As a teen, Jaime was sucked into a world of gangs, drugs and violence that threatened to lure him away from school, which in El Salvador is only offered in half days. Jaime tells us he'd have wound up selling drugs, or possibly even dead, if an after-school program called Superate hadn't saved him.
We were going into battle against poverty, and we were going to win. But the battlefield was strewn relics of past attempts; most common were rusted water pumps. We naively thought that we could simply "engineer" better solutions. We couldn't.
One young doctor had to examine a sick child in a dim apartment because the electricity had been cut off. She said she'd never again do an assessment or write a prescription without wondering if paying for the antibiotic might mean no food on the table.
I've been to Africa. I've hung out with kids whose only possession is a ball made of leaves. And guess what -- they were grateful for it. I'll be keeping this in mind when I forgo loot bags at my son's upcoming birthday, and donate the money saved to filling up some bellies.
Go for power all you want, but Canadian citizens are smart enough to discern the difference between power and public service and Jack Layton had turned that into an art form.
In the modern world, we are encouraged to live in a constant state of fear. There are gang members behind each display of graffiti. Politicians eager to exploit the fear embedded in our collective psyche keep demanding tougher mandatory minimum legislation and endless funding to "fight crime."
Taking Internet access from poor people should quell the fires of revolt. Soon, they'll respect their betters. They won't mind the bank bailouts, the crooked media that allegedly tapped people's phones, the hard-wired class structure that cuts down people with the wrong background, the wrong accent, the wrong education.
Making programs and services more efficient and effective is welcome, and that should help in reducing costs and better serving public needs, but it would be naïve to assume that efficiency alone could solve the deficit. Therefore cuts, and maybe tax or user fee increases, will have to be made.
The Manning Poll has little to do with either conservatism or liberalism. Its findings are the inevitable response to our government's growing inability to solve problems.
Oxfam's report is a clarion call to action, especially to Canada, with its impressive wealth but little resolve to deal with hunger's ultimate enemy: climate change.