This week’s featured video is Cottonland, a 2006 documentary about recovering addict Eddie Buchanan and the damage the prescription painkiller oxycontin is doing to his friends and neighbors in Glace Bay, Cape Breton. It’s also about the shutting down of the coal mines. And it’s about a bunch of exceptional people, loving parents, funny, with big hearts. They’re also thieves who do or did terrible things.

Some excellent points were made at a well-attended press conference organized by low income people in the North End on the topic of poverty and the municipal election. It fell a bit on deaf ears, though, as just one reporter and one municipal candidate made an appearance.

A 65-year old New Glasgow woman who suffers from severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivities has been ordered to vacate the only house where she can live in relative safety. She has been unable to find an alternative that doesn’t put her health at risk, and desperately wants the Housing Authority to abandon its eviction notice.

Our series “Lives on welfare” continues. Meet Bernice. She cut her power bill, only to see Community Services deduct the savings from her monthly cheque. “What do you do? I am just exhausted, from arguing. I am taking my frustration out on my worker, but she has no control, so she takes the crappy end of it. But if you are so frustrated she is the one you vent too, and I keep apologizing to her, I am sorry, I know it’s not your fault.”

Watch this wonderful documentary by Nova Scotia’s Nance Ackerman, about the exceptional eight-year old Isaiah and his equally remarkable family as they live in poverty in the Annapolis Valley.

Our series ‘Lives on Welfare’ continues. Here Joe, one the most gentle and soft spoken people I know, talks about becoming the target of a verbal attack by a Community Services employee. Being treated disrespectfully by Community Services staff and feeling powerless as a result is another common theme in the stories people on welfare tell.