It's been an extraordinary week here at Huffingtonpost.ca: After only six months online, we've just seen a huge surge of traffic that should cause other Canadian news sites to start watching their backs.
Contrary to how it may seem, this series wasn't inspired by the Occupy protests. We were well into planning our coverage on income inequality when the protests took off. But I think what inspired the protests is more or less the same thing that inspired us to take on this topic, which is a growing awareness, both within the business and economics communities and within the the public at large, that something has become unbalanced in our economy. After the financial crisis of 2008, there was a lot of soul-searching out there about how we got to this place, and many economists began to pay attention to this phenomenon of growing income inequality.
While that series led the news, MP Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay) posted an extraordinary and wrenching account of human conditions at the Attawapiskat First Nation community on the James Bay coast:
I spoke with one family of six who had been living in a tiny tent for two years. I visited elderly people living in sheds without water or electricity. I met children whose idea of a toilet was a plastic bucket that was dumped into the ditch in front of their shack.
So dire were the conditions that the community took the unprecedented step of declaring a state of emergency. After three weeks, not a single provincial or federal official had bothered to visit and see the horror for themselves. After Angus posted his blog on HuffPost, it went immediately -- and gratifyingly -- viral. Angus referred to the reaction as a "digital storm" from concerned Canadians. Now officials from Aboriginal Affairs say they will be in Attawapiskat early next week. Yesterday the Red Cross announced it would be stepping in as well. But as Angus rightly asks:
The situation is causing an international outcry and Canadians are rightly saying, how can this happen in a country as rich as Canada?
Thank you Charlie Angus for bringing this situation to the attention of the public -- and thank you HuffPost readers for sharing and tweeting this blog around the world. We will continue to bring you updates from the situation as they come in.
Tuesday marked the 48th anniversary of the assassination of JFK: Two of our star bloggers, veteran journalists Brian McKenna and Peter Worthington, each lent personal insight into the event: McKenna on why it still matters, and Worthington's first-hand account of seeing Lee Harvey Oswald gunned down in front of him. Both of these posts received global attention. And some readers may have experienced a kind of intellectual cognitive dissonance by seeing an outspoken liberal (McKenna) and an equally outspoken conservative (Worthington) sitting cheek-by-jowl together on our homepage. Many people have asked me, since I came aboard as Managing Editor of Blogs three months ago, what will be the "politics" of Huffingtonpost.ca? And I have told them, "None." I'm committed to having all sides have their say in our blog rail. Thus you'll find a Conrad Black alongside a Maude Barlow; a David Suzuki alongside an Alykhan Velshi -- and many, many more. Some names may be less familiar; some are up-and-comers. All, I promise, will be lively and interesting -- a virtual moveable feast.
And in that, uh, spirit I posted a blog of my own that drew an unexpected amount of international traffic. Suffice to say it involved vodka, tampons, teenagers, and a ridiculous urban myth I was determined to prove wrong. No one can now say I won't do anything for a story -- or a drink.
The week ended with more civilized forms of cocktails, at HuffPost/AOL Canada's first-ever holiday open house, held at our cool new downtown Toronto offices. Staffers and friends mingled with painted, nude models (modesty preserved by towels) --I'm not joking. Did I just say "more civilized?" Okay maybe not. But it sure was fun.