour and business aspects, but neglect the ecological aspect...thus doing an end-run around the discussion of solutions which would allow for a sustainable forestry industry with triple bottom line accounting (that which considers society, the economy, and the ecology) such as is currently functioning well in many more civilized places.

I was recently cut-off by the producer in a call-in show because she disagreed with my opinion on a topic.  My opinion on that particular issue is shared by tens of thousands of BC residents (based on public statements, number of group members, and public positngs).  Since then I have been disconnected or put on endless hold when I call.  I called the CBC Public Relations people in Toronto and have filed a complaint.  If I don't hear back on this issue I will file a CRTC complaint too, which I will circulate on all media who will have it.

The CBC needs to be held to account for their terrible behaviour towards those of you who were advocating for a just welfare rate.  I feel that a guaranteed annual income based on humane standards, human rights, and indexed to inflation would do the trick.  No doubt that would cut into the budget for war planes and such ghastly and anti-human misuses of our tax dollars.

Keep their feet to the fire People, and I will do the same!

In solidarity,

Roslyn Cassells



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