Tuesday, 17 October 2017

A problematic story in the Chronicle Herald about a staffer’s transphobic comments causes reporter Rebecca Rose to take an in depth look at the harm they cause and and how to counteract them. She also looks at the significant policy changes that triggered the comments, and how these changes came about. But no matter how good the policy changes and staff training, decarceration and community inclusion remain the best solution, advocates say.

Frequent contributor Alex Kronstein describes how autistic people, as a community, possess a great deal of truth and knowledge that they’ve figured out by themselves and for themselves.  “I know this because I’m autistic myself,” he writes. “Autistic people have plenty of valid knowledge, and we by and large are fed up with non-autistic researchers claiming to have “discovered” this knowledge.”

As the stories of Donna and Leslie show, when you are on social assistance your caseworker makes all the difference. It’s very hard when your caseworker is not there for you, writes long time poverty advocate Brenda Thompson. “Just as caseworkers evaluate their clients on an annual basis, clients also must be permitted to evaluate their caseworkers on a regular  basis on criteria such as as their treatment of the clients, their knowledge of resources, and their willingness to be true advocates and go to bat for their client.”

While municipalities reliably test the quality of water delivered through the utilities they manage, rural residents who rely on wells are on their own, reports new contributor Fazeela Jiwa. Now a new organization, Rural Water Watch Association (RWW), will respond to rural community members’ calls to test their water quality, addressing concerns about living close to toxic sites like landfills or incinerators.

In Nova Scotia, when you apply for social assistance you had better have some money set aside, because this is going to cost you. It’s a logistical nightmare as well. Brenda Thompson takes a close look at all that is required, and she does the math. Remember, people who apply for social assistance tend to be broke. That’s why they are applying….

Video reporter Jodi Brown visits the mother of a terminally ill six-year old son, who was kicked of social assistance and told to repay over $30,000 in payments Community Services claims she should not have received. The mother is denying the allegations and fighting her case in court. Meanwhile the family can’t make ends meet and is facing eviction.

The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls has encountered lots of obstacles, some of them self-inflicted. Here Delilah Saunders, sister of Loretta, explains why she continues to support the initiative. “My family and I will be in Halifax this coming October to testify and if it is delayed, then we’ll have to wait. I welcome delays and hiccups in the process if it means the Inquiry is done right and honours the Indigenous women, girls, two-spirit and transgender loved ones we’ve lost.”