Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- The Ontario Association of Food Banks discusses the long-term damage done by childhood poverty and deprivation:
When facing a very tight budget, food is often the budget line that gets cut in order to afford rent or hydro: you can skip a meal for a day or two and still be OK, but there are much more immediate consequences to not paying your landlord.

Instead, people in this situation often turn to food with higher calories and lower nutritional value to fill the empty feeling in their stomachs. Prices of healthy food in Ontario have skyrocketed over the last year: fresh fruit has jumped by 19.7 per cent since 2015, and fresh vegetables by 23.6 per cent, whereas the cost of candy has only risen by 0.4 per cent, while non-alcoholic beverages (such as pop) have actually dropped by 0.9 per cent.

People facing tough choices every single day -- rent or electricity? food or medicine? -- have high levels of stress. Stress can affect both your ability to take care of yourself and trigger high levels of blood glucose. Since diabetes is a disease in which your body isn't able to manage blood sugar levels, this can have even more adverse consequences.

All these things combined put low-income and First Nations people at a high risk for diabetes. Managing diabetes is itself expensive: beyond just the dietary changes required to keep it at bay, there is also the cost of prescription, supplies and equipment. Yet those who are low-income also often do not have enough or any insurance to cover these costs, because they work in precarious, low-wage jobs without benefits. 
- Tamara Khandaker writes about the suicide crisis facing Attawapiskat (among other Canadian First Nations), while the Hamilton Spectator reports on a suicide pact stopped in the nick of time. And Jorge Barrera reports on Jean Chretien's appalling response that the answer is to abandon communities rather than to make resources available.

- BJ Siekierski points out that even the Canadian Chamber of Commernce has figured out that the Cons' arbitrary limit on the number of regulations serves mostly to make governance more difficult - though their plan to let the corporate sector vet regulations isn't exactly a substantial improvement. And L. Ian MacDonald reminds us of the ugly state of corporate fund-raising in Canada which goes a long way toward explaining why businesses are allowed to write so many of their own rules to the public detriment.

- Finally, Clark Mindock and David Sirota trace the $600 billion of U.S. corporate money shifted offshore in a single year.

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