Monday, November 29, 2010

I never want to see the word Aboriginal again. ... Fuuuuu!.

I realize how incohesive and strange this might seem. It's for class. Just ignore it if you wish.

I originally started this project because I was interested to find out more about our Aboriginal population and I'd heard some rumors about unhygienic water supplies. What I found shocked me. Let me show you a piece of it.

In Canada, the population of Aboriginals is estimated at 1.2 million. The total population of Canada itself is about 33.3 million- this makes the Aboriginal population only 3.4% of our total population. For comparison - the Polish population is about 3.2, and the Chinese population is about 4.3%. The "ab" from "Aboriginal" is an abbreviation for "absolute".

And yet, despite this relatively low percent of our population, the statistics regarding Aboriginals are amazingly high in the bad sense, as you will see. Usually we view Canada as an extremely developed nation, but we have a third-world country lurking within our borders and in our past. I see your hand compulsively touching your iPhone. That's right... Feel bad. Just kidding.

So, 4% of all legal adults in Canada are Aboriginal. And yet, 24% of admissions to provincial/territorial sentenced custody, 18% of admissions to federal prisons, 19% of admissions to remand, 21% of TOTAL male prisoner population and 30% of female TOTAL prisoner population are Aboriginal!

Canada's overall suicide rate is about 14 people per 100,000. The rate among aboriginal youth is 108 per 100,000 (over 6 times higher!) For adult males, about 56.3/100,000, and females 11.8/100,000.
60% of all Aboriginals who commit suicide are acutely intoxicated at the time. This compares to 24% for non-Aboriginal suicides.

Why is this? Why does the Aboriginal population have to turn to such drastic measures such as crime or suicide?

Let me give you some more cold hard facts to help you see what's going on and see how they stack up.
1. The unemployment rate for Native Canadians (as of March 2005) is 13.6 percent compared to the non-Native 5.3 percent. (off Reserve only)
2. 45% of all status Indians living on reserve are illiterate.
3. On the Human Development Index created by the United Nations, the First Nations ranks 63rd. The rest of Canada ranks 8th.
4. Diabetes rates are three times the national average.
5. Aboriginal peoples represent 16% of new HIV
6. 12% of First Nations communities had to boil their
drinking water, and 6% houses on-reserve
are without sewage service.
7. In 2006, the median income for Aboriginal peoples was $18,962 – 30 per cent lower than the $27,097 median income for the rest of Canadians. (2006)
Obviously now you are exposed to some of the issues going on with the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. Why is this happening? It is not quite clear. The Canadian government only formally apologized for the residential school situation in 2008. These schools made children become ashamed of their Native heritage (away from home for 10 months of the year), and as well they were not raised with the necessary skills and fell behind - they could not assimilate totally, nor could they feel comfortable at the reserve. The negative quality of life in and out of reserves leads to depression, recklessness, etc.
There also seems to be a serious disparity between trying to preserve traditional culture and survive in society. Traditional culture often dictates traveling lifestyles, hunting, fishing, living off the land, etc- when the land has been taken over and is being industrialized this is near impossible. The native community wishes to preserve their traditions and culture but still gain stability (but not assimilation!)
Unfortunately solutions are not that simple in this situation. Higher education would help with the unemployment rates and lower salaries, but choice assimilation is not necessarily the best option. What we can do is offer native-based community services, cultural awareness programs, youth programs, encourage self-confidence. We can support marketable skills that are related to Native tradition. As well, we can improve the living conditions on reserves to supply adequate housing, water, and sewage systems at the least. As well, we can do the basics for individuals - provide good role models, strong support networks, etc. We can find a way to integrate the native community into ours while still preserving and supporting their culture.

Aboriginal Fact Sheet – Just to jog your mind a bit. Collected by Maus C

  • Canada's population: 33,739,900
  • Canada's Aboriginal Population: 1,172,790 (2006)
  • Percent of legal Canadian Aboriginal adults: 4%
  • Percent of admission to provincial/territorial sentenced custody that are Aboriginal: 24%
  • Percent of total incarcerated population that is Aboriginal and male: 21% and female: 30%

  • Canada's suicide rate: 14/100,000
  • Canada's Aboriginal suicide rate: 108/100,000(youth), 56.3/100,000(adult males), 11.8/100,000(adult fem ales).
  • Percent that are acutely intoxicated at the time: 60% (vs 24% for non Aboriginal)

  • Percent of Aboriginal persons unemployed (as of March 2005): 13.6% (vs 5.3 for non Aboriginal)
  • Percent of Aboriginals living on reserve that are “illiterate”: 45%
  • On the Human Development Index created by the United Nations, the First Nations ranks 63rd. The rest of Canada ranks 8th.

  • Diabetes rates are three times the national average.
  • Percent of Aboriginal peoples that represent new HIV case: 16%
  • Percent of Aboriginals that had to boil their drinking water on reserve:12%
  • Percent of Aboriginals without sewage serves on reserve: 6%
  • Percent lower and Aboriginal person will make than a non Aboriginal: 30%

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A few things.

I'm collecting resources for my ISU project. In the paper happened upon this-

"The restaurant, located at 1322 Queen St. W., is run by the Capuchin Outreach to the Poor, a ministry of the Capuchin Franciscan Friars.
People line up outside for a chance to sit at one of the 10 tables and sample a hearty meal for a $1 donation. Afterward, they can talk over coffee or tea in the lounge area."
"In the next two weeks, a milestone will be reached at St. Francis Table, which has been feeding people for 23 years in Parkdale.
They will serve their one millionth meal.
But this is no cause for celebration, Brother John Frampton says. It will be marked as a solemn occasion, without fanfare."
I just thought it was an interesting way to look at it. Also, it seems like a really good place to go and get cheap eats. I'm pretty excited for this zine. Maybe it will be something I review and remake every year (though next year I might potentially be in Montreal, so perhaps I could do one for there?).

Last week at my volunteering at the soup kitchen (or whatever you wanna call it), I got to go outside with the coordinator, and talk to everyone before the meal and tell them what was for supper. It feels a little strange, in the way that I feel like they feel like I feel like I am better than them. I suppose it's just the way they look at me. Hopefully they will understand in time like they have with Alison, who is just an amazing person. I don't think I feel better than them. Mostly I just want to observe? Man, this blog seems a lot about justifying the fact that I want to help people. I should reflect on that. Maybe it's me, but it also seems that wanting to help people in this way is a bad thing in our society. I hate when I  tell people what I want to do (social worker) and they say "Oh, that's so good!". It makes me feel... angry, for some reason. I just want to say "shup up. I don't want your validation." I guess it's because I don't want to be doing it because I want validation. It is valid in itself. It also seems people feed off of it- like, just by saying "you're such a good person!" they feel like a better person. Sometimes I feel like I'm really not such a good person. When I volunteer, and people tell me I'm a good person, I feel like a really bad, selfish person. I definitely want to continue in this field, but I want to not be a frontlines helper forever. It's fun, interesting, difficult, but, interestingly, it has a lot of stigma attached to it. It's interesting to find who I am in relation to this field of work.
Sorry for anyone who reads this blog. Understand that it is kind of steam of consciousness to help me figure things out, and for me to store information about my project.  For some reason I don't mind the nice comments here as much as I do irl. Perhaps it's because it feels more like feedback, you are anonymous (mostly), so you can say what you want. I'm not sure how I really want people to respond when I tell them what I'm doing. I guess the validation is okay to a degree... hm... What do you think I want? 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I got gay-bashed...

Started volunteering at "Lawyers Feeding the Hungry". We give a free meal to 500 hungry people coming from all sorts of places. In, eat, out, next. It's kind of cool, gives people a chance to sit and eat a good meal with dessert, soup, free coffee, tea, etc. I'm excited to work on my project- I'm going to include a list of places to get free meals in Toronto every single day of the week, at least one meal a day.

Some guy getting a meal called me "douchebag" the other day. I was impressed with myself when it didn't phase me. He needed an outlet for his inner struggle. If it happened to be me, and I won't take it hard, so be it.

Sort of reminds me of when I got gay-bashed last year by a crazy woman. She came up and slapped me and my partner in the face in the middle of a public park, at ten in the morning on a Sunday. She told us that we were the reason that women get beaten. Sigh. I was just glad it was me and not someone who it could've seriously hurt emotionally, as well as physically. To be honest, it was a kind of enlightening experience and I'm glad it happened. I'm also glad it only happened once and that I live in a country where holding hands with my lover, whatever our genders, is not illegal.

I can only do what I do because I have amazing support. Hopefully I can help provide this same support to others.

I don't mean to sound preachy... I like doing good things, it makes me feel good. This is a positive feedback loop, why do some people get so worked up over it?


Friday, October 22, 2010

Col. Russell Williams

We get The Toronto Star. I hardly read the paper because it makes me angry easily. It usually contains nothing that interesting. Mostly, I read the comics and check headlines. There's a lot of news about this guy who raped and murdered two women, and he is an Colonel in the army. He also robbed numerous homes, molested others, and stole lingerie. Okay.

Yesterdays headlines:


First thought: Fucking sensationalits.

Reading the article honestly made me feel sick. Not because of what he did (though it was undeniably horrible), but the way it was written about. A big picture of him in lingerie on the front page. What exactly is the point of this? 

"You want to survive this, don't you?” he says to her softly."
Fucking sadistic newspaper freaks. I don't mind consentual rape fantasy, I enjoy it in fact, but these are some sadistic motherfuckers. The article writer is basically getting off on the rape and murder of some poor woman.
Oh, the places he’s seen! In prison, the loss of his souvenirs will bother him most of all.
Woman, I implore you to spend some time in prison. Heaven knows I haven't, but I can imagine that the first thing on my mind might be spiraling depression, regret, or PERHAPS contempt, but she makes it sound so... ... I don't know.
Yet he is evil incarnate.
Hitler, MAYBE, was evil incarnate. This man, though he took a very exremely precious lives and like to cross dress, and had issues, was not 'evil incarnate'. Just the power of those words. So fucking brutal. Is it wrong that I identify more with a murderer than the author?

He liked looking at himself in the mirror, but he never smiled to show pleasure, maintaining a rigid military decorum even while looking the perfect prat, a great big man in the pink sun dress of a little girl. Seriously. You should see the photos he took of himself in his own kitchen, like a huge dog in a frock. A leaf print. Strapless.

Here’s proof of how gentle and good most people are. Nobody laughed out loud. It would have humiliated Williams beyond belief. But it would have hurt the families and so no one did it.
>mfw she is suggesting he should be humiliated. aksjfsdg.

Haven't even read this one until now.
Men should weep.

They bruise women’s bodies, they humiliate us in the House of Commons, they expend great effort in keeping us pregnant, booting us away from the bigger salaries, they are tireless in their attempts at control and resent our efforts to advance. Frequently, they kill women. Russell Williams is a monster but there will be other monsters in the years to come.

We know this to be true. I am a feminist but all women know what I mean because they live it every day.
I really hate when people attack males and generalise. Imagine she took that and replaced it with "women". Or "gays".
>Russel Williams is a man
>Russel Williams raped and killed 
>therefor, all men rape and kill women and should suffer for it

Anyway: To the main point. My dad quoted the bolded part for me, saying he liked it, and I had to stop eating and almost started to cry.

As sickened as we were by Williams’ bored monotone on the subject of penetration, suffocation and strangulation, there was a comfort knowing that he walked into that small interrogation room puffed up and grinning like a big ole colonel and left like someone who’d been exiled from the human race

I found this... so... sad. SO sad. He may be a horrible person but I don't think ANYONE deserves to be 'exiled from the human race'. This man is just as human as any of us, however ashamed of that we are, however much we would like to believe the opposite. It is not POSSIBLE for a human to be inhuman. People who kill people have problems. No doubt. Serious problems. Either actual brain problems or seriously horrible life experiences. Reading "Becoming Human" (though I'm only around 20 pages in) is already enlightening. This poor man was probably never loved. His father probably beat him and called him a faggot and then vanished or something. His mother probably had issues and couldn't help him as much as he needed. *wikis* His parents divorced when he was six. When he was 16 his parents moved to South Korea and he was raised in a boarding school and was a prefect.
He probably went thought a lot of  damn shit in his live and repressed a lot. His father left and he lived alone when he was 16. He had to be a man. Then a prefect. Then he was in the army. He never had the love. The caring. In the Army, especially 30 years ago- homosexuality is a sin. Like, he is horrible, aweful but he is still human, do you understand? 
He has a double life sentence. What's the point even, why not just kill him? I guess they want, as my dad pointed out, for him to be an example for others with homicidal ideas. And the sadistic pleasure for everyone else as they watch him rot for the rest of his life. He's already tried to kill himself once in jail.

Exiled from the human race.
Like, fuck.

The corporate-style “apology” Col. Russell Williams fabricated and offered to his victims’ families in open court yesterday was his final insult, the last chunk of evidence of his pure psychosis, as if we needed more.

Here’s a sample. “I know that the crimes I committed have traumatized many people. The family and friends of Marie-France Comeau and Jessica Lloyd in particular have suffered and continue to suffer profound desperate pain and sorrow as a result of what I’ve done.”

Let’s analyze his corporate-style phrasing. “Traumatize”? Williams’ crimes didn’t traumatize the families. He killed their daughters. The families are finished off. They said so to his face in their victim impact statements. As for “family and friends,” that’s a phrase you use in a Christmas newsletter. “As a result of what I’ve done” is what you say when the barbecue explodes at the lake because you bought a discount propane tank.

In his version, his “assaults” caused his rape victims to “suffer terribly” and the families whose little daughters’ panties were draped over his face were “seriously distressed.”

No. They were scared out of their wits and sickened to the depths of their souls

When Williams was left alone to write letters to his victims, he wrote three brief sentences to his wife, the last of which was “I know you’ll take care of sweet Rosie.”

He was talking about his cat.

“Your Honour,” he began, and then came a long pause. Such extended pauses were a big feature of his 10-1/2 hour initial talk with his artfully helpful police interrogator Jim Smyth, and they were just as effective this time before a real judge and some informal citizen judges, i.e., not very.

But I’d say that a statement about the “stark horror” of yourself, as the judge later referred to it, is a social situation that is actually less awkward than making a speech at a family wedding. It’s perfectly apparent what you’re supposed to say.

You’re supposed to explain why you did what you did.

Williams has always been taciturn. It isn’t in his nature to expound or analyze, and it’s one reason he was an odd choice as colonel at the Trenton base. Maybe the military doesn’t do affable, and thus this awkward man with no chat or grasp of the appropriate thing to say to other humans was considered promotion material.

But if you were able to say it, you wouldn’t be a pedophilic, emotionless serial killer, which he is, which is why his tears were not for his victims but for himself. Williams was indeed terribly sorry, but only that he got caught.

I don't know the man obviously, but I don't think you can do this, with all the evidence he kept, with everything, without expecting to get caught. I think part of him was looking forward to it, when he WAS caught he revealed everything right away. Maybe he was put down a lot as a kid, grew up to be cold and repressed, and had to express himself in a way in order to get attention- so maybe someone might tell him he was bad, treat him how he felt inside. Maybe he didn't feel anything as all. It is quite possible.

It's just so fucking sad. I don't know. I guess I was just talking about it with my dad too much- who has very little empathy- who was saying that he is not human, he is "inhuman".

I think this man is VERY human. Frighteningly so. Sex was not originally a loving act. It is the fact that this is so human that scares us.

Let us destroy what we are afraid of.
That is what is human.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I have to write about a country for my World Issues class, and since I am going to Costa Rica in December I figure it should research it a bit :)

Size:  total: 51,100 sq km
country comparison to the world: 129
four volcanoes, two of them active, rise near the capital of San Jose in the center of the country; one of the volcanoes, Irazu, erupted destructively in 1963-65

Population: 4,253,877 (July 2010 est.)
0-14 years: 26.7% (male 581,916/female 555,216)
15-64 years: 67.1% (male 1,443,606/female 1,411,168)
65 years and over: 6.2% (male 120,969/female 141,002) (2010 est.)

Median age:
total: 28.4 years
male: 27.9 years
female: 28.9 years (2010 est.)

Average lifespan:
Total population: 77.58 years
male: 74.96 years
female: 80.34 years (2010 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$29.32 billion (2009 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$10,900 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98
$11,200 (2008 est.)
$11,100 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$48.51 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90
$49.25 billion (2008 est.)
$48 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

Labor force:

2.121 million
country comparison to the world: 117
note: this official estimate excludes Nicaraguans living in Costa Rica (2009 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 14%
industry: 22%
services: 64% (2006 est.)

Unemployment rate:

7.8% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80
4.9% (2008 est.)

Population below poverty line:

16% (2006 est.)

Costa Rican colones (CRC) per US dollar - 580.01 (2009)

Literacy rate:

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94.9%
male: 94.7%
female: 95.1% (2000 census)


transshipment country for cocaine and heroin from South America; illicit production of cannabis in remote areas; domestic cocaine consumption, particularly crack cocaine, is rising; significant consumption of amphetamines; seizures of smuggled cash in Costa Rica and at the main border crossing to enter Costa Rica from Nicaragua have risen in recent years (2008)

refugees (country of origin): 9,699-11,500 (Colombia) (2007)


Costa Rica has a good climate, and is prime for natural exports, such as tropical fruits (bananas, pineapples, coffee, sugar, seafood, etc). As well, they have a high literacy rate, with 94.9% of the population at literacy. The average life span is fairly high, at 77.58 years. The prevalence of AIDs is the same as it is in Canada- 0.4%. As well, the unemployment rate is fairly low- 7.8% (Canada is 8.3%). The standard of living is high, and the beautiful country attracts a great tourism industry. 

Costa Rica has  9,699-11,500 Columbian refugees. As well, they have quite a high infant mortality rate at 8.77 deaths/1,000 live births. As well, they have issues with illicit drugs, especially crack cocaine.


To talk about the future of Costa Rica, we have to consider what they value. In their flag,  the blue color is said to stand for the sky, opportunity, and perseverence, white denotes peace, happiness, and wisdom, while red represents the blood shed for freedom, as well as the generosity and vibrancy of the people. Using these as a guideline, we can see the direction they wish to head. Perhaps in the future, they will develop more medical technologies (as that is prevalent in their exports as well). Also, hopefully they will be able to get their infant mortality rate down and help people live longer, healthier lives. Also, in the future they could focus on harm reduction for the crack cocaine, which may actually help with the infant mortality rates.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

False (Dumpster-Diving) Heaven

Edit: (Un)Fuck the System.

It was my second day with Second Harvest today, and probably my last. I'll have to think about it...

At the beginning of my shift, one of the guys who worked there asked me to sweep the floor, and then move onto todays 'project'- a giant stackful of fresh slightly bad fruits and vegetables to be thrown in the compost. GIANT. Probably enough to feed 500 people a meal. I saw that some of the stuff was not so bad, so I asked him if I could take some, and (I think) he said sure.

Happy as day, I swept entire warehouse floor, and sorted through all kind of disgusting shit, I almost puked... It was so gross. And, today I was the only volunteer (though I'd been promised there'd be 5-6 others). Rotten, sticky, wet mushrooms. Moldy corn. Nearly-mush fruits. Blackened peppers... But somehow I managed to survive, and pick out a grocery bag's assortment of completely random fruits and vegetables- a couple peppers, a few apples, some dates, a peach... I was really excited to take some back to my friend's community house and feed some of the more bruised stuff to my rat (yes, Kai'enne, it's a metaphor). Such a reward. I felt like I was in dumpster-diving heaven... Allowed to sort through the stuff before it even reached the dumpster. I didn't have time to sort through all the stuff he left for me, but ended up filling an entire green-bin FULL to the brim with food, and start another one.

Smelling like rotten mushrooms, I was told it was the end of my shift and gathered my stuff to go, including the grocery bag full of random stuff. I was so happy. This was so awesome... it was going to be worth it to sort through that foul shit. What a great reward. I even told the guy working there (he works in the offices mostly- as does everyone, I was the ONLY ONE in the warehouse the entire time... everyone was in their freakin' armchairs twittering and gossiping) how awesome it was I was going to take this to my friends community house.

"What? Nothing can leave the premises. It's grounds for dismissal. That should have been the first thing Nicole (the volunteer admin) told you."

"Well... .... ... she didn't... So I guess I ... can't take... this with me? Should I... just... leave it here? Put in the fridge...?

"Yeah... give it to me and I'll put it away... Bye, see you next week."

"Yeah... sure..."

HNNNG. I should have not gotten my hopes so up. Was my own fault, I guess. CLEARLY all that food that I 'rescued' can NOT be sent to any 'agencies' (I shortened the conversation, he mentioned "We have 20 agencies waiting on our list". The way he said it was so condescending, as well. There is no way they can send a single peach, a couple peppers, a mushroom to any 'agency'. It is going to go straight back into the compost and go to waste. What a fucking was of my time. What a waste of food that could've been used... So many unopened packages of mushroom, so many apples, so many things of coleslaw, lettuce, SO MUCH STUFF I THREW AWAY IN THE COMPOST TODAY. What a stupid, stupid system.

Sigh. I mean, I totally understand. They have to have a 'system' to make it work, but all that wasted food slips through the cracks. What kind of protocol is it that I can't take stuff that I was going to throw out? It makes sense and at the same time it's painfully stupid. I can't be part of an organization like that... It's just not me, you know? I can't bear to see that waste, and I don't want to fucking mop, sweep, sort rotten veggies or clean washrooms anymore. Maybe that's what they do at all volunteer places- give people the shitty jobs that they don't want to do. I guess I will have to find out.

Seeing all that go to waste is depressing... Personally, I need to be on the side where I am enabling people to help themselves (ie giving my friends food), not in the warehouse sorting shit that they couldn't deal with.

But maybe that's just me.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Starving Man's Diet Book

First day volunteering at "Second Harvest" today. It was just me and two other guys, one who's uncle works there as a trucker, and one older fellow who's been volunteering there a year and a half named Jim. Jim used to be homeless. He said that when he was, he visited the food bank and waited for all the women and children to go first. In the end, he would only get rice pretty much. He's a really sweet and quirky old fellow.

Anyway, this gave me an idea to create a sort of "Starving Man's" cook book. I want to take the "food bank" diet and make a recipe book out of that. I also want to look at the kind of food available in developing and less developed countries and create some recopies out of those. Lastly, perhaps a look at the native population in Canada, what kind of food they eat, maybe a "survivor man" diet of sorts. Any other ideas? I was thinking making it a "Weight Loss" book, but I think that is a little too politically incorrect...

During volunteering today, I spent an hour or so packing about 600 snack packs of pudding into boxes. I never want to see pudding ever again.

Monday, September 27, 2010

My World View


My name is Maus.
I am currently cuddling my pet rat being excited to dream.
I try to be as neutral as possible... I can be a very good mediator. I could be a professional referee, as long as it's not in sports. I try to be aware of my own bias, and have a lot of anti-oppression training and experience.
I'm an ok person, I guess. You know more about me than I do.


I'm not sure where I sit on the political spectrum. Sometimes, I feel extremely, amazingly, completely radically left- you know, the whole "FUCK THE SYSTEM" (or unfuck the system, it should be), and let's start fresh in a new society. Other times I appreciate the Liberal more central position and understand points from the right. I do not agree that tradition has any standing in decision making- if there is something better, that makes more sense, then let's do it. I suppose I am really 'logical' in my view points and try to think of what's fair and what also makes sense at the same time.


How should the problems of the world be resolved? Wow, what a big question. Well, it really depends on the issue. I think the idea of the "United Nations" is a very important one- we need a way to communicate wit each other and figure out how to share our vast wealth in North America with the rest of the world. Unfortunately un-learning how to be greedy is very hard indeed. Together there is enough in the world that if we all work together, we can do it. It is hard with 7+ billion (BILLION!) people to all help together, though!


I think one of the biggest world issues that bothers me is treatment of women and homosexuals. I know, I know. It is stereotypical and old news- but only here. People are so stuck in living only by old, outdated religious-oriented political systems that things have become 'right' and 'wrong' that are no business of the government.
As Trudeau said, "The State Does Not Belong in the Bedrooms of the Nation," which pretty much covers it. People should not be beaten for their sex or sexual orientation or gender identification- and they should have all the rights of those who are hetero-normative.

Time to sleep.