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February 2013 Free BrantAdvocate.


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February 2013 Free

Local Content Locally Owned Locally Produced

20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime.

- Canadian Mental Health Association


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May 2013

My personal story about Mental Illness

I went through all of the normal feelings people who face mental health challenges feel about getting help.
For over six months between 2011 and 2012 I lived with severe depression. It didnt start off as severe, more like a trickle that turned into a very heavy fog. It built slowly but at its depth it was really rough. For me, depression was grey and humourless. It wrapped around me, not at all times, but for the majority of each day. It relented very infrequently and when it did it came back lightning quick. I threw myself into my work. For that period the only consistent time I didnt feel the grey was when I was working with clients in my role as a social worker. I remember dreading the click of the closing door as my clients left. For those of you reading this who know me personally, if we spoke in late 2011 to mid 2012 I was in that mucky grey. You might have even noticed; you might not have. I hid it fairly well. I was really active in the community during that time, but it was very difficult. Sometimes I didnt even want to get into my car. Sometimes I felt sad for no reason. Sometimes things that would normally bring me great joy left me feeling nothing at all. I also constantly felt like I was letting people down. After a long period of examination and some distance from it Ive learned that some of it was grief from a string of deaths that had occurred in the intervening years, some of it stress and some of it frustration with the way things are. The reasons arent as important as the lesson I needed to learn personally. That lesson was a simple one, but for me and many others it can be so difficult talk to someone about it. Despite all of my training and experience as a social worker and a psychotherapist registered with the Ontario College of Social Work, despite my years of advocacy for various mental health issues, despite my fairly public family history with mental health and despite very supportive loved ones I simply didnt want to talk about it or get help. Yes, though I should have known better I didnt want to be seen as weak. I didnt want to tell my whole story and have it misunderstood by someone. I didnt want to be judged. I didnt want the word getting out in the community essentially. I went through all of the normal feelings people who face mental health challenges feel about getting help. I normalized, I ignored, I made jokes, I kept busy and I pretended I was okay. I wasnt, and it kept getting worse. Once I let go of that fear of discussing it and allowed myself to be open to vulnerability and help, it started to get better. The fog started to lift. The secret wasnt so heavy after some time. It wasnt right away, I had to keep at it but I do remember a specific day in May 2012 when I was crossing Colborne St. and I noticed how beautiful the sunlight was. Seconds later I realized how long it had been since I had noticed something like that, and instead of feeling ashamed that it had been so long, I felt just a little bit of peace. I wont get into the specifics of what helped me through that time because frankly everyone comes to it differently. There is not one way to wellness, but different ways for every individual. I can only speak to my experience. I share this story now because it is May and the beginning of May brings with it Mental Health Awareness

by Marc Laferriere Twitter: @MarcLaferriere

Week. Its an important local event and one we have seen grow over the past several years. Its important because 1 in 5 Canadians will live with a mental health disorder this year. 1 in 3 Canadians will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime. That means you can draw concentric circles with mental health that show every one of us is affected; be it directly or through loved ones. Be a part of the week of activities. One of the things I am proudest of is the amount of material the Brant Advocate has printed concerning mental health in our nearly two years of existence. It wasnt our intent when we started but we received many great submissions from those whose lives have been impacted by mental health disorders and mental health treatments. In honour of mental health week we have compiled it on a tab on our homepage for you to learn more about, and to hear from the many mental health survivors who have shared their story with us. Im proud to count my name among them, not only as someone who works in the helping field but now as a survivor too.

How innovation will end Meat Production

Twitter co-founders invest big in vegan meat company. Its an anomalous, almost delightfully silly headline, just strange enough to make it in with the other fluff news pieces at six. A plot device made painfully cookie-cutterish, the excitement chalked up to a large sprinkling of eccentric billionaire behavior. After all, it seems clear that nothing can really become of it. Vegans make up less than one per cent of the American population, and many have expressed on message boards an aversion to the taste of animal products. On top of this, most omnivores are turned off by the notion of faux meat, thats just a given. It feels like an inherently bad idea, and yet the closer you look into the particulars of the buy, the more compelling the situation becomes. Take the company in question, Beyond Meat, for starters; reports state that theyve managed to create a product so eerily meat like that the average American, and even notable food critics, cant tell the difference. This June, supermarkets in California went through weeks worth of stock in as little as two days. It is also noted that their blend of soy and vegetables, is cheap and environmentally conscious to produce, almost totally void of saturated fats and is on schedule to become significantly cheaper when mass produced, in comparison to actual animal proteins. If all that werent enough, the caliber of investors is raising some eyebrows. Evan Williams and Biz Stone have made most of their money on strange financial bets that have b e come ubiquitous in nature. Twitter was initially deemed utterly ridiculous, and yet businesses, news organizations, communities and even individuals consider it an i n d i s pensable tool. Williams, who cofounded Blogger, created a platform that is still a top ten website. Its kind of an ominous and exciting blend, one that has the potential to set off a storm of change. The hope of the new investors is that restaurants, fast food outlets and supermarkets will see the financial benefits and abandon actual meat products happily for this new product. Institutions like McDonalds, KFC and Burger King, who have long been loathed and lobbied against by the vegan and vegetarian community, will delightedly change, or so the theory goes. Does this seem very likely? From a business perspective, this is where the story gets hot; the roundabout answer is yes. Meat, as it turns out, is exceptionally expensive, dangerous and messy to create, especially when corners are cut. Cramped battery cages, illegal waste dumping, hedgy fattening methods and debeaking are only some of the unsavory yet capitalistically savvy means to an end, and yet with regulations tightening and an Internet generation and inspectors able to see the effects of these missteps (including environmental ruin and possible food safety issues like e-coli from quick and unsanitary slaughter methods) the stakes are constantly on the rise. Williams and Stone are predicting that corporations, facing a reduction in meat accessibility and feasibility, will not act as the immoral monsters animal rights protestors believe they are, but rather as amoral profit-seekers: a much more desirable position in this case.

by Leisha Senko Twitter: @leishasenko

And yet, even with all of this, it still feels utterly futuristic and impossible. Meat has been such a strong North American staple, so much so that the idea of tossing it aside without a second thought just feels ridiculous. More likely, the new product will simply be adopted under the table in key locations and expanded from there. Believe thats immoral? Currently meat producers and therefore, complicit distributers, are doing far worse. The BPI this year admitted that approximately 15 per cent of beef is filler or pink slime, which is basically leftover slaughter scraps ground into a paste. Chicken, according to a UK county council, is routinely injected with salt water, up to 15 per cent is made of just this alone. The reason for these measures is solely monetary, so the idea that an identical, yet cheaper, vegan version might be passed up is looking less and less likely. The last field of resistance will be the major meat producers like Tyson Foods and the large Cattle and Poultry lobbies. In the end though, the numbers suggest that they simply wont be able to compete. The prices they dictate now are already as low as they can possibly manage, with conditions on the very cusp of legality, and prices are expected to skyrocket in the next year. Droughts, controversy created by the pink slime scandal and a real legislative threat present after Europe banned battery cages, wont help the titans of the industry. However, itll leave remarkable room for a revolutionary product like Beyond Meat to slip in. Its an idea so peculiar, so eerily simple and so chalked full of mutual benefits, that it seems destined to make strange bedfellows out of the most passionate enemies in this fight, and maybe even alienate the producers, who until this time, have seemed utterly untouchable.

Meat has been such a strong North American staple, so much so that the idea of tossing it aside without a second thought just feels ridiculous.

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May 2013 Facebook: The Brant Advocate Twitter: @BrantAdvocate

Page 3

Good Thing They Found Out

by Anonymous
My parents found out on Friday. I planned to end it on the following Sunday. I could never understand how people could kill themselves or even how people could become depressed until it happened to me. I wish it was something that just happened overnight; it would have been a lot easier to notice. Spiderman was so lucky. Instead my depression was something that slowly seeped into my being. It was a viral mental infection. Its infectivity increased exponentially, taking over who I was piece-by-piece, until there was nothing left. I was an empty shell skulking about my home. I felt nothing physically or mentally. Help was the best thing I ever got. The depression I battled has played a huge role in shaping who I am today. Learning how to deal with it has significantly changed the way I perceive everyday circumstances, how I deal with my own emotions, and the way I deal with the people close to me. My perception of the world around me has gone through positive and negative phases. When depression first began to affect me I was nothing but negative and cynical but as my mental health improved Ive become distinctly more positive but the dark humour Ive attained will never be gone as I use it to laugh at the bad things around me. When something or someone upset me before, I would begin to hate them or it and continue to hate it but, now, I cant help but laugh and move on. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. I couldnt help but learn to at least try to love everyone around me in hopes that I could touch a life outside my own and save them from the pain I had to face. I now know for sure that negativity does not help anyone or anything. We all go through phases but we can only hope that our phases change us for the better as mine did for me. Even with that said, I can still remember it like it was yesterday; booze, tears, and music. Even before I had discovered what was wrong with me I spent most nights drinking. I would and was doing anything that would allow me to feel something. Drinking was something that broke me out of my emotional numbness. I was constantly trapped in my own thought processes not to allow myself release from my own mind. When drinking and crying to myself wasnt enough I resorted to adding physical release to my feel something formula. I marched up and down the

A Senseless Sentence: My brothers time in Prison

by Anonymous

My brother is in jail, where hes been for about the past half a year. This is his fourth time in jail, and three of those times have been for the same offence; he works as a drug dealer. This always struck me as a weird career choice for him because he comes from a typical nuclear family. My brother is intensely intelligent, charismatic and extremely capable of pretty much doing anything-excluding being a successful drug dealer, which he clearly sucks at because he is continuously getting caught. Choose a new job silly man! When I was younger he was my best friend, and the person that I looked up to and trusted most in the world. At some point early in his high school career he started partying a little too hard and taking just about every drug that came his way, with few exceptions. He didnt earn his diploma and instead dropped out preferring the convenience that brought to his schedule for taking and dealing drugs. At some point through the years he ended his lengthy addiction with hard drugs and transformed into your local, loveable pothead drug dealer. His focus shifted to his sales, his health and exercise; the fresh bread at the farmers market, cutting coupons and taking care of his dogs. He was doing really well until just over a year ago when he was arrested for dealing. Now he has spent a good chunk of the past year in jail awaiting trial, and has been serving his sentence for the past six months consecutively. The worst part of being in jail for him is the communal nail clippers and the disposable razors which he refuses to use, so when he gets out he looks like a sloth with his long finger nails and shaggy hair. It sounds like everyone in his ward accepts his wild jungle man looks because he is forming friendships with some intense criminals with the intention of joining them once he is released. His charisma, charm and naturally pleasant disposition have been replaced by his jail self, which is far more annoying to deal with. I have heard repeatedly from people who have spent time in jail that the only benefit is to the inmate, because it teaches them how to be a better criminal. This was absolutely the case during his first stint in jail and the pattern seems to be repeating now. I fully believe that if my brother was given another option, like for example to make restitution within his community through some sort of work or volunteer placement, then he would have an opportunity to be rid of the drug dealing lifestyle that has been such a part of him for so long. When he was a teenager, as part of his probation, he had to work at a soup kitchen and he loved it! He felt pride in his work, and loved being trusted by the crazy Nun in charge to get things started for the day. The crazy/ cool Nun also inspired him to keep up his hygiene after she mistook him for a homeless man his first shift, something his family was extremely appreciative of. The ramifications of this jail term will not be known until he is released, but the odds are high that he will either go back to gentle drug dealing or Ill see him on the streets of Toronto one day with his big bad criminal friends probably in the midst of a police take down. I cant really imagine him leaving the drug trade because it has been a part of his life for so long, but if he were given the opportunity, or required to do some community service where he could regain that sense of feeling awesome and proud and being trusted like he was as a teenager then I think he could find himself on a cool new path. And in lack of a proper ending because I dont yet know how things will turn out here is a joke: Alcohol and calculus dont mix... dont drink and derive.

Learning how to deal with it has significantly changed the way I perceive everyday circumstances, how I deal with my own emotions, and the way I deal with the people close to me.
stairs from my room to the kitchen until I found a knife that would do the job. When I would place it on my skin there was an excitement or anxiousness that came with it. The blade possessed little teeth all along the length as it was meant for cutting meat. With each tiny pull of the knife on my skin I could feel the little teeth jumping and cutting through more layers. With each little jump I felt the built up physical stress release, like each squeeze of spray bottle; departing my body until it is refilled. Causing myself physical pain for release wasnt the brightest idea Ive ever come up with but in that state of mind I didnt care. I would do anything to never go back to that place again. When a certain someone discovered my behavior they expressed how messed up I thought I was. The man who expressed how distorted he believed I was, was none other than my own father. Ive always been one to try my hardest at things I was told I couldnt do. I always had an opportunity to do so because I have two sets of parents who do not always see eye to eye. My mother has always been my biggest supporter since day one. A lot of moments were harder than others but she always maintained her composure whereas some of my other parental figures did not. My own biological father practically called me a freak to my face as I explained to him why I cut myself and my stepfather would snap at me out of his frustration and claim that I have been faking this mental illness the whole time; calling me pathetic. Despite the harsh words that have been tossed back and forth, I love my parents and I know they love me. I am blessed to have the step father I have and they all want the best for me. Sometimes, their words just provide me ample opportunity to prove them wrong. When you're falling into depression, beings with clawed hands grasp at you, slicing at you. Causing pain all the way down and just when you seem to be ready to touch down, one with a hook reaches out and catches you, the infiltration starting in your stomach, grinding through your insides, snapping through each individual rib, cutting into your throat, and hooking into your jaw for you to be left vulnerable and alone. This dark experience of my life has changed me completely. Its a good thing my parents found out that Friday night or these changes wouldnt have happened and I wouldnt be here.

90 Morton Ave East Brantford 519.757.1800

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May 2013

Inside the Methadone Clinic

Straight up the stairs and to the right. And if you need anything, Ill be outside, says Steve Hannes, the Victoria Park Clinic security guard as I make my way into the methadone clinic for the first time. If I need anything? Im an independent, young student. I eat new experiences for breakfast. I still havent put my foot on the first step. Dont be scared, Hannes says, laughing. Should I be scared? Im just one of over 100 who walk through the yellowbrick door frame at the corner of George and Dalhousie Street that day but many of them have been there before. The Victoria Park Clinic has been at the centre of Brantfords downtown for eight years and at the centre of a debate for nearly two. In March 2012 the committee for the Downtown Brantford Business Improvement Area (DBBIA) released an issue and recommendation paper to the City of Brantford stating their concerns with the location of the Victoria Park Clinic. Since then, the issue has gone to council, sparked discussion of a detoxification centre and had patients wondering whether their treatment is secure. With this in mind, I swallow any preconceived notions and walk up a narrow staircase to find something different than I ever expected: a very sterile, stark-white, average-in-every way medical waiting room. Am I in the right place? The sterile room, lined with stiff, structured plastic chairs has three doors, one to a reception office, one to a doctors office and one to a pharmacy counter. Jaime, the receptionist in loose, teal scrubs calls from behind a glass partition. Your carries are ready. A young woman, no older than 20 rises from her seat and walks to the pharmacy counter to pick up a case of small canisters before returning to her seat and tying up her dark hair. Another name is called, and the patient follows the same regimented pattern. Then another. And another. Its like a machine. Im still standing in the doorway, an obstacle to new patients who seamlessly enter the structured flow. To clear the path, I walk quickly to the empty seat opposite the young woman with dark hair to introduce myself. As I sit down, our bodies mirror each other. Her dark hair mimics my own. Were about the same height. Shes so young. No, were the same age. We were probably obsessed with Barbie at the same time. We probably watched the same shows on YTV. We probably started high school in the same year. >>> I take methadone because of my son, Boden, hes 4 years old. I cant be a mom when Im on Oxy, Jaime Lee Laforme begins, referring to her time on the widely popular prescription opiate. Ive been on the program for almost four months now and this week I can take carries. She holds up the case of tiny canisters, each filled with a 50 milligram dose of liquid, drinkable methadone. Carries? No clean piss, no carry-homes. An older man in a black, minor-hockey windbreaker leans over Jaime to shake my hand. The sleeve of his right arm reads coach. Names Jim Lafleur, and its not my first time here either. Jaime is just one of the Victoria Park Clinic patients commuting from Hagersville, Ontario. Jim Lafleur and wife, Sherri volunteer to drive patients to Brantford multiple times every week. A long trek is not unique. Roughly 175 patients drive from Cambridge and nearly 200 are from Simcoe. We found Oxy in my son, Marcels room two years ago. And we knew Jaime [his girlfriend] was using too, says Jim. I think we reacted differently than most parents we offered to drive to the clinic. >>> Jaime, boyfriend Marcel Lafleur, 20 and friend Jordyn Hill, 24, rely on Jim and Sherris half-hour shuttle to the clinic. Each of them at a different stage of tapering off their dosage, they are but three of the 700 seeking methadone treatment in Brantford and 38,000 seeking treatment in Canada. The high demand for a response to opiate addiction has the province asking why methadone? Dr. Jatinder Singh Dhillon, a doctor at Victoria Park Clinic answers this question daily, to his patients and to those who oppose his work. Dr. Dhillons office overlooks the Darling and George Street intersection where students from Wilfrid Laurier University and patients alike make their way across the congested streets. The city hall building is visible no more than one block away. Its like a constant reminder of the clinics current insecurity, says Dhillon. Annette Fitch of the DBBIA lists the reasons for the 2012 suggestion that the City of Brantford relocate the Victoria Park Clinic as loss of parking, loss of customers, parking abuse, loitering, garbage, vandalism, drug paraphernalia. A full year after the letter became public, a three-part debate amongst the City, the DBBIA and the clinic is still present in downtown Brantford. University students, however, dont seem to share the opposition. I never once felt unsafe and to be honest, I rarely saw people using the services, says Candice Evans, third year student at Laurier Brantford and former resident of Post House, located across the street from the clinic. The location is convenient and yes, parking issues need to be addressed, but Id argue that the university is a bigger culprit [for parking]. It goes against best practice to have this sort of business near parks, schools, retirement homes and places of religious worship, explains Mark Gladysz, Brantfords City Planner. And here we have a methadone clinic right inside a church. The Victoria Park Clinic, like any other business downtown is a lease-occupying tenant that pays rent to St. Andrews United Church. The owners of this clinic, Fred Hussey and Mark Simone have not been silent in the past years discussion. This is a service that needs to be provided. Were located in a central area, with decent parking and ease of access to transit and other services downtown. says Hussey. It would be a human rights issue to relocate. The Victoria Park Clinic opened in 2004. The business has occupied the same street corner for nine years, never moving as the neighboring university expanded or as surrounding businesses emerged and fell in Brantfords ever-challenging downtown. People are tentative to invest here because of the struggles Brantfords downtown has seen. says Gladysz. Incentives are offered to desirable businesses that want to open and expand downtown. The citys master plan is geared towards making the downtown a cultural, commercial and office destination. A methadone clinic does not fit easily into one of these categories. The services offered at St. Andrews church simply dont represent the city well, especially in the heart of downtown, says Ward 1 Councilor Larry Kings. We need to find a location that still serves the need, but allows for growth downtown. Whether that is done through friendly discussion, rezoning or licensing is up for discussion. This practice is not unheard of in southern Ontario. Alliston imposes a pricey licensing fee for any clinic hoping to open and Woodstock zoning laws ban methadone clinics in the commercial core. >>> Jaime fidgets in her seat. She has been here nearly 30 minutes and is now waiting for her friend, Jordyn to return from the other side of the white door where he meets with a doctor. Every patient is different. Im tapering off pretty slowly, but Marcel will probably graduate from the program, says Jaime. I dont think its working very well for Jordyn. The white door opens for the twentieth or thirtieth time since I arrived, revealing a tall, broad man. No carries yet, he sits to Jaimes left, towering over her tiny frame to introduce himself. Im Jordyn. What do you know about methadone so far? What do I know? Methadone. Used for treating opiate addictions. Not a great high. Drinkable. Six dollars a day. Dispensed here. Unless you piss clean. Then you get carries. Everyone wants carries but good luck getting them because you have to be clean. Be clean and have a fridge. If youre homeless, you cant have carries. I dont know if anyone has told you yet, but all you need to know is that its not really a fix. Its getting through the day so you can get a job, says Jordyn, hunching over far, so that his elbows meet his knees. But its hard to get a job when you have to come here every morning. He places his head in his hands. It just feels like I can be a little more normal, says Jaime. It lets me wake up without a headache and lets me go to bed without cold-sweats. The last time I had cold sweats was from a nasty case of food poisoning. Sitting straight as a board in one of the sterile, white chairs I shudder at my own privilege. Hoping to move to a subject I am more comfortable

by Allison Leonard Facebook: Allison Leonard

with, I reach for a brochure on the shelf to my right. Staying clean, it reads in a friendly, cursive font. Staying clean? Jaime laughs. Its not as easy as that pamphlet says. A nurse calling Jaimes name breaks the muffled voices of the 30 or so patients waiting for their daily dose. She is lead by the receptionist to meet with a doctor, leaving me to flip through the pamphlets illustrations of street temptations and how to avoid them. Evidently, many patients on a methadone program do not cut out other opiates all together. >>> They might still use, but they might only have to use 40 or 50 bucks-worth to get stoned instead of spending $200, explains Brad Kidder, a social worker at Grand River Community Health. Money doesnt go far when supporting addiction, especially if you cant hold a job. Fifty milligrams of OxyContin, the now delisted, prescription drug that many patients at Victoria Park Clinic are addicted to, has a street value of roughly $120. If a user doesnt have a job, it is not uncommon to fund an addiction through theft or prostitution. The street value of a stolen T.V. is around 50 bucks and the going rate for an act of prostitution is 20 bucks, says Kidder. Users need up to $300 to get their fix. Do the math. Filling a methadone prescription, if not covered by personal health care, Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program costs between five and six dollars per day. Public health care funds the service of a doctor, like in any other clinic. Though integrated in publicly funded initiatives, the Victoria Park Clinic and other methadone clinics in Ontario are for-profit businesses. The issue we will have is that this is a money-making venture by a corporation, says Brantford Mayor Chris Friel. The Ontario policy to have methadone treatment as a for-profit venture is questionable. Friel is active in leading a committee for bringing a holistic detoxification and rehabilitation facility to Brantford as pitched by MPP Dave Levac in February 2012. The clinic is set-up to continue making money, says Levac. If people stay addicted, the clinic keeps making money. Can you stop eating? Can you stop breathing? asks Dhillon. This is the level of addiction opiate users have and they need a solution. Treatment however is no more than a temporary solution. It is said to supply a steady, long-lasting high that allows for regularity, employment and safe relationships in ones life. Not everyone is going to taper off, and I know thats why were criticized. Dhillon continues. It shouldnt be regarded as an immediate cure, but as a way to stabilize someones life. Is the downtown, in a profit making structure, even the best way to deal with addiction? asks Friel. A rehabilitation centre is absolutely necessary but only part of the continuum of care necessary to deal with addiction. My goal is to open a holistic care centre, and then one day close it, says Levac. I hope for a day when I can say we dont need it anymore. A year after the campaigns inception, the city is facing discussions on how to pay for the treatment centre. Friel notes that the city cannot afford funding the facility despite their lead role in providing partners. This is a provincial responsibility, says City Councilor and committee member Richard Carpenter. The Mayor will pitch the need for a clinic to the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), a provincial group providing health services to over 1.4 million residents of the southern Ontario region. >>>The waiting room continues to fill as Jim, Jordyn and I wait for Jaimes return. The seat to my right is now occupied by a woman in her mid thirties who hands wooden blocks to the toddler on her lap. His miniature hands trace the edges before dropping them to the floor. His mother is rewarded with a large, toothless grin. A man in a pristine suit unbuttons his coat before leaning over to rescue the rogue building block. He hands it back to the toddler. I bet youre surprised to see kids here, and people with money too. says Jim, smirking. I am. Seats fill as quickly as they empty. Each time a name is

A note from the Editor... Our Kids, Our Problem and Inside the Methadone Clinic are two stories taken from the Laurier Brantford Journalism Class of 2013. Each year, graduating students create a 3,000 word feature as a requirement for their degree. These stories are a culmination of six months of researching, interviewing, planning and writing. The two features we have published in this edition represent two subjects that we believe are valuable to share with our readers. We hope you enjoy them.

called and a patient leaves, someone of a different age, race or economic class replaces them. I quickly become aware of the preconceived thoughts I had walking in the door. I am so naive. >>>As noted by the DBBIA, parking continues to be one of the primary concerns with the location. The cramped, downtown streets are not ideal in a high-traffic setting. We service between 700 and 1000 patients, but that doesnt mean everyone seeking treatment in the area is tended to, says Dhillon. In order to prescribe methadone, a federal exemption is issued to doctors who have undergone extensive training. Only 370 Canadian doctors hold this certification. A lack of services and an overcrowding of the widely dispersed clinics is the result. Prospective locations are intended to provide extensive parking in a semi-industrial area, ideally near the 403. Not every patient has access to a car and many rely on public transit or proximity to the clinic as a means of receiving treatment. This conjures thoughts of gentrification amongst those opposed to relocating the clinic. The lots on Garden Avenue, with paid parking and poor bus access? asks Marc Laferriere, social worker at Grand River Community Health. Thats a disaster. Whats next, removing the emergency meal service downtown or placing a curfew on park use? The research tells us that a location near other health facilities, like the hospital is the most logical space, Levac counters. Resources, travel and expenses could be shared. So far there are no concrete plans for relocation of the Victoria Park Clinic. >>> Its as if each patient returns from the doctors office with a different progress report. Ive been guessing with the passing of each patient. Maybe they have made the switch from 70 mg to 60. Maybe theyve tested clean for a whole week. Maybe theyre still feeling the burn of withdrawal in their chest. Jaime is the last person I see return from the white door to the doctors office that day So whats this article about anyway? Jaime asks, folding herself into the original seat opposite myself. How everyone wants the crack-heads as far away from the university as possible? I hope it not about just that. I lean forward for a moment as if reaching for a better answer. Our body structures are a perfect parallel again. I try to formulate an appropriate response, returning to the mirror in my mind. We probably felt the joys and trials of first loves, best friends and adulthood at the same time. We probably went to prom the same year. Were probably both wondering what well be doing when were 40. Everyone wants students like you to move to town, she speaks before Ive even opened my mouth. But not us methadone patients. Jaime, Jim and Jordyn all rise, ready to leave and I follow them to the door. I think the community will decide what its about, I finally open my mouth in a stuttered response. A relocation of the clinic wont affect patients like Jaime who commute to the clinic; how the province and community address addiction will change her life. Maybe if you talk to more people youll know what youre looking for. Ill be back next week, so we can talk then, Jaime says, her words echoing in the same narrow staircase I climbed an hour ago. And probably every other week this year.

May 2013 Facebook: The Brant Advocate Twitter: @BrantAdvocate

Page 5

Our kids, our problem

Shanna Allen vividly remembers the day her mother tried to drown her. She was in the third grade. Her brother had gone to school, and shed stayed home for the day. Her sister, Sarah, being only five at the time, wasnt in school yet. Shanna, her mom and Sarah, were having a bath. It was suddenly likein the movies when peoples eyes just change and she wasnt my mom anymore. Her mothers eyes turned black, her face twisted and she started speaking in tongues. She attempted to drown Shanna in the tub. Shanna remembers being plunged underwater, and hearing her mom rambling angrily above the surface. It was scary. It was like she was possessed. I dont even know what she was saying. To this day I dont understand it. Shanna struggled and managed to bob up, and breach the surface of the water. She told her sister to run before being pushed back under the water. Suddenly, her mother fainted. Shanna was pinned under the weight of her mother, completely submerged with only her lips above the surface. I kept pushing, pushing my body up, so I eventually got my neck and shoulders out of the water. Then I just pushed over, and me and my mom landed on the floor. Stuck under her mothers unconscious body, Shanna told Sarah to get a knife. They thought they were going to have to kill their mother. In the time it took Sarah to come back, it clicked for Shanna that this was her mom, not a monster. She told Sarah instead to call for help. Nobody picked up at their grandfathers house, so she called the police. Sitting at the top of the stairs in a towel, Shanna had a perfect view of the front yard. She watched as they took her mother away in a strait jacket. I didnt know what was going on at all. I was confused. Her mother was hospitalized with schizophrenia; she was abused as a child and used prescription drugs as an escape, which triggered her illness. Shanna knows her mother was sick, and doesnt blame her for what she did. She and her siblings were separated at first; Sarah went to stay with an aunt, and Shanna and her brother stayed with their moms friend Bob. They lived with him for the next several years. Tragedy struck on Halloween 2002, when Shanna was eleven. After trick-or-treating, Shanna returned home to learn that her mother had passed away from what police determined was a suicide. Shanna says her mother had been getting better, was looking forward to her future, and was making plans for the upcoming weekend with her and Sarah. Shanna has since read her mothers diaries, and says she understands more now about what was going on with her at the time she was sick. She says, this was emotionally hard to do, but also cathartic because she got a look inside her moms head, and knows what she was feeling. Shanna didnt have a family like everyone around her; she had no relationship with her father. She had supervised visits with her mom at the Childrens Aid Society, and eventually, when her mom was well enough, sleepovers. But when she wasnt at school, at a friends or visiting her mom Shanna was at a home which wasnt ideal. You can only love the way you know how and he was never shaped into a parent. Her foster father let her have sleepovers, and allowed her to have friends over and be a normal kid. He was really good with that. I never had a problem with that with him. While she was settled and stable in her placement, she was never encouraged or given affection, which led her to feel alone and neglected. Her relationship with Bob is still strained, but Shanna is thankful he took her and her brother in and raised them because Shanna says it could have been so much worse for them. Shanna just turned 21, and is currently in her fourth year at university. She is enrolled in a joint program with Nipissing and Laurier Universities completing a five year degree which combines teachers college with undergraduate study. She hopes to become a teacher, so she can work closely with children and youth. Shanna worked hard for scholarships to pay for her schooling. She always keeps busy, and doesnt like to be, doing nothing. Shanna works at the play room at a daycare in Brantford, where she lives for school. Moving out and going to school has been a helpful escape for Shanna, because she says she feels more free and independent. She feels like she has a place to call home, and loves her situation as it is now. It was when she was relaxing at home when she saw an email sent from her CAS worker for a job posting from the Provincial Advocates Office for Children and Youth. The office was seeking youth to make up a team for the future Youth Leaving Care hearings. Shanna has been involved in the Youth Leaving Care hearings since the start. The team started with only her and three adults, members of the Provincial Advocacy for the Children and Youth office, mapping out what the hearings would look like--Shanna was the first youth on board and is responsible for the programs name.

by Claire Bonduro Facebook: Claire Patricia

job, or try to be successful members of society. Kopczyk and his wife always welcomed emergency placements, where children are immediately taken from their home and need a bed for a night, as well as longer term foster kids. The key to an encouraging and loving home is to cater care to each individual child. Each one comes from a difference circumstance, so will need different kinds of concerns. Most important, is to give them all lots of attention. Take them out of that unstable environmentand love on them, care for them; interact with them just like you would your own son or daughter. That impression will last with that child. While creating a meaningful and lasting experience for children is of concern, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to issues facing kids in care. The Provincial Advocacy office stress that once the issues are addressed in a meaningful way and a plan is made change will come, but it will be complex. In addition to fighting for youth financially, the system is faced with a growing number of uneducated, unemployed, homeless young people entering society. According to the advocates offices My Real Life Book, the percentage of youth who are not in care graduating high school is around eighty-eight per cent. The number of youth in care who graduate from high school is half that, at roughly forty-four per cent. A major issue at hand is how to change these numbers. Education is only one of the main areas where foster kids lack in numbers. When it comes to homelessness, foster kids make up larger numbers than those in the system who have completed high school. The My Real Life Book estimates forty-three per cent of homeless youth have had previous involvement with child welfare, and sixty-eight per cent come from foster homes, group homes or youth centers. More than half of the youth living on the streets have come from foster homes. Right now, youth in foster homes are required to leave when they turn 18. To address this problem, a key element of the extended care plan is to allow youth to remain in foster and group home care until they are prepared for independence. These situations isolate youth, and allow many youths to slip through the cracks. To ensure these youth grow up into successful adults with the skills needed to be independent, the hearings recommended six central and immediate changes. Along with raising the ECM age, and allowing youth to stay in care until they are ready to leave, the remaining four sanctions include: Declaring May 14, Children and Youth Day. Commitment to ensuring each child in care has ongoing health and education services. Committing to collecting and publishing information on how children and youth in care are doing. The creation of an online resource for children and youth in and from care.

I was just talking and I said Its our time to talk, we need our voices to be heard, its our turn. And they wrote it down! Our Voice Our Turn was created. Balancing the project development with her hectic school schedule wasnt an easy task. I had no social life; I rarely saw any of my friends. It was a challenge to balance. The project took her all over Canada, and to Washington, where she attended an international summit to improve child welfare worldwide. Getting involved in the Youth Leaving Care hearings and the Our Voice Our Turn team was something Shanna didnt even have to take time to think about. Being a former youth in care, she jumped at the chance to give back, and help others in similar situations. She says she was excited to be involved with something groundbreaking that had never been done before, but that would also affect her and her siblings, as well as others in care. Our Voice Our Turn is a program made up of only youth, most of whom have been in the provincial care system. The group collected written experiences of current and former youth in care to put together the My Real Life Book report. This report was an important outcome of the Youth Leaving Care hearings, which took place on Nov 18 and 25, 2011. For a project like this to work, however, representatives from the government have to be on board. Irwin Elman, the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth in Ontario, says, We know that the system does not do a particularly good job of parenting children like many institutions the system is closed and therefore almost despite itself resistant to change. When he first took office, he decided that keeping in constant contact with youth was most important. While listening to a group of youth he had a feeling of dj-vu. I said to them, you know, I remember hearing all of what you are saying when I worked with youth in care twenty years ago. He can still hear one young woman speaking for youth in care. Buddywhat are you gonna do about it? The hearings were born. The goals of the Youth Leaving Care Hearing team are geared to continued support for the youth about to age out of care, financially, emotionally and physically. The Extended Care and Maintenance program (ECM), provides an allowance to youth who have aged out of care at 18, up until they turn 21. The Hearings recommended that the age be raised for cutting off ECM allowance and support from 21 to 25. For many youth, this one change would be enough to make an impact because as it stands now, once a youth turns 21 their case file is closed, their CAS worker is reassigned to a new child and the support that the youth has known is no longer available to them. The motivation to change the current system was felt by many who had been touched by it; youth wanted a voice, to be able to speak for themselves and to have the opportunity to simply be kids. The bureaucracy at Childrens Aid Society has been a concern for both youth, and the foster parents who take children into their homes. Former foster parent Charlie Kopczyk says that was one of the reasons he and his wife Sue decided to stop fostering. He was told by his foster childrens CAS not to raise them like he raised his own, and instead use the guidelines given to them by the organization. I said to them look, you need me more than I need you; theyre part of the family and we treat them as such. We give them love and attention and support. So let us be. Kopczyks isnt an isolated experience. Former foster Reen VandenEnden, who has seven children of his own while raising foster children, was told to separate his parenting styles. It just got to be too much, we said forget it. We know what were doing. We have kids, our kids are fine, we dont need you to tell us how to raise them. Four of VandenEndens seven children, now adults, are current foster parents. According to Kopczyk, the CAS is full of well-meaning individuals who genuinely want to help and improve the lives of the children in their care, but they are bound by policy and procedures. A CAS worker who asked not to be named explains, It has a hierarchy of powers that filter down the standards and rules that the agency governs. The front line workers are governed by legislation of the Child and Family Services Act. Another area of concern are plans for extended financial support. Kopczyk thinks that ECM financial support shouldnt be given to all youth, but only to those who want to further their education at college or university. It creates a situation where we risk getting youth who start abusing the system, treating it like a welfare situation and not bothering to get a

To solve these very complex problems, Dr. Ricks says that its essential to come to terms with differences to find some kind of agreement. The creation of the Youth Leaving Care hearings group and My Real Life Book publication is a step toward closing these gaps. From the hearings sprung the publishing of the My Real Life Book, which then led to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services handpicking youth from care who worked on the Hearings to be part of a Working Group. This Group published a Blueprint for the Ministry, addressing the issues and recommended actions to be taken. Since the publication of this report, the Minister of Children and Youth Services has announced a number of steps that are to be taken by September of this year. The Extended Care and Maintenance age has unofficially been initiated in many CAS locations, with funding being allocated mostly, for now, to youth who are in post-secondary education. National Youth in Care Day is currently being considered by the legislature, but those at the Provincial Advocates office believe it will pass, possibly in time for this May. Also, according to the advocates office the Provincial Offices in New Brunswick are currently pursuing a similar organization to the Our Voice Our Turn and Youth Leaving Care hearings, and will participate in Youth in Care Day on May 14, along with the Ontario office. Creating these possibilities required at least some awareness and support from the community. One of Shannas major roles with the advocates office leading up to the hearings was to be their media and events representative. This assignment lead her to televisions The Agenda with Steve Paiken, where she debated some issues faced by youth in the system, and the systems response. She was there as a representative of youth in care, speaking on their behalf and making sure they had a voice in the discussion. Shanna hopes that the hearings will make the government and MPPs listen to youth recommendations and make real changes. This is most important, says Shanna, because the government has taken on the responsibility of Crown Wards, and so they need to do what they have to, to start helping their children be successful. Extended care for youth entails more than financial support. Emotionally, youth tend to feel abandoned once they come of age. This is one particularly important element for youth leaving care. Former youth in care, Keitha Quigley, says if she could change one thing about the system it would be, the aging out limit, because even though its 21, its an important time of your life when they just walk out and everything is dropped. This is why turning 21 was terrifying for Shanna. In the days leading up to her birthday, she couldnt help but think about all the stories she had heard from former youth about how alone they felt. Knowing her case file was about to be closed, and knowing that she wouldnt have the same access to her case worker as shed had most of her life, Shanna experienced a lot of anxiety as the date approached. She says she made sure she was around her friends a lot, and her roommate booked that day off work so Shanna wouldnt feel like she was alone. The efforts of the Shanna and the Youth Leaving Care hearings group havent gone to waste. Since the hearings, the Conservative government has released a Caucus paper proposing solutions to some problems facing the care system. The report, Paths to Prosperity; A Fresh Start for Children and Youth, was published in December 2012. The PC party recommends eleven paths, to follow which will alleviate the problems surrounding the care system. Some of the key items from the report involve reevaluating and remodeling funding to CAS, dissolving the Ministry for Children and Youth, and making better efforts to keep children with their biological parents. Workers at CAS are skeptical of these new proposals, especially when it comes to talks of funding. The CAS source thinks the list of solutions is laughable. She scoffs at the idea of remodeling CAS funding, How are you going to restructure funding? There is no funding. How do you restructure something that isnt there? She believes focusing on adoption is the wrong way to go, and that the real issues are almost completely bypassed. The Conservative government isnt the only ones responding to the changes proposed by the Youth Leaving Care group. The Youth Leaving Care hearings have inspired change in other areas of the system as well. Children and Youth Mental Health plan to put together a similar report to take to the legislature, which will fight to have better support for those in the system who have special needs, or suffer from mental health issues. The Youth Mental Health hearings will call for greater awareness of youth mental health issues, especially as it relates to kids in care who need greater supports and can require special treatment.

Experts say the central ideas behind the recommendations are knowing where youth in care are, keeping track of their well-being during their time in care and ensuring they have safe homes. The Youth Leaving Care Hearings created public awareness and visibility of children and youth in care. The public was made aware of this sector of our society, when youth from care addressed their concerns and experiences directly to Ministry and government representatives. Irwin Elman says, I am told by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services that the young people had changed the way policy developed forever. I am told by the politicians who attended the Hearings that the legislature too was changed forever. Young people demonstrated what is possible. According to Elman, the leadership role the youth took in this endeavor is unprecedented, and he couldnt be prouder of what theyve been able to do. But not everyone is as optimistic about the proposed changes. Dr. Frances Ricks, specializing in ethics, believes that the system has lost its way. We know the right thing and what the right thing to do is. The issue is why dont we do it? Different outlooks and opinions complicate the discussion between Ministries and officials who are trying to figure out what to do with children in the system. These issues can distract from the real problem at hand, especially when emotions are high. We shouldnt be surprised that we dont agree. But we are surprised. And we get angry because we dont have agreement. Or some people get upset or walk away because we dont have the kind of agreement that we need to solve these very complex situations. Dr. Ricks thinks that substantial and lasting change wont be possible without completely overhauling the current system. She says, Thats a generous thought. More likely we need to blow it up and start over. That will not be popular.



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May 2013

The Realities of Child Poverty

Does he know how bad he smells? OMG Im gonna barf. Why does he wear the same thing every day? Cody wears the same thing every day because there isnt a washing machine for renter use at the cheap hotel his family has been living at for the past two months. His stomach grumbled as he stared at his Language Arts work sheet. He didnt want to concentrate. He couldnt concentrate. From his seat against the back wall of his classroom, he looked out at his classmates. Being excluded sucked. Sitting back here was supposed to help him concentrate. It didnt. The milk monitors left the room for their rounds. Lunch was coming soon only Cody didnt have a lunch. His dad had gotten high the night before and had eaten the chips he was going to bring to school as his meal. Good thing the youth centre had a meal that night. Burgers if he remembered the schedule right.

by Becca Vanderkemp, Twitter: @beccavdk

population living in poverty in Canada. Kids es p ecially have a way of making it subtle, playing it off as if nothing is wrong. The story of Cody, just like previous stories published by the Brant Brantford Roundtable on Poverty (BBROP), is fictional yet, unfortunately, describes a common profile that exists in our community. In sharing this story, our goal is to shed light on the realities of poverty. Raising awareness about poverty is part of the poverty solution, and is a stepping stone for seeing greater levels of prosperity in this community. When it comes to youth, theres no easy solution. In Codys story alone, poverty-related challenges include homelessness, alcoholism, drug abuse, malnutrition, low educational achievement, and feelings of isolation, among others. What can we do for kids in this position? Lots. Meeting the immediate needs of children and youth in poverty is a great place to start. Supporting local meal programs both in schools, and in all age groups, reduces the number of people who go without. Likewise, donating time, supplies, or monies to any program that serves the at-risk population is a great idea. These can include after school programs, the food bank, various foundations and resource centres. There are tons of great programs in Brant that cater to the needs of these groups. In terms of contributing in ways to see the legacy of poverty destroyed, simply building into kids and youth living in poverty is a fantastic way to start. Encourage them so that they know they were worth so much more than what they have, meet them halfway when theyre struggling, be that somebody for them to talk to. Just love them. Sadly, if you know a handful of kids, you likely know at least a few kids who live in poverty. The BBROP and many other individuals, groups, and organizations are working hard to see prosperity increase in our community. Thank you to everyone who does their part and more in this area. Were excited to see how many more people are willing to hop on this bandwagon!

Mmm. Maybe they would even let him take home the leftovers again! Cody looked over at his only friend in the class. Austin gave him the look that told him his plan was still on. The two of them would go over to Austins house during the nutrition break and sneak some of his moms booze, and maybe even bum a smoke on the way. With only a couple more months of grade eight, they had to keep their sanity somehow. The Language Arts assignment on his desk was demanding that he write a paragraph explaining his thoughts about how some kid in a short story about natives had reacted to typical reservation issues. His stomach turned a little. The idea of CAS sending him back to the rez with his grandma terrified him. He didnt want to leave his family again. It would only be a little longer before his mom found a job. The dumb worksheet was stressing him out too much. He looked at the clock. Only another five minutes until lunch! * * * Children and youth make up the largest category of the

Living with HIV and the Surrounding Stigma

There is a woman I know in Brantford. She is a proud mother and grandmother. She enjoys making crafts and jewelry. She regularly attends exercise classes at the local recreation centre. She loves to cook curry. She is also living with HIV. Debbie talks about living in two different worlds. She says, I feel like I have a mask on all the time. I have my world kids, grandson, family, and friends, and then I have my HIV world. This duality that exists for Debbie is a common experience for many people living with HIV in smaller towns and cities like those that exist in Haldimand, Norfolk and Brant. The stigma and discrimination that surrounds HIV drives this duality and contributes to the silencing that HIV exists in the communities where we live. As The AIDS Networks Regional HIV/AIDS Worker for Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk, I have seen the lack of local knowledge and encountered the myths and misconceptions about HIV in our communities that compound the stigmas that people living with HIV experience here. A recent national research study shows that knowledge of HIV in rural Canadian communities is poor. A large amount of misinformation about HIV transmission and personal risk continues to exist in places where we work, live and socialize. HIV and AIDS still tend to be widely associated with already stigmatized behaviors and activities including homosexuality, sex work or prostitution, drug use and high risk sex things that we avoid talking about in smaller cities, towns and communities like ours. Debbie shares some of her experiences with me about being stigmatized by family members and healthcare professionals. She tells me that one of her family members banned me from coming to his home and being an Aunt... For many years he continued to tell people that I was dying of AIDS. While this example of stigma is overt and direct, often stigma and discrimination assume more subtle and insidious forms. Debbie says, I continue to experience ugly stigma [from another family member]. They refer to my illness as AIDS as opposed to having HIV and are still not educated about it despite me telling them I have HIV. In the past, Debbie was forced to relocate because she experienced bullying about her HIV status. Within the healthcare industry, HIV stigmas can manifest themselves differently. Some healthcare professionals inch away from their patient when they learn their status. Others jump quickly to put on a mask and protective gown. Debbie shares that she

by Natalie Lazier
HIV and give information on our programs and services. The regional program for Haldimand, Norfolk and Brant is guided by the HIV/AIDS Coalition serving Haldimand, Norfolk, Brant and Six Nations of the Grand River, an advisory committee whose members include health and social service providers, and people living with HIV from Haldimand, Norfolk and Brant. Debbie confides: I am tired of hiding. I need support but also have the urge to help others when they really need it. Breaking the silence surrounding HIV breaks down stigmas that would otherwise leave our friends, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters feeling isolated, alone and ashamed. Debbie exemplifies a strong voice in our community. She explains: I think it is my time to speak up and stop being so afraid of something I did not have control over. I want to help as many people as I can and I want a spot where I fit in and belong. I dont think I am asking too much. Debbie is right. She cannot control the stigma that surrounds HIV. But, together as a community, we can work to combat stigma through increasing community education and awareness, and by providing a space for people like Debbie to speak out about their experiences living with HIV.

was supported by a healthcare provider to access outpatient counseling for mental health care and support but was told, at the same time, that she could not openly discuss her HIV status. It is like I could receive mental health help about trauma but they did not want to get involved if I was talking about living with HIV. Although many people living with HIV in Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk have to access specialized HIV services in Hamilton and London, they also have a right to fair access to other health care services that are safe and non-judgmental, and are provided by practitioners who have a basic knowledge about HIV and are supportive of meeting their health-related needs. Debbie looks to other people living with HIV as her central source for knowledge and support. I have always had a lot of distant help because people living with HIV are everywhere. The AIDS Networks regional program for Haldimand, Norfolk and Brant is working to bring this distant help to homes in our community. The AIDS Network provides support to people living with, affected by, and vulnerable to HIV. We work to fight stigmas and misinformation about HIV by offering education and training workshops to local health and social service providers on

What It Means To Raise The Pride Flag In Brantford.

by Casey Mecija Twitter: @TheBridgeBrant

For the third time in the city of Brantfords history a pride flag will be raised at city hall on June, 14 at 3 p.m. to commemorate the beginning of Brantford Pride Week. As this event approaches, it is important to reflect on what this flag means to the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered/Transsexual and Queer) community and the many ways that this community has strived for recognition and acceptance in Brantford and beyond. The most well known version of the pride flag was popularized in the late 70s by American artist Gilbert Baker. When the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade commissioned Gilbert to create a new symbol that represented the LGBTQ community he decided that a rainbow would best celebrate the diversity of the community. Gilbert Baker incorporated eight colours in his flag. Each colour was assigned a meaning: hot pink for sexuality, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for magic and art, blue for serenity and harmony and violet for spirit. In an interview with American broadcaster CBS, Baker reflected on the flags meaning: Its beautiful, all of the colors, even the colors you cant

see. That really fit us as a people because we are all of the colors. Our sexuality is all of the colors. We are all the genders, races and ages.

As I stood and watched the first pride flag fly at Brantford's City Hall tears rolled down my cheeks. Not for the woman I was that day but for what it would have meant to the 14 year old girl roaming the halls of BCI feeling completely alone."
The rainbow flag and its display of vibrant colours have come to represent many feelings and sentiments

for the LGBTQ community. It has become symbolic of acceptance and celebration. It also incites feelings of safety and support. LGBTQ people are more likely to experience physical or verbal victimization than the general population. It is especially true that LGBTQ people are taught or told by dominant culture to feel ashamed of their lives. The rainbow flag helps to throw off this shame and create an atmosphere of acceptance that encourages everyone to feel welcomed and proud. In 2010, a task force dedicated to promoting the presence of the LGBTQ community in Brantford was formed. This task force eventually became the community group now known as The Bridge. In June 2011, members of The Bridge approached the Mayor and Council of Brantford and for the first time a pride flag was raised to declare the third week in June Brantford Pride Week. Until this point, Brantford was the only municipality in Southern Ontario not to have a Pride Raising ceremony. Christine Wildman, co-chair for The Bridge Committee (a group that works to identify and address inequities

that are experienced by the diverse sexual and gender identified communities within Brant County) reflected on the importance of what the Pride Flag represents: For me the pride flag represents diversity and inclusiveness. It is important that the flag be raised in Brantford because a visual presence will not only promote acceptance and inclusiveness, but also aid in reaching out to LGBTQ members of the Brantford community that may feel isolated and alone. The pride flag is an encouraging symbol of strength for the LGBTQ community. Tara Buchanan, a member of the Brantford Pride Committee, recalled how she felt when the first Pride Flag flew in Brantford: I was 32 years old and very comfortable in my skin, but as I stood and watched the first pride flag fly at Brantford's City Hall tears rolled down my cheeks. Not for the woman I was that day but for what it would have meant to the 14 year old girl roaming the halls of BCI feeling completely alone. The Flag is a celebration of who we are, and like any party the more the merrier. So Please join us.

May 2013 Facebook: The Brant Advocate Twitter: @BrantAdvocate

Page 7

persons overall well being. Much of the programming we offer is for those within the community that no longer have access to creative or healthy eating activities or education. Beginning in January, we facilitated a Poster Project that partnered five community groups and five local artists to create a series of posters that show how creativity and healthy eating are important to well-being. The goal of the Poster Project was to decrease participants feelings of detachment from themselves and their community. Through a series of social events, creative activities and workshops, we were able to give people the opportunity to develop new relationships. Participation in these activities allowed people to reclaim their inner-child through play, and their participation was free of judgement from themselves and from the people around them. Having the opportunity to observe the artists working with their assigned community groups at each of the events was inspirational. In watching the natural flow of creative interactions between the groups in the room, there was an overwhelming sense that being creative is a process of inward exploration as much as it is on outward expression. All that was needed was a reason to begin the process of redeveloping confidence in our inherent abilities. In my view of creativity, what is considered beautiful does not depend solely on my senses, nor do my tastes directly influence my ability to see the beauty in something. What matters most is if it comes from a place of true expression - something that is developed not from a place of expectation, but from an inner place of reflection. This type of creating is what holds true value and beauty to me, as this is where healing occurs and wellness increases. This is exactly the type of process that artists witnessed when working with their community groups. We wanted to give the artists the freedom to express the experiences and observations that they gained working with the community groups. The only guidance that we gave them was to showcase the theme of the project. As you can see from the posters, the outcome is a representation of group and personal creative experience, and yield some wonderful community relationships, growth in the body, mind and self. The artists were able to use their own talents and abilities to create posters by observing people interact with and respond to their own creativity. From my personal experience, both the body and creative mind have to be equally nurtured and throughout this project the focus was on both. Finally, we would like to thank the dedicated people who came together to make this project a success. For providing wholesome and nutritious food, and informative talks, we would like to thank Grand River Community Centre dietitian Katie Haneke, and Lucas Duguid, of Sophias Gluten Free Bakery. A special thanks to the local artists who graciously donated their time, energy and wonderful talents to make this project a success. Erica Parrot Jess Lee Lucas Duguid Sarah Copoc Paul Smith Serene Porter

Heart to Art
by Adrian Beam Facebook: Adrian Beam
In the fall I started working as one of the Program Coordinators for the Heart to Art Project. This project, in my opinion, is very special in its mission and speaks to something I can relate to through my personal experience promoting wellness through creativity and healthy eating. For me, it has become increasingly apparent that these two themes are important to how we approach and reflect on our lives. The Heart to Art Project is a collaborative project between the Brantford Arts Block and the Grand River Community Health Centre. The project combines healthy eating and creative activities to show their impact on a

Illustrations by Dave McCreary. Layout by Lucas Duguid.

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May 2013

Walking with Hope by Martha Rybiak

Twenty years ago I was diagnosed with two serious mental health issues. I was in the midst of a crisis, and although I finally had a correct diagnosis, a psychiatrist I trusted and medications that were beginning to work for me, I was missing one thing. I wanted to talk to someone who had been there, experienced similar struggles and could offer some insight into what my future might look like. I wanted to reach out but no one was there--peer support was not available. I am now the program manager of H.O.P.E (Helping Ourselves Through Peer Support and Employment) a consumer/survivor initiative serving persons in Brant who have lived experience with mental health issues. H.O.P.E. was founded in 1993, and ten years ago I was blessed with the opportunity to work within the organization. I was elated to find an opportunity where I could use my education, work and personal experience. I didn't have to hide that I have mental health issues, in fact having lived experience within the mental health system was a requirement for the job. It was refreshing! I continue to be fueled by the firsthand accounts of how peer support changes lives. People tell me how talking to someone who has been there helps to break down the barriers and isolation that is often a consequence of the shame and stigma that comes along with a mental illness. We don't need to struggle to recover from mental illness on our own. Peer supporters provide walking, talking hope for recovery in a non-judgemental atmosphere. The stigma that so often accompanies mental illness is absent. world, and the leading cause of years lived with disability. In Canada we are fortunate to have many agencies, hospital programs and grassroots agencies like H.O.P.E available to us. H.O.P.E offers a safe haven where people with lived experience can come and attend workshops, conferences and explore volunteer and employment opportunities. We believe that our illness is not our identity, and that recovering from the effects of mental illness is possible. H.O.P.E. has several programs and initiatives within Brant County. Aside from volunteer and employment opportunities we also have a peer support walking group that meets at the Wayne Gretzky Centre weekly. Feel free to join us on the track at Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. We will also be hosting a Move for Mental Health Walk fundraiser in conjunction with the Mood Disorders Society Defeat Depression Campaign. Over 30 cities across Canada will walk in solidarity to raise awareness of the prevalence of mood disorders in our communities. We welcome all friends, family and community members. Come and join us and support our efforts to raise awareness and to fight the stigma of mental illness.

Four to five per cent of Canadians are depressed at any one point in time, (roughly 1.5 million).
The Mood Disorders Society of Canada estimates that eight per cent of Canadians will experience a major depression within their lifetimes. Four to five per cent of Canadians are depressed at any one point in time, (roughly 1.5 million). The World Health Organization has predicted that depression will become the second leading cause of disability in the world (next to heart disease) by the year 2020. Currently, it is the fourth leading cause of disability and premature death in the

Automobile Insurance: A Red Button Issue.

As I am sure everyone is aware from the media automobile insurance is a red button issue. Most of think of automobile insurance in terms of the amount of money we will have to pay for insurance premiums to pay for the insurance we are legally required to carry if we want to own an automobile in the Province of Ontario. When we meet with our insurance brokers many of us want to concentrate on the price of insurance and give little consideration to how these choices may impact us in the event that we are injured in a motor vehicle collision. In fact many of us want to simply assume that if we are injured in a motor vehicle collision our insurer would look after us until we were better. This would include for paying for any treatment we need to recover as well as for any additional help in the home and of course income replacement. Few of us realize that our entitlements are based upon the strict wording of the Statutory Accident Benefit Schedule which is part of the Insurance Act. The provisions of the SABS are the result of a extensive negotiations between the insurers whose interests are represented by the Insurance Bureau of Canada and the various consumer protection groups. The objective is to strike a fair balance between what the insurer's can charge for consumers for insurance premiums and what entitlements a person injured in a collision can access through their automobile insurer with a view to providing sufficient benefits to allow claimants to make a reasonable recovery. These provisions are reviewed every 5 years and result in new recommendations. The person injured in a motor vehicle collision may be completely unaware as to how their entitlements are defined and further how the extent of entitlements is impacted by the many stakeholders involved in the consultation process that results in recommendations that eventually form the basis for the SABS and determine what benefits may or may not be available to the individual who has been unfortunately injured in collision. The consumer and the insurer both require certainty. Consumers need to know what benefits will be available to them should they need them. Insurers need to know what their exposures will be if their policy holders are injured in collisions. While the SABS provide a framework they are not definitive as in their implementation they are constantly involving as they are implemented and interpreted by frontline workers, insurance adjuster and treatment providers, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario and ultimately the courts. How the SABS are interpreted initially at the front line and ultimately by the Courts has significant implications for consumers, treatment providers and ultimately insurance companies. How the provisions in the SABS are interpreted may ultimately be very different from the intentions of the drafters of the legislation following the consultation process. The playing field is not a level playing field. While the amount of time it takes to have new regulations interpreted generally works against the interests of the claimants, the actual interpretation of the legislation is subject to the overriding principle of consumer protection which is of paramount importance. This means that while it may take time for problems to be resolved it is quite probable that the in the ultimate resolution of the the issue the courts and or arbitrators will give careful consideration to consumers being protected. Here we are almost three years since the Minor Injury Guideline was created on September 1, 2013 and the Financial Services Commission of Ontario has not provided a definitive position on whether they will mediate a dispute which relates only to the appropriateness of the Minor Injury Guideline. While consumers are directed by the legislation to participate in a mandatory mediation if the only issue in dispute is the applicability of the Minor Injury Guideline (which caps treatment at $3,500.00) and FSCO is rejecting applications for mediation on this issue - the only recourse is to the court or to arbitration. In response to court actions insurers are stating that the claimant cannot sue as they have not participated in the mediation process. The claimant is effectively being told there is no way to dispute the unilateral decision of the insurer to treat them within the framework of the Minor Injury Guideline. But this is after all consumer protection application so their will be ultimately be recourse to and direction from the Court. The next review is scheduled for 2015.
Lisa Morell Kelly Morell Kelly Personal Injury Law 515 Park Road North Brantford, Ontario N3R 7K8 (519) 720-0110

What the heck is a Naturopathic Doctor? by Mary-Leah Albano

Jane Doe is your typical 43-year-old female. She is married, she has two teenage children and has worked as a teacher for the past 20 years. She strives to lead a healthy lifestyle, including avoiding fast food, going for walks a few evenings a week with her best friend Sue and occasionally enjoying a glass of red wine with her husband. Although nothing seems to have changed recently in her life, she just hasnt been feeling as well as she used to. There isnt one area in particular that is concerning her, but she knows that overall things could be better. One evening, while out for a walk with Sue, Sue mentions a colleague of theirs who has recently gone to see a Naturopathic Doctor. Their colleague, Sue says, has been sleeping better, is far more energetic and her complexion is glowing. Jane is intrigued and thinks that if she can feel as good as her colleague looks shed feel like her old self again. The next day at work Jane asks her colleague more information about her naturopathic experience, and after a brief conversation she decides to book her initial appointment. The receptionist at the local naturopathic clinic, Holistic Healing Arts, explains that all of the Naturopathic Doctors are highly educated primary care providers with at least seven years of academic study after high school, including a four year naturopathic medical degree. They are all licensed and regulated to practice in the province of Ontario. She goes on, mentioning that they combine standard medical diagnostics, including a thorough history taking, physical exam and lab tests, with a broad range of natural therapies including herbal medicine, clinical nutrition, homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, to name a few. Jane was comforted to know the extent of their training and licensing, and that the clinic has been serving the community for over 20 years. On Janes first naturopathic visit she meets for the one-hour consultation with her Naturopathic Doctor. During that time they discuss her immediate concerns as well as all aspects of her health, including past medical history, diet and digestion, emotional health, how much sleep she is getting and how restful her sleep has been. Jane cant remember the last time she felt refreshed in the morning! The Naturopathic Doctor discussed with her the connections between her low energy levels and poor sleep, with her poor digestion and recent stress at work. Jane left the appointment feeling optimistic about her overall health. With an initial treatment plan in place that included nutritional, herbal and dietary recommendations, she felt motivated and less overwhelmed than she had initially expected. She could do this! By the second visit a few weeks later, Jane was feeling more refreshed and had more patience with her kids at home and students at school. Together with her Naturopathic Doctor, she decides to try acupuncture to her relax tense muscles, and allow her to have more restful and rejuvenating sleep. After all, she could definitely use the 20-30 minute treatment sessions simply to relax. The fact that her extended health benefits through her employer covered the cost of her visits helped her breathe easy as well. Pleased with her health outcomes after her acupuncture sessions, Jane and her Naturopathic Doctor decide to schedule periodic visits to check in on any progress she is making with her sleep, as well as continue to work on different areas to improve her overall health. Looking back on her visits with her Naturopathic Doctor, Jane is content with her decision to seek naturopathic care. She can now say she has a better understanding of what a Naturopathic Doctor does, what the visits are like and what naturopathic medicine is all about. Feeling a greater sense of empowerment over her health, Jane looks forward to reaching all of her health goals and sharing her successes at their future visits.

The Derby - Fiction

Alex had spent hours working on his go-cart for the big race that was coming up on the weekend. He had gathered miscellaneous pieces of wood from the barn and used old nails he had found to piece the wood together. There had been a tin of old green paint sitting on the shelf in the drive-shed, and he had mixed it with some turpentine to obtain just the right consistency to coat the go-cart. Another tin had just enough red paint in it to write BLAZER on each side. Alex had found an old tractor steering wheel and some old piping that he fashioned into wheel axles. He had stood back and admired his handiwork and was dreaming about crossing the finish line first. Everything was perfecteverything except that Alex had not been able to locate a set of wheels. He had searched the farm high and low for a set of wheels. He had even asked some of his friends, but they were all working on their own go-carts and didnt have any to spare. Harold offered him one wheel, and then he smirked and walked away. Alex couldnt wait to cross the finish line and have Harold eat his dust! As of Saturday morning, Alex still hadnt found a set of wheels. He rose early and went down to the barn and just sat there staring at his beautiful go-cart. The sun was peeking through the cracks in the haymow and dust was dancing in the beams. I wish this was magic fairy dust, Alex mumbled. And that I could be granted a set of wheels. Alex! His mother called from the porch. Alex, I need you

by Mary M. Cushnie-Mansour

Remember the time I covered for you when you skipped schoolactually, if truth be told here, more than one time! This is extremely important to me! Alex got busy with what he had to do. It was a good thing that Kenneth, once he fell asleep, was a sound sleeper. *** It was a thrilling race. Alex was beside Harold in the starting line. They had glared at each other. Alex could see Harold was not happy, especially when he saw the size of the wheels on Alexs go-cart. It had been a tight race. Harold was bigger and stronger than Alex, but in the end, it was the large buggy wheels that had given Alex the edge and pushed the nose of his go-cart over the finish line, just ahead of the rest of the pack. Harold had grudgingly shook Alexs hand on the podium. *** The first thing Alex saw as he was pedaling the go-cart up his laneway was his mom standing on the front steps with her hands on her hips. And the look on her face told him all was not well! Alex! You have some explaining to do, young man! Alex looked up at the second story window of the house, to where the bedroom he shared with Jimmy was. Jimmy was standing in the windowdistress was written all over his face. Oh well, Alex muttered under his breath as he gazed at the trophy hed just won. Not even his moms broom handle could ruin this day for him!

to take Kenneth for a buggy ride. Alex stood up and walked back to the house. Oh well, he thought, next year. His mom had his baby brother wrapped in a blanket in the big buggy. Kenneth wont settle down, and I need to get my baking done, or we wont have any bread. Take him down along the lake road until he falls asleep and when you bring him back leave the buggy under the oak tree behind the house. Then you can get about your other chores. Ill hear him if he wakes up. Alex was sullen as he pushed the buggy down the lane. What he should do is just push it over the edge, into the lake. He hadnt asked for another brother, especially one he had to tend to on the day of the big race. And his mom didnt even realize that; she didnt care about what his plans were for the day! The sound of the wheels calmed Kenneth. He stopped crying and was looking up at his older brother. Soon his eyes began to droop, and then closed entirely. Alex wheeled the buggy back home and placed it under the oak tree. As he pushed his foot on the wheel-brake, he smiled! If Kenneth was asleep in the buggy, there was no need for it to have wheels! Just then, Jimmy came around the corner of the house. Jimmy, come here, Alex called out. Alex explained to his younger brother what he was about to do and what role he was to play. Jimmy was shaking his head, but then Alex drove home the words that closed the deal for him. You owe me, Jimmy.

May 2013 Facebook: The Brant Advocate Twitter: @BrantAdvocate

Page 9

Life with a new baby is a Challenge

Angela was sitting at her doctors office with her four-weekold daughter. She was a new mom and was completely overwhelmed by the emotion of her new role. What she really wanted was to talk to someone who would listen without judgment, and give her support. She came across a flyer at the doctors office for the Parachute Program and thought she should give it a try. Her first day at the Parachute Program was emotional. Jane Flinders facilitates the group and often includes music. She sang, mommas little girl is Abby, cutest little girl she knows. Angela says, I wanted to cry right there on the spot. For that split second, it made me feel like I was being recognized as a mommy other than someone in my family. It just instantly made me feel better and I knew I was in the right place. One in eight women will develop postpartum depression. In 2012, local agencies including Kids Can Fly and the Ontario Early Years joined together to establish a working group to address the needs of women suffering from postpartum depression. Kids Can Fly recognized the need to support all parents having a difficult transition to parenthood, and revamped their Parachute Program. It runs every Wednesday from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at St. Andrews Church in Brantford. The program began in May of last year to help parents that are feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and emotional. Life with a new baby is challenging and this group offers a chance for parents to meet and discuss their journey, but it also provides an educational component. Flinders is a registered early childhood educator and a mother herself. She has been working with parents and children for over 30 years. Jane is absolutely amazing. I lost my mom years and although I have never told Jane, I look to her as a wonderful role model for me. Knowing that she has four grown children and has years of experience, both as a mom and an early childhood educator, gives me confidence when she makes small but meaningful suggestions, notes Angela. Many women will experience postpartum baby blues the first few hours or days after giving birth to their child. This condition only lasts a few days and is characterized by fluctuations in mood, irritability, anxiety, sleep and appetite disturbances and usually

by Patti Dickie-Berardi Facebook: Patti Dickie-Berardi

back. I look forward to Parachute every week! It is a place I feel safe to talk about what I am going through and the support I receive is more than any of my family members are able to give me. It has helped me understand that I have to take care of myself first so I can the best mommy to Abby. It has also given me a network of people I now consider friends. There are signs that family members, health care works and early childhood educators can look for in a mother to spot PPD. Some examples are that the mother appears despondent, irritable, tearful and withdrawn. Another indicator can be that the mother appears uninterested or not engaged with baby. Its time to seek help when the mother exhibits sudden and or severe mood changes, if the mother admits to feeling depressed or not feeling herself. If a woman or her family feels that she has PPD she should contact her healthcare provider. Its important for women to get help when they have PPD. Postpartum Depression can weaken the developing bond between a mother and her child making a toddler more passive, insecure and socially inhibited. Many families that attend the Parachute Program also attend the Launch Pad at Grandbell-Victoria School. Flinders also facilities the Launch Pad program and continue supporting mothers and families in their parental journey. Angela praises both the Parachute Program and Launch Pad, These two programs have made such a difference in my life.

goes away relatively quickly. Postpartum Depression however is persistent feelings of sadness, the inability to feel pleasure, disturbed sleep, fatigue, weight and appetite changes, decreased concentration, excessive feelings of worthlessness or guilt, recurrent thoughts of death or suicide and can include thoughts of infanticide. The onset of these symptoms usually occurs 4 weeks postpartum up to a year. PPD remains largely undetected and many women suffer in silence mostly due to the stigma of the condition. They are fearful to share their feelings for the fear of being an unfit mother or feel that theyll be judged. The barriers to recognizing PPD include the belief that struggles are a normal part of motherhood and some women may not recognize they need help. The Parachute Program has been well attended over the last year and has averaged six to nine families each week. Other communities offering similar groups have found it challenging to get one or two families each week. While the Parachute Program has helped women suffering from PPD, its not a PPD support group. Its open to everyone experiencing the challenges of parenthood. Each week, volunteers attend the program to provide childcare for the mothers. Mothers are able to have time in the group alone knowing that a loving group of women are caring for their children. That day I mustered up the courage to let the wonderful volunteers take care of my precious new born baby and from that day on I have not looked

Cambries Little Boxes

by Debbie Daggett

Cambries Little Boxes is in our fourth year of raising funds for Cancer Charities, and we have already been hard at work gathering Christmas and everyday cards from our community--this is how it starts each year. We assess our stock (which is always entirely depleted), touch base with our tireless volunteers and make contact with our donors who drop off their cards at our front door, or call for pickups. We hope to help individuals struggling with cancer. We hope for a successful year of reaching our set goals in fundraising, and meeting with the many people in our community who come alongside us to help others in need. Our volunteers are incredible people, each with their own stories and strengths. These people never expect to have their name out there, they never expect to ever have the light shine on themselves, yet they go out of their way to build up our stores with all the cards that we could possibly use, in the hopes that people will buy our boxes and much needed money will be given to help families with cancer. Many of our volunteers have experienced having cancer themselves so they know the fear and the suffering that is involved in the great fight. Cambries Little Boxes began when my father, Marcel Gallant, passed away from cancer in 2009. My granddaughter Cambrie wanted to do something to fight cancer, to eradicate the dreaded disease so others would never have to lose their loved ones to it. She had to do something to make a difference, so she and I made a plan on what to do to raise dollars to help fight cancer. She was nine-years-old at the time. We decided to make little boxes from Christmas cards. She had brought some of these little boxes to our Christmas dinner, one for each person to be placed at their spot at our dinner table. They were so beautiful and lifted our spirits, and when I saw those boxes I just knew that these beautiful little boxes were to be our fundraising project. So gather we did, until we got every card we could find and we began to make boxes. These little boxes sell for 50 cents each. 100 per cent of all sales go directly to cancer charities. We support the Canadian Cancer Society (Brant), The London Regional Cancer Centre and last year added Sick Kids Hospital, for kids with cancer. We thank all those who support us in this work by purchasing little boxes. We are always looking for volunteers. This year, 2013 we are hoping to add 25 new volunteers to our organization, of which we already have commitments from 6 new volunteers. This year we are sensing a different motivation along with our zest to increase our goals and reach deeper. Our eyes are open to a different truth than when we started. Instead of being motivated by the sting of loss, we are finding that Its the individuals and the families that have filled our hearts with compassion, and it is they who ignite something inside of us that motivates us to continue to work even harder and raise even higher amounts each year to help those who are struggling and fighting cancer. Cambrie is now 12 (soon to be 13) years old and wise beyond her years, with a heart full of love and compassion. And when one person in our family carries a torch for something, our whole family follows suit and gets involved. We really must acknowledge our entire family for all they do for

Cambries Little Boxes. Their commitment to support us in what we do enables and strengthens us to continue in this work. It has been a privilege for us to meet some of the many generous people in our community who donate their cards to us and volunteer their time. We have heard the stories of so many who have battled cancer and won, also of their loved ones who did not win their battle, yet here they are partnering with us to help others in need. I would love to tell the stories of each of our dedicated volunteers as there is so much to say about each one, and the value they bring to our organization is immense. One volunteer named Mickey Bonney is definitely one who deserves recognition. She is a tireless 81-year-old lady who collects Christmas cards from her entire apartment building. Bags and bags of cards have come to us do to her efforts. Mickey found us one day and we are so glad that she did. She is a dynamic woman with a drive to help others, and bring joy at every turn. And for over a year has kept us near to her heart. Not only does she collect cards for us, but she also sells the little boxes too, lots and lots of boxes. Each time I am there, she has made a special gift for Cambrie, to reward her for working hard for others. I think that she has adopted us both, at least we hope so. She does all sorts of crafts and loves to do plastic canvas. She has made a large sized 3D Mohawk Chapel from plastic canvas. She lost her love this past year, her husband Howard, which was very difficult, however after a time she pushed herself to keep busy. She continues to help us in our efforts, Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, and she is always there with bags full of cards to keep us busy and a big smile to warm our hearts, and we are so grateful to her. Hats off to you Mickey. You are a special lady and so important to the work of Cambries Little Boxes, and we couldnt do it without you girl! Cambries Little Boxes is totally dependent on our community. We are thankful to the individuals, churches and the organizations who donate cards to enable us to make them into little boxes. To our volunteers who make boxes for us, we are so grateful. We thank you for the numerous trips back and forth, picking up cards and dropping off boxes. You are the strength of Cambries Little Boxes and you dont get near enough praise and pats on the back. We thank each one of you for the time you take to help others and your contribution to Cambries Little Boxes. To quote Cambrie, I believe that I can help change the world by continuing to help cancer patients. Beating cancer is a lifetime goal of mine and nobody deserves to go through that. I think if we all work hard and join hands as a family, we can achieve that goal together. Thank you to all who are joining hands together with us as a family to achieve great things for individuals in their battle with cancer. We are organizing a summer event in August and soliciting as many volunteers/groups and teams to help out with the event as possible. Watch for more details soon.


Page 10 Facebook: The Brant Advocate Twitter: @BrantAdvocate

May 2013

Voting Blindly for politicians who Avoid Issues

In January I sent letters to Andrea Horwath, Kathleen Wynne and Tim Hudak, the respective leaders of Ontarios NDP, Liberal and PC parties, detailing ideas for economic, social, justice and governmental reform. None of these leaders paid attention, or personally responded to my attempt as an Ontario resident to make my voice heard in a representative democracy. I am dismayed about the lack of interest in new ideas and the ongoing problem of political parties that listen to backroom advisors who coach politicians to avoid taking stands on issues that matter, and to instead project an image of popularity and to tell the voters what they want to hear. This technique appears to be working well for Justin Trudeau, who is taking full advantage of his privileged upbringing, his family history, his name recognition, all the while offering modest credentials that are dwarfed by legitimate contenders to become Prime Minister. Riding the surf of a personality cult sprinkled with charisma most likely will win Justin the leadership he craves, but a man without substance and the courage to take strong clear positions on controversial issues deserves rejection by the voters of Canada. A much more qualified contender, former astronaut Marc Garneau, is now taking aim at Trudeau, criticizing Justins strategy of staying away from issues. When I ran as a federal candidate for the PC party in 1997, I learned during my campaign that voters were intelligent and made choices that they were prepared to live with. Most voters are not fooled by glitter and do examine with care the position of candidates on the issues that matter to them. After my defeat, I was satisfied that the choice I offered was considered and rejected, for that is what transpires in a democracy. As someone with a doctorate in constitutional law, I take an academic view of the legal framework of our society, to understand the fundamental foundation upon which our country is built. All policy positions taken by political candidates ought to conform to these constitutional principles. The preamble to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms rests upon the twin pillars of the Supremacy of God and the Rule of Law. When courts cite the preamble and ignore one of these two pillars, which is normally the Supremacy of God, this invites a misconstruction of the applicable and relevant law. It is enough to say that the rule of law is linked to the supremacy of God, and that natural law is foundational to the common law and Canadas unwritten constitution, which has the same force and

by Charles I. Lugosi

effect as the Constitutional Act, 1982. For example, you will not find the independence of the judiciary in the text of the Charter. Yet, the Supreme Court of Canada has no trouble finding this principle in Canadas unwritten constitution. Every proposed policy or solution to an issue needs to have a gold standard to measure the wisdom of the proposed new law or government ordinance or even to assess the quality of a political candidate. My review of what is required in a rule of law society informed by the supremacy of God, requires all candidates for political office, who value conformity to Canadas constitution, to test their positions and electoral credentials having regard to the following questions. Is the truth always present and spoken in complete candor? Are the needy looked after? Are the poor looked after? Are the innocent protected? Are all human beings safe from oppression? Is every individual and every institution held accountable for their acts and omissions? Is every individual and every institution a responsible guardian of the earth, air, water and every living thing? Are all human beings, especially children who are orphans or those in one-parent families, generously cared for? Is there corruption or favoritism or influence from lobbyists or any sources

that affects policies, laws, or government decisions? Are our elected representatives humble, compassionate, and kind, who have a servant heart, and exhibit wisdom in their personal and professional lives? This list is not all inclusive and is representative of the kind of standard needed to measure the claim of politicians who say they want to bring prosperity to the middle class, who seek a just society, or want to advance national security, and so on. General p l a t i tudes do not impress, and reveals only shallowness that is insulting to thoughtful Canadians who can think for themselves. By holding politicians to the constitutional roots of the rule of law and the supremacy of God, we can quickly weed out bad ideas and adopt good ideas that cut across party lines. A candidate whose position on any issue that falls outside the ambit of Canadas constitution ought to do a self-examination to see if they will reconsider their values and stand on that issue. Fairness mandates that all candidates and political parties take a clear stand on all issues however controversial. Voter freedom of choice is no choice at all without being informed of matters of substance.

The Wonders of May, 24

The May, 24 weekend was the BEST weekend of my life in 1969. My daughter Miranda was born. Yes, she was premature and very tiny, but she was mine. This holiday started off with fireworks watched from the third floor of the Newmarket Hospital, while labour was announcing its imminent arrival. Miranda is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Every year I see the fireworks and it reminds me of her fiery temper, her determination, her love and kindness; always giving to others asking nothing back for herself. How did it start? I mean the May Day holiday? Also, Queen Victoria was born on May 24, 1819. Following the death of three uncles and her father,

by Lynne Joseph
This is the time to go boating, fishing, open up the family cottage and clean. By this time one hopes that it is warm enough to get a tan, cut grass and of course plant your garden. Yes, tulips, crocus and daffodils will have shown their sunny faces, but the rest of the flower world is planted to bring happiness to all who see them. Brantford has won many, many prizes for her gardens, parks and even the boulevards are made more cheerful. If you have the good luck to live in Brantford you can have your wedding pictures taken at such well manicured places as Cockshutt Park, under the trees if you are lucky, or outside at the Mohawk Chapel. The kids play, ride bikes, whack a ball around and have a great time enjoying the fresh air. This is indeed the best hope for the summer to come ,and is only about 6 weeks from the end of school. The canoes and kayaks appear on the Grand, fisherman are seen out in the cold water hoping to catch the, big one. The town awakes from its sleep and comes alive. Now we see and hear the tractors running in the fields. Farmers know that this is the time to plant. While they plow and harrow, they wait for this signal that it is now safe to plant corn, beans, cabbage, tomatoes and all the rest of the lovely fresh veggies we all buy starting about July. The farmers markets fill up giving you many wholesome healthy choices. All of this is because of the May, 24 weekend.

she became Queen of the United Kingdom on June 20, 1837 and reigned until her death on January 22, 1901. Victoria is still the longest-reigning monarch of the United Kingdom. During Victoria's life, the British Empire expanded considerably. However, her powers as Queen of the United Kingdom were reduced as the House of Commons became more important and powerful in British politics. Her birthday has been celebrated in Canada since before the beginning of Queen Victoria's reign. After her death, in 1901, May, 25 became known as Empire Day. The sovereign's official birthday was still celebrated, often on the King's or Queen's actual birthday. The Monday before May, 25 then became known as Victoria Day, which is a Canadian statutory holiday. Everyone rejoices in that they have a long weekend.

Down the Mine

I moved to Guelph in 1976. There I worked in a magnetic wire manufacturing plant. I was laid off soon after my first child was born. So, I figured that I needed to find a new job, and quickly. Thats when I went to work in the mines in Elliott Lake. I was a miner for about five years. Working in the mine has been the highlight of my professional life; the reason being that not everybody can or will work in a mine. I once wrote a short paper about the drill that is used in the mines. It went something like this: The first time I laid my eyes on you, you were leaning against the wall. I saw you there. You were so cold and distant. I approached you. Your body was hard and cold. I promised myself, someday you will be mine. Eventually, we got together. At first, I was not able to handle you. I needed all my will and strength just to hold you in my arms. We became one. I became a master of you. We did so many things together. I wanted to be with you. I knew you would always be waiting for me at the last place I had you within my embrace. Then, one day, we parted ways. Its been a long time since we last were together. I still think of you sometimes. I know that other men have you in their arms. I know you probably have surrendered to them as you did for me. Do they call you Jackie as I did? It is possible that they may be feeling the same way I felt about you. As for me, I dont want to go near an eighty pounds pneumatic drill called Jackie anymore. I often describe what I felt the first time that I went underground like going back to my mothers womb. I remember boarding the cage. The cage is the elevator

by Roberto Salazar
that takes the men, materials and machines underground. This particular cage was a two decker, having the capacity to transport ninety men at once. As you step onto the cage, the air coming up the shaft is felt and smelled. I am not able to describe the stench that comes up. It is neither pleasant nor is it unpleasant. It is a heavy smell though. If you really want to know what I am talking about, all you need to do is go to Goderich. I was visiting that city one day a few years ago, when that old familiar aroma found its way to my nostrils. I almost fell off my bicycle from the surprise and the flashback. Funny, some things never leave you. There is a salt mine in Goderich and I did not know that until that day. On another occasion I was walking down Bloor St. in Toronto. There was some underground construction going on, as I was going by the hole in the pavement I heard the noise of a jackhammer. It took me right back to my miner years. After all these years I am still drawn to the news about mining whether it is here in Canada, or anywhere in the world. You know the world is a beautiful place, indeed it is. There is beauty everywhere. However, the prettiest sight I have ever held in my pupils happened underground. You see, the mining industry requires the use of a lot of water. This is done to keep the silica dust down, and to assist in the drilling of the rock. Also, water assists in obtaining the uranium ore from the rock. Uranium is found in the surface that touches other components of the ore. If you think of a brick wall, uranium is found on the surface between the mortar and the bricks. The process of drilling itself produces what later on in the process becomes yellow cake, which is the name giving to the yellow material that is produced in the mine mill and later is used in the different uses for uranium after further processing. So there is always a sprinkler going. The one day my partner and I were having a break. We were sitting on the rocks looking into the darkness of the stope. The light that was attached to my helmet allows seeing light everywhere you look. So, I shone my light on the sprinkler and I saw crystals and diamonds jumping from the sprinkler into the darkness. It was the effect of the shiny black of the transparency of the water on the dull black of the background. I can still see it in my minds eye. What a beautiful scene! Underground is such a dark place that if you were to turn your light off and place your hand in front of your face, you wouldnt know that your hand was there. You could not see it. There were five main components to this mine. This might differ according to the ore body and general ground conditions. These four parts are the shaft that takes you underground to all the different levels of the mine. Then there is the main drift that follows the ore body just outside it. The sill drift follows the main drift just inside the ore body, just above and to the side of the main drift. This is done this way to facilitate the removal of the ore that is extracted from the stope where the production mining takes place. I worked in all of these areas and I have stories from all of them. I have so many stories of my life in the mines that I used to start talking about it and talk for an hour. One story leading to another, the same things is happening now. I want to tell you all about that time. I will contain myself and I will endeavour to be brief.

May 2013 Facebook: The Brant Advocate Twitter: @BrantAdvocate

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Hockey Night In Canada

The early sixties were a legendary time for the National Hockey League (NHL). The players from that era created legends, defined hockey, and now live on in the Hall of Fame. But more importantly to me, they are part of my favourite story of my dads childhood. My dad is the eldest of six. He has all the stories of scarcity to guilt my sister and I every time we complained about not being able to have something or go somewhere. His old faithfuls were tales of scraping frost off the interior of their windows in the dead of winter, or suffocating the Tuesday liver with ketchup. I love his stories about him and his friends when they were just wee lads; dressing up as cowboys and walking along the shore from Dover to Ryerse with peanut butter and jam sandwiches tucked into their backpacks, with their only concern being getting home in time for supper, and of course, the quicksand and pirates. My grandpa documented their lives with his camera, and there are so many cute photographs of my dad and his siblings dressed as cowboys or building sand castles. He has a cute story of when he was twelve, and sneaking down with his brother to the Summer Gardens, a hot spot for bands and dancing, and climbing to the roof. For what purpose, you may ask? to look through the skylight at the exotic dancers that had been hired for the annual Lions Stag. They snuck back into the house after their successful mission, and a voice out of the dark said, it's about time you two got home. My grandpa tried to be stern but only ended up laughing with them. My dads childhood was a time of the milkman making his morning rounds, and summers spent picking strawberries and then blueberries at the farm just outside of town. Six fun loving kids and loving, involved parents make his stories sound like they came from a fifties sitcom. But my favourite of favourites is his 1964 trip to Detroit. My grandfather did auto body work, and my grandma was clearly running a household. They always had enough but never a lot. Being from a good Catholic Polish family, my dad was an altar boy for a very kind hearted priest, and in time so were his brothers . Father Forton, a Quebecois man, came to Dover from the Windsor Diocese. And he loved sports--especially hockey. When working in Windsor he would attend as many Red Wing games as possible. Every sermon he ever delivered was infused with sports analogies. He made sure that my dad always had the equipment he needed to play goal, and a new glove for baseball in the summer. In the winter of 1964, he brought Hockey Night in Canada live to the four altar boys. Jacques Plante was my dads hero, and though by this time he was traded to the Rangers, Montral was still my dads team. It would be ridiculous to attempt to describe how excited my dad was at the thought of seeing his team play Detroit. I could never fully begin to articulate how this felt and what this event meant to him. They made the long trek, and before the game had dinner at the local Parish. In all gravity and sombreness, the Father instructed them to behave, and upon entering the dining room they should immediately go to the left of the room to pay their respects to the portrait on the wall. They shuffled their feet walking with their heads down over to the portrait. As they went to bend their knee to give their

by Carrie Sinkowski

respects to whom they assumed was either Christ or the Virgin Mary on the wall, they looked up and saw a massive portrait of Maurice Richard in his Habs uniform. This surreal night was only getting more surreal. They headed over to the old Detroit Olympia, and sat spellbound as Montreal took the game 3-2. At the end of the game, Father Forton looked down at them and declared, well, lets go down and meet the boys. They were dumbfounded. They thought Father had lost his marbles; who were ,the boys? Why were they going to meet them? As they made their way across the arena, all the ushers greeted their priest by name. The boys stumbled behind, completely flabbergasted by what they were seeing and hearing. They walked down a long hallway, through a door which turned out to be the press room outside the dressing room. And Jean Beliveau walked out. This giant of hockey grinned and shook Father Fortons hand, and exclaimed, Father, how good to see you. It has been a long time. He was one of the boys. Father Forton introduced the stunned boys, and they chatted after shaking hands. Star struck and spinning they met the entire 1963-64 team, most of whom are in the Hall of Fame. Boom Boom, Geoffrion, Charlie Hodge, Gump Worsley, Henri Richard.

Leaving the Habs to get ready to journey on to their next game, Father directed them over to the home teams dressing room where they met Gordie Howe, Terry Sawchuk and the 1972 hero Paul Henderson. I have heard this story a hundred times, and my dad still looks like his 14-year-old self while reminiscing. His eyes light up and his smile is big enough to burst. For me, when I was growing up there was never a choice about what jersey you wore and who you thought would win the cup year after year. But, the story has more meaning than just what team you cheer for season after season. For Father Forton it was just another Saturday night, but for my dad it became a watershed moment that has never diminished in its intensity or its meaning. Fifty years later he is still sitting in the Detroit Olympia when he is recalling that night. That one night has inspired many acts of kindness by my dad throughout his life. In his early twenties he and his friend ran a youth group called The Boys Bunch. He followed this up In his thirties when he was a coach in Minor Hockey, which is often an underappreciated and overlooked important role in our community, which teaches leadership, drive and commitment. His forties and fifties were spent teaching fire safety to our Fire Department. All three of these roles he considered payback for the kindness and guidance Father Forton had given him. That old adage that one person can make a difference could not be more true for my dad and Father Forton. Simple acts of kindness can have strong ripple effects, and can trickle down through a generation and throughout a community.

Photography, you whore

You thought you could get away with selling out to smart-phones and fancy filters, to pre-sets and anything kitschy. You thought no one would notice. The masses love your loose ways, and I have to confess I can understand why. Your sexy appeal has never been so apparent. But, now anyone thinks they can have you, all of you, with no price tag. Amateurs and hardened photogs alike lament the ease with which people pick up a camera and call themselves a professional. Photography, surely, in the midst of your mad frivolities. You see the irony in that? Oh what shall I do with you? They--that ambiguous ambitious group of posers--cant take away our history, photography. I appeal to your sense of nobility, any recollection of standards you still have within you. Do you remember our talks of composition and lighting, of moments and focus? You used to think that mattered. I bled to please your high standards; please tell me you havent forgotten. So many turn a blind eye to your philandering, paying top dollar for a sub-par product, but I know you are worth so much more than that. I appeal to the beauty of art. Why are you letting so many claim to know your ways when they know nothing about you? Why, in the midst of your fornication, are you letting the untried multitude take your name en-masse without a thought of the repercussions, when they produce nothing of worth?

by Layne Becker Grime

Photography! It is beneath you. I love you, and seeing you degraded so makes my heart ache within me. I remember the smell of your chemicals. Snap the film into the silver canister and swish, swish, swish, tap, tap. Waiting, watching, fixing. The images neighbored in a negative row, one beside the other, neatly spinning. My jeans wore the stains of our love for years. How vividly I recall our cold night hours in the darkroom with the stereo sweetly singing, our only company. A bit of contrast, carefully exposed, dipping the paper into the developer neatly. Like poetry in motion the images appear one by one as the hours tick on. Faces, moments, a bit of history stamped permanently on a thick piece of photo paper. This is why I bleed; this is why I care. Its just so damn beautiful.

Photography, I remember your past, our past, and I will not let you pass me by. You are mine and Im yours. Weve made a pact and I will see you through to the blessed end. You can sell all your shiny bits to every passing Jenny, but then we shall laugh together behind closed hands. It will be ours to keep that they do not know your secrets or understand your ways. You may be loose, but there are some depths to you that only a few know. I am grateful you have allowed me to study all your intimate pieces. Oh Photography, we have come so far. Lets go a bit further still; I ache to know you more. Oh how I dream of the beauty we can create together.

Said the Self, to the Self

What is it, say we, as they state, in the one. While at peace in the thought, then the thought turns to naught. Their resting in the chair, with the two theyre as one. On meeting pure bliss, peace all as one. So there in our moment, when self and self joined, Believing together, that Logic be scorned. Stating together the Kingdom is false, logic is missing a phase. Wronged by a phantom, and harmed by its tooth, Quite happy together at lasting rebirth. Not by the spirit, and not by a faith, Said we there together, quite happy while late. All of your history, tied to the winner, their it is written in a book. All of the faiths, illogical verbs, twisting and shouting Greek names. Twas peace there at last, for the self and the self, As they left the kingdom of man. Its peaceful a place, when your knowing as one, The self and the self there as one, for then they did know that theyre guilty of none. They trudged through the kingdom of man. With the radio on, they could hear it quite plain, Then silently a mist came into sight. Though wrapped in a glow they could feel such a love, no word can ever be told, not a sound could be heard in the silence of love, as they were covered with wings from above. As deeper they fell in the sea like a dove, the gentlest voice as a harp, Came onto the scene and stated serene, all forgiven, with love from above.

by Herb Harker

There be dressed as a Monk, with long flowing robes of sackcloth, and staff in his hand. He bid me ado and the sound did appear, from the radio their on the stand. Alas in a week, as self ruled the day, and self be dragged here and there. Calamity strikes, and the self be alone, to ponder all that was grey. while mangled and crippled and filled with the nipple of morphine streaming in vein, As pain be insane, when four bones of the flesh are tattered and broken right through. Too much, be the death, of the self their inside, then the self is left there alone. Staring at self as it lay there alone; no pain could be felt from the self. Twas shown to the self, that the self of the man was gone, and it be alone. So Easter is gone, and what have you learned? As you trudge through the kingdom of man. Spiritual logic states all should be bound, and then bound for twenty odd year. Then the kingdom of man is held in the sway, as it rules with iron and clay. Logic would state that it balance the take, for the rich, and the poor, and the mute. Then spiritual logic is far from the poles, of the atoms that silently weep, In the form of a child, tis the self there inside, that the self so skillfully scorns. The self and the self becoming as one, to be found by vision outside. Wisdom be her, and she gives her all, when two are set here as one. And remember the spirit behind the closed veil, as you travel the highway alone. Shes watching and waiting and guiding the path, the self said it made, all alone. Such lady of grace, with the patience of space, which surround her with diamonds and pearls. A far better wife than the harlot of vice, that dwells in the kingdom of man. When we thought we knew all, she gave us a call, as we sat in our own logic light. Then split from above, in a second of love, to show that we didnt squat. There wisdom be watching and bringing such love, that a man could soon leave his wife. For the place of this God is better by far, than the promise of the kingdom of earth.



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