Bob Jonkman is joined by Dr. Erin Dej, Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminology at Wilfrid Laurier University, Dr. Laura Pin, Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department, also at Wilfrid Laurier University, and Lesley Crompton, who works with the Unsheltered Campaign at the Civic Hub in Waterloo Region. They discuss the impending eviction of the people at the Victoria/Weber encampment, direct aid, government responsibilities, housing policy, and the role of academia.
A community fridge facilitates access to high quality food. It is open 24 hour a day, 7 days a week and available to anyone who needs food at any time. Donations of fresh food or non-perishable items are welcomed.
The Kitchener Market Map
300 King Street East
Cafe Pyrus Outpost Map
120 Roger Street
Dr. Erin Dej explains that what is happening in Waterloo Region with homelessness is happening across the country, and across the world. The Point-In-Time count shows a doubling of homelessness since 2018. Part of that is due to Covid, but there are a variety of factors that contribute.
Dr. Laura Pin introduces herself, and explains how Political Science influence policy action around social issues and homelessness.
Lesley Crompton introduces herself, and the Unsheltered Campaign which has been filling gaps in social services for food, water, sanitary facilities, and shelter. Talking to people with lived experience, and gathering stories. Identifying the “hidden homeless”, people who are not registered with the municipality for the shelter system. Extended families are excluded, but may have some of the same issues. The Point-In-Time count had to be done by the municipality in order to get funding from other levels of government, but contracted the service out to the assistive organizations like Unsheltered Campaign. There are issues dealing with the macro issues because so much attention is focused on the micro issues.
Direct aid provided by eg. Unsheltered Campaign, Going Mobile KW, 519 Community Collective provide food, food ingredients, and food preparation for people who have food insecurity. It is difficult to prepare a variety of meals from supplies from the food banks; it does not provide the recipients with the choice of what to eat. There is no confirmation of need, no means testing; treating people with dignity. Are people satisfied, well-nourished? It’s difficult to say. Is this Canada’s “Social Safety Net”? Aid agencies need a “Billing For Filling” initiative, billing the state for filling the gap. This goes back to social policy, social assistance for people who have disabilities or are unemployed; the rates are not enough for people to afford shelter and food. The single rate for Ontario Works (OW) is $750/month; the Ontario Disability Support Program is about $1150/month. These are not livable, humane rates.
At the Waterloo Region Council Meeting on Tuesday, 7 June 2022, there was a call for additional funding from higher levels of government. Housing requires intergovernmental relations and multiple levels of government to manage. But at the regional level there are lots of things that can be done, eg. a regional encampment protocol. While there is a need for additional funding, it’s not an excuse for making use of the powers the regional government has for taking action. Beyond food, there are other issues that require support. Shelter support for families in motels are the same facilities used for people displaced from encampments, but this does not work for many people. Waterloo Region contracts out these services to aid agencies. Lesley Crompton says we need an Auditor General to ensure that there is more public accountability and transparency between the Region and its service providers to ensure they’re doing what we think they’re supposed to be doing — Lesley doesn’t think they are.
There are upwards of 50 people living at the Victoria and Weber encampment. Regional Council seemed sympathetic, but not motivated to help. Premier Doug Ford has said that for people in this situation just need to get a job. But Dr. Dej says that lots of people in this situation have a job! They’re working, but it’s not enough to pay the rent. For those without work, it is difficult to get a job. How do people without a job get a bus pass to find work? How do they get equipment like steel-toed boots needed to get a job? How can people try to get a job when they’re in an encampment, likely sleep deprived from being in the same area with 50 other people, concerned for their safety, and unable to get good rest from sleeping on the ground. And even when people on social assistance do get work, their earnings are clawed back at %50, an effective tax rate much higher than anyone else has to pay. The provincial government is cutting its sources of revenue (license plate renewal), federal government isn’t pursuing foreign holdings tax which could be used to invest in affordable housing and social housing. Dr. Pin says that at the local government level, a vacant home tax or foreign ownership tax could raise revenues for social programs. People are working part-time, employers cutting hours to minimize benefits. But even people working full-time at minimum wage earn only about $2000/month before deductions, yet rents are around $1600/month. If we took an approach of housing as a human right it shouldn’t matter whether people work full-time, part-time, if they need child care, or if people have a disability and can’t work — people still have a right to decent and affordable housing. The Region of Waterloo’s housing policy has put forward a human rights approach to housing; the federal government in its national housing strategy has also put forth a human rights approach to housing. But how can we make this a lived experience for people experiencing homelessness? Yet the Region of Waterloo Council has not advanced this into a formal motion.
International Human Rights declaration indicate that people are not to be evicted from their housing, or even encampments. What legal ramifications are there for municipalities that break the International Human Rights declaration? Dr. Dej says that federally this has already been adopted. Yet municipalities don’t follow it. Instead, municipalities are adopting a criminalizatin of homelessness, and even a militarization of the efforts to evict people from encampments. We do have a national protocol for homeless encampments in Canada to follow for removing people from encampments developed by the former UN Rapporteur on Housing, Lailani Farha and Dr. Kaitlin Schwan that tells municipalities how to do it within our international human rights obligations. Recognize that people don’t want to live in encampments, they want to be housed. The challenge is that following this protocol takes time, but people want quick fixes. Yet removing encampments is not that quick fix people are looking for, it’s not going to end homelessness.
Lesley Crompton points out that people need more than just housing: They need wrap-around services such as cooking instruction, a social structure, mental health issues that need to be addressed. Some shelters have zero-tolerance for violence. But what is violence? Someone speaking exteremely loudly may be considered violent, and get evicted. At motels used for housing, the staff are not able to deal with mental health issues. People need on-going supports, but some municipal housing staff think that merely providing housing is enough. What can academics do to influence the outcome of the pending eviction? Dr. Pin recognizes her privilege; people from the region connect with her in ways that they don’t connect with people on the ground. The 30 June deadline for evicting people from the Victoria and Weber encampment is artificial, the site is not needed for construction until the fall. Dr. Pin suggests we push back against that deadline to give people more time to discuss with decision makers as to what they need. Dr. Dej suggests that we push as hard as we can to make sure that the voices of the people in the encampments are the ones that are heard. She has received criticism about the Point-In-Time counts and other academic pursuits, that money spent on academic studies would be better spent on housing directly. But there is a lot of power in that data, it can convince people in ways that people might be convinced otherwise. For example, Dr. Dej has researched, rigorous data that supports Lesley’s statements on the need for ongoing services. Use this as clout to amplify the voices of people on the ground.
How does this get to the politicians who make the decisions? Dr. Pin has been inviting councillors and staff into the Unsheltered Campaign meetings to hear what community organizations have to say on the issue. Dr. Pin’s graduate seminar prepared a report on comparative encampment protocols from a human rights perspective to provide the Region with data on how difference cities have put forward protocols to manage encampments, and providing some analysis to determine which protocols are more consistent with a human rights approach. Building relationships and capacity at the Regional level to do that kind of analysis. What can ordinary citizens do? Lesley Crompton says to take time to understand, to talk to people at the encampments, to talk to people who have been working for the people at encampments. The Region’s capacity of outreach staff is very limited, and does not give enough time to spend with the individuals at the encampments. Get involved, so you can then speak to the Region. This is an election year, and while there are no Regional or City councillors on the same page as Premier Ford, it is time for a change. CARE (Coalition Against Removing Encampments) is a grassroots organization that looks at other social justice issues, a coalition of other organizations. Dr. Pin mentions the Social Development Centre and the Civic Hub WR for people who are interested in connecting in a immediate way. Challenge the stigma that’s presented to the people experiencing unsheltered homelessness, recognize that the people in encampments are our neighbours and community members.
Bob thanks the guests, gives the credits for CKMS Community Connections, and introduces Dreamer by Rose Brokenshire.
It’s time for a $20 minimum wage, decent work, affordable housing, paid sick days, well-funded public services, livable income support for all, climate justice, and an end to racism and oppression. Join us!
Jorts The Cat
Jorts The Cat gets a mention at 17m00s in the podcast.
You may remember our show from 10 May 2021 with Peter Snow from The Soviet Influence, a politically active, indie rock band from southern Ontario. Peter spoke of a live, online event in August for prisoner justice.
The Soviet Influence have partnered up with the Toronto Prisoner Rights Project and produced a compilation record and streamed show this past weekend to raise funds and awareness of this cause. CKMS Community Connections is re-broadcasting that show, recorded by our sister campus radio station from Guelph University, CFRU-FM. It features performances from The Soviet Influence, Friday Empire, Skye Wallace, and Joni Void, along with interviews and information about the project.
The Toronto Prisoner’s Rights Project (TPRP) is a volunteer organization of former prisoners, people with loved ones inside, front-line workers, artists, researchers, educators and students. They engage in direct action, public education, and mutual aid to shed light on the harms caused by incarceration and connect prisoners with social, financial, legal and health supports. They’re committed to abolition and building sustainable communities rooted in community care, transformative justice, and accountability.
Tomorrow, Tuesday 10 August 2021 is Prisoner Justice Day. Please join the memorial at the Church of the Holy Trinity, in Trinity Square tucked between the Eatons Centre and the Marriott Downtown. Between 5pm and 8pm there will be a vigil in solidarity with those who have died while incarcerated as well as to show support for prisoners’ rights. Former prisoners and their loved ones will share their stories and truths. There will be activities, music, performances, food, swag and more! Folks are encouraged to show up to demonstrate solidarity with prisoners and those impacted by incarceration. No one is free until we are all free.
You can support the Toronto Prisoner Rights Project at https://www.torontoprisonersrightsproject.org/get-involved-and-support All proceeds go to mutual aid projects including the Prisoner Emergency Support Fund, Jail Hotline, and Good Food Boxes, and support our direct action advocacy work (through digital organizing tools and protest supplies). Supporters can contribute a monthly donation on Patreon that includes exclusive TPRP merchandise as a thank-you.
Or you can make a one-time donation to the Prisoner Emergency Support Fund, started by the Criminalization and Punishment Education Project and the Toronto Prisoners’’ Rights Project. It’s a team of volunteers that are organizing to support prisoners, who believe that people need access to community support and not human cages. The fund was originally launched as a response to the pandemic. Given the clear gaps in care that have been revealed by the volume of applications, they are continuing to raise funds so long as there are needs to be met. This fund is intended for people inside prisons and jails and recently released prisoners. People behind bars often need support to contact their loved ones or purchase essential items on their canteen. Recently released prisoners need access to funds for housing, food, clothing, and physical and mental health supports. Families who still have loved ones behind bars need funds for expensive phone bills and canteens.
And you can download the Toronto Prisonsers Rights Project Compilation EP by Musicians For Mutual Aid. The record features new music from The Soviet Influence along with tracks from Skye Wallace, The Burning Hell, Sean Bertram, Friday Empire, Davita Guslits, Joni Void + Jerry Quickley, and Kayla Hagerty.
Theme for CKMS Community Connections (by Steve Todd)
Plant The Bombs
There’s been a pandemic! But The Soviet Influence has still released two albums in 2021; the progression to becoming a more outspoken band; people like music with a message, The Soviet Influence is not a band to write romantic love songs; appearing on the 1492 Land Back Lane Mixtape; learning about Indigenous issues; introducing These Chains on that album; ; introducing Two Weeks.
Oh Not Tonight
Explaining the meaning of Oh Not Tonight; mixing albums when you can’t go into the studio; introducing the band: Peter Snow, lead vocals and guitar, Peter Morey on bass, Blake Morey drummer, Ty Mackenzie on guitar; a plug for Dave Partridge of HELM Recording; making a video in the home studio, making a home studio from a shed; writing a song ‘cos you need an encore; introducing Two Weeks, a song about Indigenous issues; explaining the album title This Band Is So God.
Doing some live online shows, paid video gigs; August compilation album for the Toronto Prisoner Rights Project; covering the social justice projects that need support, album proceeds go to these organizations. Bob and Jeff make a pitch for the Radio Waterloo Spring 2021 Fundraising Drive; explaining the Community at the Radio Station, is there a similar community amongst musicians? Peter says Yes, there is, but no formal organization of “social justice bands”. Yet.
Oh Not Tonight
Oh Not Tonight has played on commercial radio, that was unexpected! If you have music, submit it at firstname.lastname@example.org, please excuse our delays in replying. Peter talks about upcoming songs, recordings, and live online events; talking about prison abolition; introducing The Guns of Brixton, originally by The Clash.
The Guns of Brixton, and Bob gives the end credits.
CKMS Community Connections Hour One airs on CKMS-FM 102.7 on Monday from 11:00am to Noon, and Hour Two airs on Saturday from 1:00pm to 2:00pm.
Since the studio remains closed we’re playing more new Canadian Content and KW Content music today, and a few tracks released last year too. The definition of “KW Content” broadens yet again — while the group Your New False Gods hails from Scotland, lead singer Kevin Combe has family in Kitchener, and that makes them our neighbours from a different country. Right?
The studio remains closed due to the Covid lockdown, and so Chelsey Danfield wasn’t able to come in. She’s been invited back for a Live, On-Air, In-studio performance as soon as everything is back to normal, but the best we can do today is play some tracks from her last album, At The Time.
Because of Covid we’re still not having any guests in the studio, and this week’s there are no phone interviews either, so it’s another show packed full of new Canadian Content music.
There are new tracks from Kingston’s Willy Nilly, JC Townsend, station favourites The Soviet Influence, local Cambridge group Shy Harry, and from Storry, whom we hope to have on the phone for an interview in the next few weeks.
But if you’ll indulge me for a few minutes, we’ll end the show with a bit of comparative musicology. I’d heard about the Vocaloid musical voice synthesizer before, but finally found something worthy of radio airtime when I read Vocaloids: Our Friends Electric by Mariana Timony writing for Bandcamp Daily. In the last 10 minutes of the show you’ll hear Offend In Every Way played by Beam Morrison using a Vocaloid synthesizer, followed by the original by The White Stripes, and finishing off with a bit of, um, old-fashioned synth music. Not new, and not CanCon, but this week that’s what caught my ear.
Coming soon! Exclusive tracks recorded in the CKMS-FM 102.7 Radio Waterloo Studio
00m35s: The Soviet Influence — Rust, a Live, On-Air, In-Studio Performance!
04m51s: Peter Snow and Peter Morey talk about their origins, the band, older albums, recent gigs, performing at Emmanuel United Church, connecting with bands, electric guitar vs. acoustic guitar.
13m20s: The Soviet Influence — Secret Spaces, In-Studio
16m10s: The Soviet Influence — Secret Spaces from The Price Of Vigilence album
19m23s: The history of Secret Spaces, social justice, mixing albums, the sound of The Soviet Influence, how composing happens, creating music on-the-fly.
24m26s: The Soviet Influence — The Long Dark Hallway, In-Studio
27m30s: Naming the song, improv influences, creativity, music theory, collaborating with the band, explaining This Is The News.
35m19s: The Soviet Influence — This Is The News, In-Studio
38m04s: Origins of the name The Soviet Influence, naming The Price Of Vigilence and creating the album cover, merchandising (T-shirts!), music and Peter’s kids, the story of Sutures.
48m45s: The Soviet Influence — Sutures, In-Studio.
53m07s: The different vibe of Sutures, finding a genre for The Soviet Influence, how listening to music influences writing, recapping the gig at Emmanuel United Church, summer gig at the Acton Leathertown Festival.
58m12s: The Soviet Influence — Two Weeks, In-Studio
CKMS Community Connections Hour One airs on CKMS-FM 102.7 on Monday from 11:00am to Noon, and Hour Two airs on Friday from 2:00pm to 3:00pm.
Tamara Lorincz talks about peace, nonviolence, the arms trade, militarization, Canada’s interference in international affairs, the military’s excessive additions to Canada’s carbon footprint, and lists the many events, rallies, and protests coming up in Waterloo Region.
5m19s: Tamara Lorincz talks about Martin Luther King Jr. and the film showing MLK: A Call To Conscience, Canada’s military interference in other countries and domestically, extractive imperialism, the need for peaceful foreign policy, the climate crisis and military GHG emissions, the Peace With Iran rally
Bob Jonkman chats with Caterina Lindman from Rise4ClimateWR. We discuss local climate action, Indigenous climate action on unceded Wet’suwet’en lands in British Columbia, and upcoming climate events in Waterloo Region.
What: Film and Potluck about the Wet’suwet’en struggle in British Columbia When: Tonight, Monday 13 January 2020 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm Where: Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre, St. Paul’s Unversity College Location: 190 Westmount Road North, Waterloo, Ontario Facebook: Wet’suwet’en Solidarity Event: Filmscreening and Potluck
25m16s: Talking about the Wet’suwet’en blockade, film and potluck at St. Paul’s University College, Fridays4Future climate strike at THEMUSEUM, the ALARM exhibit, Angela Carter’s lecture. Caterina’s involvement many organizations, finding plant-based foods.