Rob Hardy / Silhouette Staff

Now that 2012 has finally come and gone, and we seem to have survived the prospect of the end of the world, it’s time to put the party favours and hollering away and get serious about the state of our world. Even though we have lived to see another day, the beginning of this new year sees a whole mess of tremendous problems in need of attention.

One of the biggest problems we need to face is the marginalized segments of our population, as well as those who are in fact homeless. Few really deeply think about our fellow Canadians literally living on the streets, and what an absolute fail this is for our government for whom this should be a top priority.

It may be shocking to learn that estimates of those homeless in Canada count some 175,000 people or more, depending on the source.  We must recognize our responsibility in not having provided enough affordable housing and rental options, at having increased the cost of living by eliminating cheaper alternatives, and in continually denying this group valid representation in all arenas. It’s time we no longer ignored the bigger picture, as we go off the deep end if we don’t have the right smartphone configurations, while others don’t even have shelter from the cold.

Canada has more than enough capital to better acknowledge this problem, and it’s time we face our apathy so we can transition to a higher level of compassion. We’re lucky to actually have the option, as other countries are not as resourceful.

Russia recently experienced the worst cold snap in over 70 years this past Christmas, with temperatures between -25 and -50 degrees Celsius that resulted in the deaths of approximately 200 people, many of them homeless.

As humans we all have basic rights – the most fundamental needs to be satisfied so we can at least have the barest chance at striving for more. Escape from homelessness is one if them.

Much strife is found in how society is being rearranged. It reverts to questions such as who will become a working professional and who will be their servants? How will we view future citizens who might hold multiple degrees but have been funneled into occupations at Starbucks, hotels, retail outlets, or even Walmart or fast food outlets, simply because the market cannot absorb as many lawyers and the like? Should our jobs really provide our main identities or can we be honest and realize that we class people based on their income level and social connectivity, not by intelligence or inherent talents?

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