Help me understand


“The programs, services and support offered by the Community Village assist residents to return to a state of independence, personal safety and improved quality of life.”  – St. Albert Community Village website

Three excellent articles in the Saturday, Dec. 31 Gazette on the St. Albert Food Bank and Community Village. But I have to ask – how come over 12 per cent of St. Albert’s population are served by the food bank?

What in the world is happening to this society? We have thousands of people dependent on food banks, homelessness is a major problem yet our employment situation is still wanting for qualified individuals but still we have to import foreign workers for those jobs. And even then we have government programs to train people on upgrading their skills.

I commend the St. Albert Community Village and other agencies for the extensive services they offer – not just to provide food for the needy but also to help their clientele get back on their feet or as the Community Village website says: to ‘assist disadvantaged residents to reach or return to a state of independence, personal safety and improved quality of life and empowerment.’  Homeless shelters as well provide an excellent service to those in need, housing and feeding those who would otherwise be sleeping over a storm sewer grate.

Are these commendable programs offered by these agencies merely band–aids that address what is a major breakdown in our society? What is the basic problem? Why do we have so many people in need? Are we not adequately caring for those with mental health issues?

I’m sure part of the problem is addictions and abuse but are we addressing those problems or just throwing up temporary solutions to mask the basic problem? But what is the ultimate solution? Are these only temporary problems for these individuals? Or do they continue to rely on these hand-outs or are they really hand-ups?

Is the root of the problem in our school system where fundamental arithmetic and budgeting programs are not adequately addressed? Possibly part of our massive personal debt problem could be couched in the fact that young adults receive credit cards in the mail as soon as they turn 18 but they don’t understand the implications of using them prudently.

Is a guaranteed annual income the solution? I don’t know but we certainly have a plethora of government and non-profit society programs to help those out of work, or otherwise in need. Can we abandon them all in favour of a guaranteed annual income? Whatever the problem, society needs to find a permanent solution to this problem.

This is not the Dirty Thirties so what is the basic problem? I don’t have the answers to these problems; I only have questions? Please help me to understand.

Ken Allred is a former St. Albert alderman and MLA.


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Ken Allred