We’re entering the final month of summer, which I am very excited about because the cold seasons are my favourite.
Last month, we introduced comics by Hayley Sheppard which chronicle some of the smaller beauties of our region. Where in July we followed a bird on its journey through Kitchener, we are celebrating local farm Lucky Bug Mini Farms in this edition.
Our contributors, readers and focus are all hyper-local. At TCE, our work is a celebration of our region and our community.
However, as much as I enjoy our work and making connections, as much as I look forward to the fall and winter, it is difficult to be completely excited.
In late July, I was able to attend a community picnic held by Fight Back WR, which will be covered online. Seeing residents struggling to fulfill basic needs was shocking, but not surprising.
One story shared at the event was that of a resident at the 100 Victoria St. encampment. This unnamed resident was a pensioner who was not marginalized other than for his age and the fact that he is unhoused.
He recognized that, other than being unhoused, he was among the more privileges in the encampment.
Despite having worked a job and contributed to society in ways that this society expected from him, he is still in a situation where he cannot afford any housing.
It is very jarring to realize that even when someone makes all the “right” choices, they can still end up in a situation where they cannot afford to live in their own space. There is something clearly very wrong with how we’re working in our society.
I also was able to attend the Stop the Sprawl rally, which you can read about on page 5. The ways that the provincial government is overruling municipal governments is shocking.
Municipal government is where people have the most direct ability to voice their concerns and opinions; it is the level which has the most direct impact on residents’ everyday lives. In overruling the work that our council and government have done, the province is encroaching on the democratic rights each of us holds.
I’m not entirely sure how we can make this better. It feels like no matter what we do, the province can swoop in and do whatever they want. It seems the people that work in the government who their best to provide evidence for decision-making are simply disregarded.
No matter how thorough the work and how good the quality of evidence, the people that have the final say will bulldoze right over all of that to make whatever decision they feel makes the most sense to them.
On the one hand, it feels like politics are taking far more precedence than anything else. On the other, this is an example of how politics play a very important role in our communities.
While all of this is very disheartening, it was encouraging to see the fighting spirit of our community members. As Acer Bonaparte told me at the Stop the Sprawl rally, continuing to show up, to protest, to have your voice heard is also vital to maintaining hope.
It’s people like Sarah Siembida, who defended Julian Ichim’s right to access medication and Ichim, who is on hunger strike for Siembida, that bring me hope.
Along with celebrating this region and recognizing where we can do better, I have learned to also appreciate the people that continue to be hopeful even in the face of overwhelming adversity.