Edmonton Street News

					              Street News

                                                                                                                                                          Vendors pay 50 cents per paper
                             Volume 7 I ssue 1 2 2 010

                                                 Community Groups that offer Meals
Bissell Centre                                           Daily except Wednesday             780-482-1587                     www.orcurc.org
10527-96 Street                                          12:00 to 12:45 p.m. meal           Second Saturday of each          Thursdays 6:15 Soup & Study
780-423-2285                                             Closed from the 27th of each       month
Sunday 12:00 –1:30 p.m., sand-                                                                                               B's Diner
                                                         month to re-open the 1st of next   5:00 p.m.  meal
wiches and snacks after church                                                                                               100 Street and Whyte Avenue
service                                                                                     Sai Sadan                        Wednesdays 1 to 3 p.m.meals
Monday to Thursday                                       Mustard Seed                       9619-101 Avenue upstairs
10:30 a.m. – sandwiches
                                                                                                                             Jasper Place Health and
                                                         10636-96 Street                    Wednesday – 6:00 p.m. meal
Tuesday and Friday                                       780- 426-5600                                                       Wellness Centre
noon – hot lunch for women                                                                  Salvation Army                   15210-Stoney Plain Road
                                                         Monday to Friday 7:00 to 8:00
Friday 9:45 a.m. – sandwiches                                                               9620-101A Avenue                  meals
                                                                                            780-242-9222                     Tuesdays 6 to 7 p.m.
                                                         Zero tolerance of alcohol
Christ Church                                                                               Friday – 7:30 a.m.   breakfast
12116-102 Avenue                                         Operation Friendship                                                     Important Notice
780-488-1118                                                                                St. Peter’s Lutheran
                                                         9526-106 Avenue
3rd Saturday of the month                                780-429-2626                       Church
5:30 meal                                                                                                                      Edmonton Street News is
                                                         Monday to Friday                   9606 – 110 Avenue
                                                                                                                               published by the Edmonton
                                                          9:00 a.m. breakfast               780-426-1122
House of Refuge Mission                                                                     Tuesday, Wednesday and             Society, a registered society
10339-95 Street                                          Monday to Sunday
                                                                                            Thursday                           in the province of Alberta.
Daily -5:00 p.m. snacks                                  12:00 noon lunch
                                                                                             7:00 to 9:00 a.m. breakfast       The paper is published
8:00 p.m. meal                                           5:00 p.m. supper for seniors 55
                                                         and over only                                                         monthly, and is sold on the
                                                                                            St. Faith’s Anglican
Lighthouse Ministries                                                                                                          streets of Edmonton and
3010-119 Avenue                                          Red Road Healing Society           11725-93 Street – parish hall
780-423-1277 or                                          4225-118 Avenue                    780-477-5931
                                                                                                                               Edmonton Street News is a
780- 474-8086                                            471-3220                           Thursday – 12;30 p.m. soup
                                                                                            Saturday - 8:30 to 10:00 a.m.      member paper of the North
Wednesday and Sunday                                     Tuesday and Thursday
1:00 and 7:00 p.m. meal                                                                     breakfast                          American Street Newspaper
                                                         5:00 p.m. meal
                                                         Friday – 12:00 to 1:00 soup and    3rd Friday of the month – 7:00     Association and of the
Hope Mission                                                                                supper                             International Network of
780-422-2018                                             bannock
                                                                                                                               Street Newspapers.
Daily 7:00 to 7:45 a.m.                                  River of Life Church               Victory Café and
                                                                                                                               Edmonton Street News is
breakfast                                                11368-95 Street                    Soup Bar                           not in any way connected
Noon - lunch                                             479-6762                           13411- Fort Road
5:00 tp 6:30 p.m. - supper                                                                                                     with Homeless Organization
                                                         Thursday and Friday                Monday – 5:30 to 6:45 meal
                                                                                                                               of Canada.
                                                         11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. lunch
Marian Centre                                                                               Edmonton Orthodox                                  Linda Dumont
10528-98 Street                                          Robertson Wesley United            Reformed Church                     Managing Editor, Edmonton
780-424-3544                                             Church                             11610 – 95A St.                                       Street News
                                                         10209 – 123 Street                 Info: Pete Wright – 479-1860
                                                                 Putting a number on homelessness
                                                                      The 2010 count of homeless people was        determined-- the heart of the housing securi-
                                                                 released in mid-November and what media           ty crisis is again missed.
                                                                 attention it received was full of back-slapping        That heart of the issue is this: as long as
                                                                 congratulations that we now have homeless-        we permit sisters and brothers in our com-
                                                                 ness on the run. The numbers were down            munity to live in the frightful situation of not
                                                                 from the 2008 count, after increases in every     having a modest little place where they have
                                                                 count from 1999 to 2008.                          control of their lives and personal safety, we
                                                                      Any indication that it is a shameful         are betraying the fundamental commitment
                                                                 immorality to still have more than 2400 peo-      to fairness and dignity and freedom that is
                                                                 ple counted on an average day as being            the base on which the well-being of all of us
                                                                 entirely homeless in an affluent city like        rests. No matter what changes there are in
                                                                 Edmonton was missing.                             the number that represents one rough way of
                                                                      Any reminder that this count only deals      identifying that there is a housing problem in
                                                                 with a small sliver of all the human beings in    Edmonton, we have a serious problem as
                                                                 Edmonton who are in very precarious cir-          long as there is no comprehensive properly-
                                                                 cumstances in relation to housing was miss-       funded plan to ensure everyone has a place
                                                                 ing. (The count only identifies those staying     to call home.
                                                                 in an emergency shelter or located at various          Instead of grabbing an untrustworthy
                                                                 places in some parts of the city where they       number to pat ourselves on the back for suc-

                                                                 agree to speak to a volunteer.)                   cess, we need to be informing ourselves
                                                                      Any mention of the fact housing insecuri-    about some other facts. Facts that will make
                                                                 ty is a deeply painful and humiliating cir-       us uncomfortable enough to demand more is
                                                                 cumstance in a person's life and that more        done. Facts about the seriously inadequate
                                                                 and more people in such circumstances             money being committed by the federal and

                                                                 might be tired of being nothing but numbers       provincial governments to housing. Facts
                                                                 on a good-hearted volunteer's tally sheet, the    about the real lifetime difference it makes for
                                                                 raw material in a social research project, and    a child to have appropriate housing when
                                                                 might just avoid being around where the           growing up. Facts about the demands creat-
                                                                 cheerful counters were on duty in their flam-     ed on health care when we have many people
     Edmonton Street News                                        boyant vests was missing.                         living in inadequate shelter.
                                                                      Any analysis of the impact of a higher            Some will say these thoughts are the
     Volume 7 Issue 12 2010                                      vacancy rate after several boom years in          whining of malcontents who will never be
                     Edmonton Street News is an                  Edmonton and thus a greater willingness of        satisfied, the grumbles of those who want
                     independent publication pro-                landlords to rent to people who will be reject-   government to be a nanny for the failures
                     duced by volunteers and sold                ed again as soon as the economy improves a        and lazy who don't care to grab their boot-
                     by vendors on the street.                   little more was missing.                          straps and pull themselves up. But the
                                                                      But forget all those technicalities. The     proverb says there are none so blind as those
                     Editor: Linda Dumont                        danger of homeless counts is that the focus       who will not see, and those who deliberately
                             Allan Sheppard                      is drawn to a number, objective and simple--      sketch a little picture (or a table of numbers)
                                                                 and mostly meaningless. And with all the          of their own, and then say it is the real story
                     Design: Theresa McBryan                     attention and debate on that number-- those       may be guilty of an even greater lack of
                                                                 wanting to take credit for it being lower say-    vision, that will one day come back to bite
                     Proof Reader: Allan Sheppard                ing it proves they are doing the right things,    them.
                                                                 those wanting to be critical saying there                                                 ESN staff
                     Writers:Ernest E. Moranetz,                 must be something wrong with how it was
                     Andie W.L. Maria B., Judy
                     Brown, Sharon Spencer, Allan
                     Sheppard, INSP, John
                                                                         Numbers show fewer homeless in the latest count
                     Zapantis, Linda Dumont, Bill                     The 2010 Homeless Count showed a             crowded housing.
                     Cunningham, Robert                          decrease in the number of homeless in                 So far, Alberta is the only province in
                                                                 Edmonton for the first time in since the          Canada to have a ten year plan. When asked
                     Photographers: Linda
                                                                 count began ten years ago. That number is         about what has been done in Alberta,
                     Dumont, Andie Wolf Leg, John                down 21 percent from the previous count two       Shapcott said there is still a long way to go,
                     Zapantis                                    years ago, from 3,079 people in 2008 to           since the plan is dependent on continued
                                                                 2,421 people in 2010.                             funding from the Alberta Government which
                                                                      Mayor Stephen Mandel joined Susan            may or may not be there in the future.
                     The deadline for advertise-                 McGee, the Executive Director of Homeward                                       By Linda Dumont
                     ments and submissions for the               Trust, in making the announcement at the
                     next issue is December15 th.
                                                                 Road Home Conference November 15th. This                       Whip it good
                     Phone: 428-0805                             was the first count since the municipal and       so, it’s christmas
                     Email:                                      provincial ten year plans to lower homeless-      and I’m sitting here
                     edmontonstreetnews@shaw.ca                  ness were adopted over a year ago.                and drinking
                     Address:                                    "We've seen signs of success in implementing      and thinking
                     9533-106A Avenue                            the provincial and civic plans to end home-       and wondering
                     Edmonton, Alberta                           lessness", said Susan McGee, Executive            what all the outcasts out there
                     T5H 0S9                                     Director of Homeward Trust Edmonton in a          on skid row are do’in tonite?
                                                                 release Monday. "Over 1,000 people have
                                                                 found homes through Housing First, and            probably smokin
                                                                 overnight shelter use is decreasing. But the      and a drinkin
                         Mission                                 need for services and programs remains            and a cryin
                                                                 high, and with over 2,400 Edmontonians            about how life passed them by.
Edmonton Street News Society provides a voice,                   still without a home, there is still a lot of
employment and social support to those who need
                                                                 work to be done."                                 like cousin mike
these, and communicates perspectives dealing                                                                       who died in the back seat of a car
with poverty and social justice, by education and                     The Road Home Conference was hosted
                                                                 by the Seven Cities of Alberta, a partnership     like his idol hank williams
communication activities, including publishing a
                                                                                                                   on the way back from jasper
street newspaper                                                 of community based organizations in cities
                                                                                                                   with his drinking pals
         Values/Beliefs/Guiding Principles                       identified by the Alberta government as part
                                                                                                                   in that dam cold winter
                                                                 of the ten year plan to end homelessness.
                                                                                                                   of 96.
We believe in being inclusive and encouraging                    The cities are Edmonton, Calgary, Medicine
We believe that human rights are fundamental to living
                                                                 Hat, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie,               he had a long black beard
We believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to earn and
                                                                 Lethbridge, and Red Deer.                         and looked like rasputin
control their money                                                   Michael Shapcott from the Wellesly           laying there in his coffin.
We believe in journalistic and organizational professionalism    Institute in Toronto was one of a panel of        he was nicely dressed
and integrity                                                    speaker at the Road Home conference who           in a dark suit and red tie
We believe the public needs to know about issues around
                                                                 addressed the need for a national alliance to     and everyone said that
poverty and social justice
We value community and connecting with others
                                                                 end homelessness. He compared homeless-           he looked better in death
We value passion and determination                               ness to an iceberg with only about ten per        than he did in life!
We believe everyone deserves the opportunity to learn, develop   cent of the homeless population visible, while
and use communication skills                                     the rest are hidden homeless or vulnerable to     so, here’s to you mikey,
                                                                 homelessness due to living in substandard         may you rest in peace
    The views presented in this                                  housing, spending more than 30 per cent of        you old pisstank!
 publication are those of the writers.                           their income on housing, or living in over-                               By Ernest E. Moranetz

Page 2         Edmonton Street News
      Two Edmonton police officers convicted in Sweatbox Incident
                                                                                                          Two of the vendors involved, Thomas
                                                                                                      Robillard and Phyllis Pysquiniak, have since
                                                                                                      passed away. The others were Victor and
                                                                                                      Chris Robillard, Phillip Dainard, Diane Wood
                                                                                                      and three un-named people.
                                                                                                          After lawyer Tom Engel demanded an
                                                                                                      investigation into the case it received a lot of
                                                                                                      media attention, but a year long investigation
                                                                                                      by the RCMP, from 2007 to June 2008, con-
                                                                                                      cluded with no charges laid. In February
                                                     VictorRobillard       Phyllis Pysquiniak         2010, Edmonton police decided three officers
                                                                                                      would face an internal disciplinary hearing.
                                                                                                          Erika Norheim represented some of the
                                                                                                      complainants. "These are highly vulnerable
                                                                                                      people who can easily be taken advantage of
                                                                                                      in a way that many other members of society
                                                                                                      could not be," she said after the hearing. "It
                                                                                                      was clearly wrong.”
                                                                                                          Victor Robillard said, “What they did to
                                                                                                      us was wrong. We are not garbage – we are
                                                                                                      human beings.”
Chris Robillard and Diane Wood                      Phillip Dainard         Thomas Robillard                                        By Linda Dumont
Two Edmonton police officers were found
guilty Friday of insubordination and discred-
itable conduct in the so-called "sweatbox"                            Street paper sales surge 10%
incident, where police rounded up homeless
                                                       “Increases in paid-for circulation, certain-   read in 24 languages; and weekly bulletins
people in a police van to dump them on the
                                                  ly on this scale, are counter to the trends in      highlighting their content are now sent to
other side of the city. Constables Patrick
Hannas and Lael Sauter were convicted at a        magazine distribution across nearly all             1,200 media outlets, NGOs and government
disciplinary hearing on three counts each         mature economies.”                                  bodies around the world.
under the Alberta Police Act. A third officer,         Douglas McCabe, press and online ana-              Douglas McCabe, press and online ana-
Const. Graham Blackburn, was cleared              lyst with media research company Enders             lyst with leading media research company
because he was only riding along in the           Analysis.                                           Enders Analysis, described the figures as
police vehicle at the time.                              A GLOBAL network of papers and maga-         “impressive” in the current market.
   The three officers were accused of picking     zines aimed at lifting homeless people out of           “Any increases in paid-for circulation -
up nine homeless people, six men and three        poverty is bucking the overall slump in             and certainly on this scale - are counter to
women, on Whyte Avenue in May 2005 and            worldwide print sales, with a collective 10 per     current trends in the magazine market,
locking them in a police van before dumping       cent rise in circulation over the past year.        across nearly all mature economies,” he said.
them in a parking lot in the north end about           Titles within the International Network of     “The reach of these titles is impressive, and
ninety minutes later. It was very hot in the      Street Papers (INSP), in some countries sold        their market share is growing even more dis-
back of the van, and one of the women uri-        under the ‘Big Issue’ brand, are all sold by        proportionately.”
nated on the floor.                               homeless vendors. In September this year                The concept behind the INSP street paper
    The incident was first brought to light in    they had combined sales of 1.51 million,            movement is a simple one. Homeless vendors
an article in the June, 2005 issue of             compared to 1.37m a year earlier.                   buy a paper at cost price and sell it for the
Edmonton Street News. Eight of the home-               Readership of the 115 titles within the        cover price, or for a donation, keeping the
less people involved were Edmonton Street         group, spread across 40 countries, has now          proceeds. The growing sales translate simply
News vendors. “They came to me singly and         hit 5.27 million against 4.79m a year ago.          into more people being taken off the streets.
in pairs, traumatized by the event, and I sug-         The best results were recorded in North            INSP’s figures compare starkly with other
gested we tell their story. That’s what we do     America (+36 per cent) and Europe (+6.4 per         recent industry findings which showed over-
as a street newspaper – give people a voice,”     cent).                                              all global newspaper circulation is now falling
said Linda Dumont, managing editor of                  During the year to September, ten new          for the first time.
Edmonton Street News.                             titles were launched; street papers are now

For Every 1 Homeless Person in Canada, Another 23 Live in Inadequate Housing;
Both Groups Suffer Same Health Problems, Poor Diet and Barriers to Health Care
Researchers Say Canada Needs a National           of homeless people in Canada, because so                One in three has trouble getting enough
Housing Strategy                                  many are hidden or sleep on the streets or          to eat
Toronto, November 19, 2010                        friend’s couches. In 2005, the federal govern-          38 per cent cannot get the health care
     For every one person in Canada who is        ment estimated there were 150,000 homeless          they need
homeless, another 23 live in unsafe, crowded      Canadians, or about 0.5 per cent of the pop-            55 per cent visited an emergency depart-
or unaffordable housing, meaning the coun-        ulation, although homeless advocates have           ment in the past year
try’s housing crisis is even worse than previ-    always said the number was much higher.                 In the next phase of their study, the
ously thought, according to Dr. Stephen                The report by Hwang’s group notes there        researchers will undertake the first study in
Hwang of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.       are 17,000 shelter beds regularly available         Canada to discover how often homeless peo-
     Those “vulnerably housed” people have        across the country. But, for each person            ple get housing and stay housed, and how
the same severe health problems and dan-          staying at a homeless shelter, there are            often the vulnerably housed become home-
gers of assault as homeless people, said          another 23 people -- about 400,000 across           less – and the health implications of these
Hwang, principal investigator of a new report     Canada -- who are vulnerably housed and at          changes. If the vulnerably housed become
on housing and health issues in Vancouver,        risk of becoming homeless, meaning they             homeless, do they use health care more and
Toronto and Ottawa.                               had a place to live, but it was in bad condi-       does their health deteriorate, and if the
     “The key point is that Canada needs a        tion, crowded, unsafe or cost more than 50          homeless find homes does their health
national housing strategy,” Hwang said. “We       per cent of their income.                           improve and health care use decrease?
all recognize that health care is important for        “Before now, researchers and decision-             Hwang is a physician in the Centre for
good health, and so we have universal health      makers have often thought of these groups,          Research on Inner City Health at St.
care. Decent and affordable housing is just       the homeless and the vulnerably housed, as          Michael’s. He leads a group called the
as essential for good health.”                    two distinct populations, with two different        Research Alliance for Canadian
     The report, “Housing Vulnerability and       levels of need,” Hwang said. “This study            Homelessness, Housing, and Health
Health: Canada’s Hidden Emergency,” will be       paints a different picture.”                        (REACH3), which includes some of Canada’s
released Nov. 19 in Ottawa at the annual               According to the report, both groups of        leading academic researchers and communi-
research forum of the Alliance to End             people share the following problems:                ty organizations with expertise on homeless-
Homelessness in Ottawa. It contains startling          Chronic health conditions such as arthri-      ness. The study of longitudinal changes in
new data from the first Canadian study to         tis (33 per cent), Hepatitis B and C (30 per        the health and housing status of 1,200
chart the changes over time in the health         cent) and asthma (23 per cent)                      homeless and vulnerably houses single
and housing status of the homeless and vul-            38 per cent have been assaulted in the         adults in Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa is
nerably housed and the first to compare           past year                                           one of REACH3’s projects and is known as
their health outcomes.                                 52 per cent have been diagnosed with a         the Health and Housing in Transition (HHiT)
     There is no accurate count of the number     mental health problem                               study.

                                                                                                                     Edmonton Street News      Page 3
                                As one of the                                                         ago I came to the inner city with nothing,
                           nominees for
                           Champions of
                           Change I was invit-
                                                      Thoughts at                                     and got into street ministry, volunteering
                                                                                                      with a group handing out sandwiches on the
                                                                                                      street corner across from the police station.
                           ed down to CBC                                                             At that time there was no one else that we
                           November 5th for
                           early morning cof-
                           fee, and stood
                                                       the end of                                     knew of doing it, and The Mustard Seed had
                                                                                                      not yet opened. The others in the group
                                                                                                      quit, and I was the only one left, so I took

                                                        the year
                           around with about                                                          charge, started Christ Love Ministry and
                           100 others, nomi-                                                          continued with new volunteers. After a cou-
                           nees and their                                                             ple of winters on the street, I decided to
                           friends. I was                                                             move inside, rented a suite from a slum
                           introduced to Pat        her volunteer work with the poor!                 landlord, got it licensed as a soup kitchen,
 Dunbar, one of the final four for Alberta,         Unfortunately, she didn’t get to be a finalist.   and continued. I had received a small
 and told, “You may be interested in her                So, just when I decided maybe it’s time       divorce settlement from my ex husband that
 story. She serves food outside Hope Mission        to get with the modern world and to learn to      helped pay rent for six months, by which
 on Friday evenings to the people standing in       use the web to my advantage – Face book           time some donations had started to come in.
 line.” I was interested, as I’ve been involved     and Twitter and all the rest, my computer         I was on medical welfare, recovering from
 in street ministry for the past 20 years. Her      crashed, and I found myself struggling to do      post traumatic stress disorder, a result of
 story will be in the January issue of              damage control to get the December issue of       the extreme violence I lived with while with
 Edmonton Street News. I also met Britney           Edmonton Street News out. The stories that        my ex husband, and had lots of time for vol-
 White and her nominator, Bob McKeon. She           were sent via email were still there, but         unteer work. I was picking up food and
 has been working with children in South            everything I had written was gone. At a time      preparing and serving soup first on a daily
 America, as well as with youth here in             when all I wanted to do was mope around           basis, then as other groups came in, three
 Edmonton. Special thanks to Jim Gurnett            and melt into a puddle of self pity, instead I    times a week, and getting tired of cooking.
 for nominating me and to Norma Harms for           was up all hours of the night trying to           That’s when I ran into Bill Buck. The House
 writing a letter on my behalf. Thank you for       reconstruct stories, while coping with a          of Refuge Mission was closed, as was the
 believing what I do is important.                  strange computer, taking breaks to go to my       inner city mission, and I was volunteering
     As I was looking for background infor-         paid places of employment, then crashing          with Sedrick Vassell at the Lighthouse on
 mation for the story on Dunbar, I came             for a few hours sleep. (It is now 5:36 a.m.       95thStreet, still making soup. I asked Bill to
 across a website that read, “Nominate Pat          and I have been up since 3 a.m.) In the           come in and cook for me. He not only took
 Dunbar as a Champion of Change”. At CBC,           process I developed a nagging eye-strain          over cooking, but food pick ups as well.
 I overheard them talking about all the “nice       headache, and became so touchy my family          One by one the others from the House of
 letters” they had been sent about Dunbar           started closing doors when they saw me            Refuge came to volunteer at the Lighthouse.
 and they were taking her photo, too. So that       coming. But, in journalism, a deadline is a       Then Sedrick moved out and the House of
 was how she made it to the final four – good       deadline and the paper must be out on time!       Refuge took over the lease. Reluctantly, I
 PR coupled with the value and sacrifice of             But how did it come to this? 20 years         donated my soup pot for others to fill.

Cash for                                            testing and additional help in the classroom.
                                                    'I think good marks, being successful in
                                                                                                      would be “more student testing” is misguid-
                                                                                                      ed. The Toronto school board and others that
                                                    school, is its own reward, which opens up         have looked at the idea of cash for grades
grades?                                             more job opportunities down the road.'”
                                                         As of November 24, in an informal online
                                                                                                      start from the knowledge—based on evidence
                                                                                                      they and others have collected—that children

Why not?                                            poll related to the story, 565 (66.94 per cent)
                                                    readers agreed more or less with with Mr.
                                                                                                      from low-income families and communities
                                                                                                      are more likely to avoid tests and less likely
                                                    Hudak's comment, 215 (25.47 per cent) dis-        to do well on them than children from more
                  Allan Sheppard                    agreed, and 65 (7.58 per cent) said they          well-off communities. To suggest that the
 Allan Sheppard is a freelance writer and editor,   weren't sure. Readers' comments following         solution to that all-too-real reality is to give
 and a volunteer writer for Edmonton Street         the CBC-Canadian Press and other on-line          more tests is...well, perverse is the mildest
 News. As a pensioner, he finds himself from        coverage were often hostile to the idea. In       word that comes to mind. Cash for grades
 time to time on the edge of poverty and home-      fact, when compared to some readers' rants,       may not be the only or best way of dealing
 lessness. As a self-appointed community elder,
 he thinks and worries about the needs of chil-     Mr. Hudak's comments seem profoundly              with unsatisfactory compliance and results
 dren, youth, parents and others who face lives     thoughtful and informed. They are not.            in testing, but how can more, even if some-
 of poverty and inadequate education in the              I can't help asking what planet Mr.          how better, testing begin to address the real
 midst of unprecedented wealth.
                                                    Hudak lives when he makes his observations        problems?
 Sooner or later, we will be having                 and upon what experiences of poverty and              Mr. Hudak's suggestion of “additional
                                                    its effects on children he bases those obser-     help in the classroom” as another possible
       this discussion here.
                                                    vations. (As for the more extreme readers'        strategy for improving attendance and grades
    “Dad, how come you only tell what I do
                                                    comments, I'm not sure the trolls who post        among low-income students is even more
wrong? You never tell me when I do some-
                                                    them live in the same galaxy as I do, but I       disingenuous. In a time when tax cuts and
thing right.”
                                                    fear they register at least as much with Mr.      service cuts are the preferred method of
    It's been 20 years since my late adopted
                                                    Hudak and Minister Dombrosky—and their            dealing with financial and social challenges
son Darcy, who was around 12 at the time,
                                                    counterparts here in Alberta—as the com-          in probably every jurisdiction at every level of
spoke those words to me. I was reminded of
                                                    ments that support the idea of cash incen-        government in Canada, I find it hard to take
that exchange, when I recently found on line
                                                    tives, amounting as they do to at most one-       seriously any political leader who talks of
some news stories and comments dealing
                                                    third of the responses.)                          putting more teachers into classrooms.
with a proposal to pay children from low-
                                                         To suggest, as Mr. Hudak and others do,      That's what should happen, especially in
income families in Toronto small amounts of
money for attending school and getting good
grades. Nothing has been settled yet, but a
Toronto District School Board anti-poverty
task force is considering the idea for 110
schools identified as having students with
significant income-related challenges.
    After initially avoiding comment on a
matter that she said was a school-board
responsibility, Ontario's education minister,
Leona Dombrosky, now says, “if the board
moves ahead with the idea the province will
try to block it,” according to a CBC-Canadian
Press report
010/11/19/ontario-education.html). The
minister reportedly changed her mind “after
the Opposition demanded to know if provin-
cial money would be used to fund the cash-
for-grades program.”
    Specifically, according to another CBC
grades.html#ixzz16DW9Cw27), “Ontario
Opposition leader Tim Hudak said school
resources should be used for more student
Page 4      Edmonton Street News                    that a better strategy and use of money           low-income communities. It's by far the best
     When I discovered street newspapers,
 and my life changed – I gained security and
 self sufficiency. I knew I could take out
                                                                                                     Christmas is All about Jesus!
 some papers and sell them any time if I
 needed money for my daughter’s school field                                                         He is The Alpha and the Omega (the begin-
 trip or for groceries for supper, laundry soap                                                      ning and the end)
 or anything else we ran out of. On welfare it
                                                                                                     The “I AM”, The Holy One
 can be a long time between check days!
                                                                                                     The Messiah, The Anointed One
     I became convinced that the poor need
 more than food – they need a voice, to be                                                           The Word of God, The Bread of Life
 heard, and they needed to feel in charge of                                                         The Light of the World, The Bright and
 their own lives. I have written all my life,                                                        Morning Star
 but the street newspapers gave me an outlet                                                         Son of God and Son of Man
 where I could tell my stories. There were                                                           King of Kings and Lord of Lords
 negative things happening to me and others                                                          Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the
 like me as a result of the Klein government                                                         world
 cutbacks to the welfare system and I didn’t                                                         Prince of Peace, Emmanuel (God with us)
 agree with their policies.                                                                          Wonderful Counsellor, Almighty God
     To get off welfare, I applied to Grant                                                          Our High Priest, The Good Shepherd
 MacEwan College, and was accepted into
                                                                                                     Our Savior and Our Friend
 Native Communications, then won a Datatel
                                                                                                     Our Redeemer, The Resurrection and Life
 Scholarship that paid for my tuition to get
 into Journalism. (Ironically, that scholarship                                                      The Anchor for our Soul
 is awarded only to Viet Nam vets and Grant        The Mustard Seed art show at the Jeff             Our Deliverer and Healer
 MacEwen College students – I figured I was        Allan Art Galery gave inner city artists an       Our All in All!
 eligible on both counts.) With my new skills,     opportunity to show and sell their work
 I was able to start Edmonton Street News          throughout the month of November.                                                By Judy Brown
 launched November 16, 2003.
     In this issue, the sweatbox incident has     to run in Edmonton Street News. Sharon             do know that I’ve made a commitment to
 been concluded with convictions against two      Spencer has been able to finally complete          paper the same way I committed to the soup
 police officers. (page 3) Edmonton Street        her book with the encouragement, editing           kitchen ministry – for as long as I am need-
 News got the ball rolling in 2005 when the       and serialized publication in Edmonton             ed. As I anticipate the New Year, I wonder
 people involved came to tell me their story.     Street News over the past two years – an           if any of it made a difference. And where do
 The Randy Fryingpan case, where he was           opportunity I would really love to have            I go from here?
 tazered by Mike Washylyshen while sleeping       found for my own writing.                                                       By Linda Dumont
 in the back seat of a car, is soon to be             I don’t know what the future holds, but I
 decided. That story was one of the first ones
solution. It's what many thoughtful parents       ty entrance by staying in school and getting        of a child. That happens rarely, if at all. Most
and responsible citizens would like to see        good grades for their own sake and promised         often self-motivation is learned; as if by
happen. It's what will surely not happen,         future benefit. The neighbourhood drug ped-         osmosis in a positive, supportive environ-
because all jurisdictions at all levels of gov-   dler and dealer in stolen goods offer better        ment; or by hard work, building small suc-
ernment seem fixated on reducing both taxes       than that, because they offer it now. They          cess upon small success until there is a
and services to balance budgets. Opposition       also offer potential violence, imprisonment,        foundation of confidence upon which to build
leaders like Mr. Hudak may hint at promis-        abuse, even early and violent death. But            dreams and respond positively to positive
ing more teachers in classrooms, but recent       those, too, exist, if they seem to exist at all,    expectations. Parents, families, and commu-
history wherever one looks suggests they will     in the future—which is nowhere in the day-          nities have roles to play in that. So do
do otherwise, given the power actually to do      to-day world where most of such children            schools, adequately staffed with qualified
something.                                        live. To ask them to delay gratification now        teachers and other professionals who know
     As for Mr. Hudak's comment, “I think         for possible rewards in the future is to ask        who know how to recognize and address the
good marks, being successful in school, is its    the inconceivable and promise the impossi-          special needs of each individual child, and
own reward, which opens up more job oppor-        ble. Yet that is the best Mr. Hudak and his         who understand that children in distress
tunities down the road,” there's a word for       many supporters can do. It's the best I could       generally need more attention and support
that, too: ludicrous. One of the many things      do when Darcy challenged me with his ques-          than their peers from health families and
my son Darcy and his younger brother              tion so many years ago.                             communities. That's not going to happen, for
David, coming as they did to my family from            My answer: I do it because I want you to       reasons I've already touched on. There is no
poverty, a broken family and community,           have a good future. More honestly, I also said      will and, we are told, no money to pay for the
and failed social services care taught me is      I do it because that's the way I was brought        kind of staffing we need in schools.
that children in and from poverty live in con-    up, and it's what I know. What I did not say,           So, if the obvious best solution is not
stant survival mode. They do not—in fact          but should have said was this: I don't know         going to happen, can we afford to reject out
cannot—look beyond the end of each day and        how to offer praise or recognition without          of hand less desirable alternatives?
whatever food, comfort, pleasure, and shelter     having it seem like a bribe, without seeming            Modest cash rewards for attendance and
it might (or not) bring. To expect them to look   to pander to your needs, when what I want           grades are not a guaranteed solution.
and trust beyond that is futile; never or sel-    to do—what my own upbringing and educa-             Evidence from other places is mixed. Studies
dom having had things they count on hap-          tion has taught me—is to hold you firmly to         in the U.S. show no or modest improvement
pen, they cannot and wisely (given their          my and society's needs and expectations.            when cash rewards are given. Online news
experience) will not put their faith in any-      Which is to say (I came to understand with          reports from British Columbia tell us that
thing other than themselves and things that       my sons' help), that I and society are more         cash incentives have produced good results
they can see, feel, and hold on to now.           important than you, my children. I do not           with Aboriginal children in Vancouver and
     There are no “opportunities down the         think I was much different from other par-          Williams Lake. But there really isn't enough
road,” for many children living in poverty;       ents—and society in general—in so thinking.         evidence out there to be conclusive one way
none, at least, that they can see and believe.         Over the years since that conversation,        or the other. And there never will be, if politi-
The only rewards that matter are the ones         my sons taught me to see and understand             cians, educators, and public opinion reject
they can grab now. Tomorrow will take care        things differently: not that they, together and     outright any proposal to test the strategy.
of itself, and probably not as well as today.     individually, are more important than I or              Perhaps you still think it's wrong to offer
Their families often show them that. Their        society, but that they are no less important;       children cash and material wards for atten-
peers, siblings, and community role models        that there is a fine and delicate balance           dance and grades at school. If so, answer me
often tell them that. The treatment they          between what is good for each of us as indi-        this: Have you ever promised and given your
receive from community institutions, such as      viduals (especially when we are children) and       child a treat for an achievement at school? A
schools, generally confirms that. They see        what is good for all of us as members of the        candy or fast-food treat? Ten or twenty dol-
and hear it at home and in their neighbour-       society. Too many children who live in pover-       lars? A movie? A video game? A trip or a car
hoods: straight society has no room and ulti-     ty learn that they can expect nothing good          for graduation? Should children whose par-
mately no use for them. Straight society          from society and society expects nothing            ents cannot afford such things do without
offers them nothing beyond faint hope for an      good from them. They learn that long before         them—or the incentives and recognition they
impossible future. Straight society does not      they get to school, most of them, and they          provide.
accept them. It does not know them or want        find those expectations reinforced once they            I don't have hard and fast answers, I just
to know them. It does not care about them.        get there and after they leave, too often by        think they are worth asking—and worth con-
     What such children need—and what they        dropping out.                                       sidering all options in answering. Sooner or
too often do not get at home, at school, and           Of course the goal must be, in the long        later, we will be having this discussion here,
in the community—is respect and recogni-          run, to encourage children to succeed at            as well as in Ontario and British Columbia.
tion. Now. Not tomorrow. Not next week or at      school and in real life through self-motiva-
the end of the school year. Not when they         tion. But that is not something that readily
grow up and find a good job or gain universi-     appears, as if by magic, in the heart or spirit                                  by Allan Sheppard

                                                                                                                     Edmonton Street News       Page 5
                                The Miracle of Christmas
                                                                           Celebrating Christmas is not about the        ty.
                                                                       purchases that we make but is a remainder             Respecting ourselves we realize of the
                                                                       of the birth of Jesus and the incredible lega-    importance of treating everyone with the
                                                                       cy of unconditional love, kindness and grati-     same respect and dignity that we righteously
                                                                       tude that he was able to model through his        deserve.
                                                                       sole presence.                                        We must develop gratitude in our heart,
                                                                                                                         the kind of gratitude that is manifested in
                                                                           We live in a world where in order to be       every word, in every action and every step
                                                                       accepted, the demand is that we sacrifice         that we give in life.
                                                                       who we are. But in order to preserve our              Having gratitude in our heart, we become
                                                                       essence and be “who we are in the eyes of         blessed with every day miracles.
                                                                       our creator” we must never sacrifice who we           May this Christmas overwhelm you with
                                                                       are and must always do what is right for us.      the spirit of giving and you will be able to
                                                                             We are the ambassadors of our creator       open your heart and make the effort to cre-
                                                                       and our love, kindness and willingness to         ate the kind of memories that make an
                                                                       help others must become the thread of gold        imprint on people’s heart until the end of
                                                                       that forms the tapestry that makes us an          time.
                                                                       intricate part of a humane and caring socie-                                             Maria B.

         ESN Calgary Vendor's Wish and Hope for Christmas Day & The Holiday's for 2010

                                                                       time when I was on the street as a teenager.      food at home here. Also to have a gift card
                                                                       I was homeless and I had to beg to get Social     from Calgary Co-op or even Canada Safeway
                                                                       Assistance from the office that was under         and a gift card from Mark's Work Warehouse
                                                                       the former Colonial Hotel that stood on the       so I can go and look at the Boxing Day sales
                                                                       corner of 7th Avenue and 1st St SE, back in       and possibly pick out a deal somewhere at
                                                                       the days when the east-end hotels were            Mark's Work Warehouse. I also need to buy
                                                                       almost on every corner. I would've frozen,        a pair of casual ladies shoes size 9.5 - the
                                                                       maybe to death without it.                        name of the shoes is Keen's. They are sold
                                                                               I remember wearing an oversized           at Out There and Mountain Equipment Co-
                                                                       sweat shirt and jean jacket. I got it from a      op Stores. These are the only brand of
                                              Photo by Sarah Parsons

                                                                       male bar patron in the former Queen's Hotel       shoes I can fit into. The reason I'm mention-
                                                                       on 8th Avenue & Macleod Tr SE. I had no           ing the name of the shoes is because I have a
                                                                       winter boots or the right shoe to wear for the    hard time fitting just any other brand of
                                                                       winter season. I had shoes on that were           shoe.     I want to send out my personal
                                                                       just an old pair with ripped sides and the        thank you to all the Edmonton Street News
                                Andie                                  brand was the type from the former Saan           supporters here in Calgary for buying my
                                                                       Store. The Saan Store was next to the for-        paper in 2010 and also the former Calgary
                                                                       mer Calgarian Hotel on 1st Street & 7th           Street Talk Newspaper in 2010. Your gen-
          The Christmas season is here, the                            Avenue SE. I remember getting the shoes           erosity has been felt by me each time you
Christmas holidays and Christmas Day are                               from a used box of shoes at the former Inner      bought a paper at the Banker's Hall & the
just days away. The season this year hasn't                            City Drop-in Centre on 1st Street SE              23rd Avenue and 4th St SW.        I am hoping
changed for me to be with extended family                              between 7th Avenue and 8th Avenue SE.             to have a brighter Christmas Day and I hope
for at least the last five years since moving                          They were a size too small!      I had no mitts   to have my wishes come true throughout the
back from Lethbridge, Alberta in September                             or scarf or any winter clothing to wear, just     holiday season for 2010. Without my ESN
2005. When I moved back to Calgary I had                               donations from a cardboard box left at a          Street Newspaper supporters and customers
lost all my contact addresses and phone                                homeless drop-in centre or found in an east-      I would not be have been able to buy the
numbers for all my good friends that I had                             end bar somewhere!                                supplements and necessities I needed
met over the years since leaving Calgary to                                    I was given a four day stay at $8.00 a    throughout the past year. Best Regards, and
live in Lethbridge AB. A lot of my good                                night and a food punch card to get meals at       Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New
friends moved away.        I have spent the last                       the YWCA. There was a horrible storm that         Year! 1f you choose to Contribute to ESN
decade alone at home on Christmas Day and                              year at Christmas time! I got the room the        Vendor, Andria Wolf Leg for Calgary,
throughout the holidays! I wouldn't think                              last two days before Christmas Day! I awak-       AlbertaPlease Mail to:Andria Wolf LegPO.
today I would have to be concerned about                               ened on Christmas Day and looked outside          52281, RPO. Edmonton Trail,Calgary, Alberta
spending a day alone over Christmas Day or                             to a snow storm and temperatures in the -                                        Andria Wolf Leg
even being alone during the holidays if I did-                         20's. I had been drinking the night before. I
n't lose the contact addresses. I'm hoping                             was hungry and dehydrated. (I have now
that someone, whom I have met over the last                            been sober for 23 years this past April 2010!)
ten years, will see this story I have written                          As I looked through the bag that had every-
about my Christmas for 2010. Maybe they                                thing I owned there was nothing to be found
will contact me and we can re - connect over                           to eat. All I had was the water tap in an
the Christmas Holidays? There are                                      antique porcelain sink in my
acquainted family members that I don't know                            room.Everything was closed for Christmas
and other people I see on a daily basis, but                           Day and the holidays so I got dressed and
some are involved in family violence, emo-                             went across the street and stood near the
tional abuse, and addictions to hard drugs                             corner to panhandle enough spare change to
and pain killers are an epidemic. This past                            buy a coffee in the former Regis Hotel lobby.
year I have lost two sisters and two nieces. I                         I had to deal with a hostile, agitated and
also lost a girlfriend in October 2010. Both of                        rude desk clerk who called me a racist name
my parents are passed on. I am the last                                to get me out of the lobby, when I only want-
surviving sibling in my immediate family.                              ed to buy a coffee.     Today, when all the
I would find it very hard and I wouldn't get                           government offices, medical facilities and
involved just to fit in with a group of people                         banks are closed over the Christmas
who are living with violence letting drugs and                         Holidays, I stay at home. But I want to say
addictions consume there everyday life. I live                         that a place to live is not enough for me.
a functional lifestyle, violence - free and                            When the weather is in the -20's here in
addiction-free. When I have free time to                               Calgary, I'm not able to go to my paper
spend I catch the Calgary Transit bus and I                            stands to sell The Edmonton Street News. I
go on down to my regular place for some-                               eventually run out of the bare essentials, of
times a late coffee and to chat with the regu-                         food, the main staples like fruit, vegetables,
lars there. I also do volunteer work during                            grain breads, cereal, milk, meat, eggs and
the week in the homeless community prepar-                             other necessities. I also need to buy the
ing and serving meals        The season does                           small things that women need that I can't
bring back the memory of the grim desperate                            afford.     My ideal day this December 25,
                                                                       2010, if I have to be alone, is to have enough
Page 6          Edmonton Street News
                                         Mamma’s Chickens
Chapter 28                                        with me not to go back, saying Doug was           Somehow I managed to protect my precious
The party                                         crazy. They also took me to an eye specialist     child. The baby remained safe in my one
                                                  who was aghast to find out how I had              arm. I stuck out my thumb and prayed
    Unfortunately Jordon developed colic and      become injured. Apparently Doug had               someone would have the compassion to stop.
cried about 20 hours a day. I just didn’t         scratched the eye and the doctor said that        Someone did, and I escaped to my mother’s
know what to do with this poor little baby all    the eye may have to be removed and stitched       house with the baby, which was about fifteen
twisted up in pain. He was crying constantly      .”’Who did this to you,” the indignant eye        miles out of town.
and every time someone picked him up he           specialist asked, ”I hope your going to prose-        So it was, I arrived at my mothers with a
would vomit on them or poop green. We             cute?” I stood there speechless and               patch over one eye and bleeding from the
would go to doctors that had no answers so I      ashamed. How did I explain to this learned        cuts on my hand and legs. I must have been
constantly held him face down in my lap           man what he did not understand? There             quite a sight. I sat on the couch, relieved,
rubbing his wee back hoping for relief. Doug      were no words to explain the intense fear         breathing deeply. Oh no, he would not mess
mostly chose to stay a way because the con-       that was my constant companion and that I         with my father! Finally I was safe. My
stant crying annoyed him. I got very little       truly was someone else’s thing to do with         younger sister had just recently left her hus-
sleep. Many older women would give me             exactly as pleased, so instead of trying to       band due to abuse. She was living with
advice but nothing much worked. The doc-          explain something I didn’t understand I           Mama and Father now. Hope sparked
tors blamed it on my nervousness as a new         stood silent.                                     momentarily within my heart. After all, I was
mother, which made me feel worse.                     After a few days Doug became bored with       no longer a troublesome child, but a mother
    Shortly after Jordon was born we had got      my absence. He constantly tried to see me         with one of their grandchildren.
together with Doug’s younger brother,             or called. I would ignore him - after all I was       Two days later I turned twenty-two. My
George, and his wife. They had just had           in a place of protection. In the end George       parents surprised me by taking me out to a
their first baby and it kind of bonded us         came to me and told me I had to leave. Doug       fancy restaurant. Here my mother, with pain
together. We were all going out for supper,       was going to beat him up. I sat alone, crum-      in her eyes, conveyed a well-rehearsed
and then later, going to have a few drinks at     pled on the floor crying, while holding my        speech on the duties of a wife. I was told my
George’s. There was happiness and laughter        new baby, wondering, what the next step           place was with Doug and I was going home
on all sides that warm early summer night. I      was. Where do I go to from here? It was all       that day.
was relaxed in the moment and Doug was            supposed to be so different.                                                     Sharon Spencer
having a good time.                                   They went out and left me alone and all I
     If there was one thing I should have         could think was no one wanted us but Doug.
learned it was that I could never afford the      Suddenly the phone rang. It was Doug. “I’m
luxury of letting my guard down. After a          coming to get you, bitch,” he tormented with
while the liquor ran out and without notice       a sick laugh. I knew he was near and he
Doug’s mood changed very suddenly.                knew I had no resources left. I was com-
Without a word he turned and drove his fin-       pletely at his mercy. The phone rang over
gers into my left eye, trying to pull it out. I   and over again as he repeated the same
screamed and the room came alive.                 thing over and over again, the venom in his
Suddenly all the men in the room came to          voice mounting. The panic escalated within
my rescue holding him back and quickly            me with every passing second knowing he
removing him from the house. “What’s wrong        was drawing closer and closer and could
with him?” “I can’t believe he did that.”         crash through the door any second. I had to
“What did she do?” were some of the ques-         do something and I had to do it fast. I bun-
tions they raised. With my hand clutching         dled up the baby and ran as quickly as I
my eye I fell to the floor on my knees as pain    could out the door to a near by neighbor.
and panic ravaged my body and mind .              Here I would be safe. As soon as I got to the
Nothing that had ever happened before had         neighbor’s house the phone rang. “I know
prepared me for this injustice. Your eyes are     where you are, bitch. Did you think you
the window to your soul and one of the most       could get away from me? I’m comin to get
tender and adored organs of the body. The         ya.” he cackled insanely.
violation was overwhelming. However at that           I was trapped. This malicious madman
moment, the only thing that stood out in my       was going to catch up with me and vent all
mind was not the intense pain but the fear I      his stored up fury of the last few days out on
had of removing my hand in case my eye was        me. Desperation drove me out the door to
in my hand. All the women surrounded me           the nearby highway hoping to put as much
now. their horror very evident. Finally I got     distance between us as I could. In my hurry
the courage to take my hand. away from my         to get away I had forgotten the patch on my
eye and, thank God, my eye was still in           eye distorting my vision and balance. Down I
place.                                            went onto the jagged gravel at the side of the
    Debby and George took me in pleading          road, tearing my legs and hand open.

                                                                                                                 Edmonton Street News      Page 7
              This Month's Vendor on the Corner is Phillip Mathison
                                                                          new change of attitude and outlook is all          really turned around in Mathison's favour,
                                                                          because of the generous support from his AA        after discovering the Edmonton Street News
                                                                          support group, where he's made immense             newspaper, when he actually encountered
                                                                          progress in sharing camaraderie with people        Edmonton Street News veteran vendor Victor
                                                                          like himself. Though typically in the case of      Jones selling it on the northeast corner of
                                                                          Mathison, just when he's recovered from one        105 street and Whyte Avenue in Edmonton.
                                                                          tragedy, for every recovery there ironically       The veteran vendor's professionalism in sell-
                                                                          seems to have been another tragedy right           ing the paper influenced Phillip greatly in
                                                                          around the corner. Obviously then, tragedy         getting involved in the process.
                                                                          in his life is no stranger to this tough sur-               Mathison said, "I just happened to be
                                                                          vivor of many bad falls.                           walking along one day and I saw Victor sell-
                                                                                  Just two years ago, Phillip went for a     ing on his corner. I thought if he can do it. I
                                                                          holiday while visiting his father, Andy, in        can do it, too. So I tried it. At first I couldn't
                                              Photo byJohn Zapantis       North Battleford Saskatchewan. After arriv-        believe it that I could do this but I kept doing
                                                                          ing one and a half hours late for their family     it and I'm doing it now."
                                                                          appointed get together, he received the                     Mathison is also grateful for taking
                                                                          shocking news from his parent's home that          some important pointers from the old pro
                                                                          his father was admitted to the hospital after      himself and has excelled immensely in such
                                                                          dying in his sleep.                                a short time all because he took some time
                                                                                    The passing of his father was so dev-    out to listen to Victor Jones. Mathison said,
                                                                          astating to Phillip; he could no longer stand      "He said, 'Just go ahead and think real good
                                                                          the sight of family members mourning this          thoughts.' and I did, and I tried it and it
                                                                          tragic loss, so he immediately headed back to      worked for me.''
                                                                          Edmonton. When he returned to Edmonton,                      With that helpful advice in mind,
     For a once struggling alcoholic, who left                            while feeling the depression of losing his         Mathison confidently applied this knowledge
home at age 17 to live the skid-row lifestyle                             father so suddenly, his legs started to go         and to his amazement, sold a whopping forty
on Winnipeg's mean streets, Phillip Mathison                              numb and he started to feel an excruciating        copies of the paper, earning $2.00 dollars a
is no stranger to the ways of the street and                              pain in his chest area. Not taking any further     copy for a total take of $80.00 dollars that
survival. He's been down that hardened road                               risks in jeopardizing his health or life, he       first day.
many times and has personally had his load                                immediately sought the attention of a doctor            After learning how to go with the flow
of hardships. He's also had success come his                              at the emergency ward of an Edmonton hos-          from his mentor and vending friend Victor
way in many forms, first with marriage while                              pital. The doctor there suggested he rest in       Jones, Phillip Mathison's schooling from the
fathering one child and two step children                                 their care for a five month observation that       old pro finally paid off one day, even in a
from his previous three marriages, while                                  included a battery of medical tests that were      show of tolerance with one particular passer-
once landing a high paying job during the                                 conducted on Phillip to determine what actu-       by. Mathison said, "A gentleman who passed
mid 1970's, transporting new vehicles with a                              ally brought on this attack. When the tests        by my corner the other day told me, 'I don't
huge truck and trailer from one car dealer-                               were completed, Phillip was diagnosed with         buy those papers.' and I said, 'Well that's
ship to another, right across Canada.                                     multiple sclerosis.                                fine sir, if you don't buy them, I won't sell
        As the pressure built, so did his                                     The debilitating disease left him unbal-       them to you then.' and I didn't have anymore
desire for the bottle, spiralling him deeply to                           anced, while struggling to walk properly.          problems after that."
the depths of despair while losing not only                               Currently he depends on a walker that                                                  John Zapantis
his place of employment, but destroying                                   assists him when walking to work and get-
three marriages, all ending in divorce over a                             ting around town. He's also made tremen-
period of 40 years.
        Today Phillip Mathison, age 64, is a
                                                                          dous gains in accepting his struggles with
                                                                          MS, thanks to the generous support he
                                                                                                                              Rob’s Corner from Calgary
changed man, who has gone from a once                                     receives through his support group at the
aggressive, hardcore, drinking alcoholic to a                             Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.
kind-hearted soft-spoken man. That whole                                                                                                                  My Christmas
                                                                                  Recently as of November 9th, life has                                   Wish: that there
                                                                                                                                                          be peace through-

                 Words from a veteran vendor                                                                                                              out the world all
                                                                                                                                                          the time, that
                                                                                                                                                          people will accept
                                                                          ter about myself by giving something back to                                    others for who
                                                                          the public for the money I earned.                                              they really are not
                                                                                  I’ve always been the type of person                                     for how much
                                                                          who believes that the public always comes                                       they own or how
                                                                          first when I’m out working on the street. I                                     they look, that the
                                                                          see panhandlers, drinking alcohol or using                                      year following will
                                                                          drugs and being aggressive towards people                                       be a better one
                                                                          and find it’s very rude and a turn off. I’ve                                    especially for
                                                                          always kept up my hygiene and manners              those struggling or the ones without a home
                                                                          even if I have nothing. Some days I recall         of their own, and that here in Calgary we get
                                                                          being very down and feeling disappointed but       snow for the Christmas season and lots of
                                                                          just a simple talk with someone that would         Chinooks through the winter.
                                                                          walk by and say “Hello!’ and ask me “What’s                Best wishes to all. Merry Christmas,
                                                                          wrong?” helps. I’ve always been the type to        have a great New Year. Thanks to those who
                                                                                                                             continue to support the Edmonton Street
                                                  Photo by Linda Dumont

                                                                          bottle my emotions but over time I learned it
                                                                          was better to talk.                                News. May your spirits be high. May your
                                                                                  I worked selling street papers in          lights be low to save electricity. May you not
                                                                          Edmonton, Calgary, Seatle, Washington (for         go overboard on those credit cards this holi-
                                                                          three months) and in Vancouver where I             day season!
                                                                          started, but now I’m here, back home in                            Christmas tips:
                                                                          Edmonton.                                          be wise this holiday season, put those cards
                                                                                  Today I’m a middle aged man who            away and use cash whenever possible. Shop
                                                                          tries to live a rather easy life style, to help    around, try out some of the discount stores,
     My name is Bill. I’m a veteran vendor.                                                                                  and watch out for impulse spending. Keep
                                                                          out others, and who puts others before me.
I’ve been vending the Edmonton Street News,                                                                                  your gifts under $20 whenever possible. Take
                                                                          My health is so-so. It could be a lot better.
Our Voice, and Spare Change newspapers                                                                                       note of those who have little or nothing this
                                                                          (I’m on medical welfare) but it doesn’t stop
over the past 15 years or so. I’ve enjoyed                                                                                   holiday season while you are out there
                                                                          me from getting out and doing normal things
working with street newspapers and have                                                                                      strolling along in your favourite mall.
                                                                          that everyone else does.
had several good fortunes along the way. A                                                                                                A Year End Message:
                                                                                   Finally, in closing, enjoy the upcom-
gentleman form the Edmonton Sun did a                                                                                        To all those who supported me in these past
                                                                          ing season, especially the public and my reg-
weekender section on me two years ago for                                                                                    years – a big thank you. To all those who
                                                                          ular people that stop to see me. Special
Christmas (2008).                                                                                                            continue to support my efforts - an even big-
                                                                          thanks to Jenny, who runs the store When
        Things were not all roses in my life.                                                                                ger thank you. Thanks for supporting
                                                                          Pig’s Fly on 105 Street and Whyte Avenue,
The reason I started selling papers was when                                                                                 Edmonton Street News. Remember it’s not so
                                                                          across the street from where I can be found
I was in Vancouver and I couldn’t work and                                                                                   important on the outside but what is on the
                                                                          every Saturday in front of Chapters Book
needed some sort of income because my wel-                                                                                   inside that’s really important.
                                                                          Store. God bless all.
fare benefits ran out. Though I was making                                                                                                                    Rob Champion
                                                                                                          Bill Cunningham.
less money through the paper, I felt a lot bet-