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November 2015

Nostalgia Radio We change

lives at local shop


How music touches us


Putting an end to homelessness

Dorothy Dobbie S

pread across the floor of a stifling room, 70 or so people sprawl sleeping, snoring, lying qui- etly, on two-inch-deep mats laid side by side,

end to end. You want to tread very carefully to avoid stepping on a fellow sleeper if you need to get up for the bathroom in the dead of night.

This is the scene that greeted 20 or so CEO Sleepout participants when they toured the Main Street Proj- ect the last week in September.

The spectacle of those folks is seared into my brain. I see them lying there, head to tail, in their day clothes, no blankets, sleeping soundly because at least they are safe for this night. Yet when morning comes they will still have to face the prospect of having no- where to go: just another day of endlessly trolling the streets, and if they’re lucky, maybe finding a grassy

place in the sunshine near the river or in some park. Imagine if it were winter and minus 30. You have to keep moving, I was told, or you’ll freeze to death. Nobody should have to live like this. • • •

Over the coming months, I will be writing about this issue. My goal is to make you look – to make you see what is hidden from most of us, but which festers away in the soul of our city: an ugly, shameful wound that we can no longer turn away from. The Main Street Project is not the only host to these people, although they take everyone, intoxicated or on drugs. The Salvation Army, 80 beds, and Siloam Mission, 110 beds, also have emergency shelters for the homeless but there are limits on who they will accept. The Salvation Army, for example, requires a breathalyzer test to get in. “We don’t turn anybody away,” said Lisa Goss, the

Main Street Project executive director for the past u

3 'Homelessness'

What's in the cards

for health? Will it be some tinkering or real change?

Jo Simon “M P

aralysed from the neck down at the age of 23 after his car collided with a moose, Steven Fletcher, fully and intellectually aware while locked in a body that would not move, refused to be placed in a personal care home, to be tended to as a useless invalid for the rest of his life.

He fought authorities and bureaucrats, in- surance adjusters and politicians, and in the end he made it back into the world. To under- stand the battles he had to wage to be restored to meaningful life is to understand the true meaning of life. My first book about Steven, What Do You

Do If You Don’t Die?, covers the 10 years from the date of his accident to the 11th anniversary of that dreadful event, revealing the courage and personal growth of a truly extraordinary Canadian, a man who made history when he became the first high level quadriplegic to be

elected to Canada’s Parliament. The second book, Master of My Fate, newly released, chronicling Steven’s life from 2006 to 2015, has been written in response to count- less requests for “more”.

Steven’s second decade as a catastrophically

injured individual continued to be an inspira- tion to severely disabled people and to people of all abilities. An active member of Parlia- ment, he had accepted with sorrow the loss of his career as a geological engineer and the exhilaration of canoeing and kayaking in Can- ada’s wilderness. (Steven was an outstanding athlete, twice Manitoba’s kayak champion and a competitor in the Canada Games.) Clamber- ing around rocks and paddling wild rivers was to be experienced now only in memory and dreams. He sought other pursuits for personal expression.

Encouraged by many, Steven began to write articles. He began to publicly ponder a pro- found moral issue that had been long avoided u 6 'Right to die'

Steven Fletcher: finding life's true meanings.

edicare is aging badly.” This sombre assessment was de- livered quietly in the report

last June of Ottawa’s distinguished advi- sory panel on healthcare innovation. One could not read it as, though, other than a pointed wake-up call and affirmation of the concern Canadians feel today about the state of their health system. But the panel went further, in a message that should strike a chord with govern- ments here as well as alerting the public,

u 8 'healthcare'

What I learned writing ‘Master of My Fate’. We need this debate. Linda McIntosh

See page 12

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For Canadians who know they are

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