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Way to go. Culture jamming is a great way to alter mainstream realities.

I've always felt that the CDA thinks that they _own_ the downtown core on behalf of the wealthy.

What drives me nuts about those ads is the assumption they project that panhandlers are all winos and drug addicts.

Worse, the ads are clearly written from the perspective of "Poverty is the fault of the poor", instead of recognizing it as a systemic problem that is amplified in boom times.

Good girl! And I agree with Grog - it does seem like they are saying poverty is the fault of the poor. And on a completely seperate note - I really like that suit!

We've given a little more exposure to your cause:


You Canadians ... see, here in the U.S., we get sent to Guantanamo for shit like that!

I agree with you that we should stop blaming the victims in the case of panhandling by-laws that want to have them arrested o fined, But I dissagree with your discontent for this campaign. Personally I work with the YMCA/YWCA outreach programm and deal with people who are living in horrible conditions because social assistance is not enought to live off of, or they do not even qualify for social assiatance because the have no adderess (because they live under a bridge, or where ever they can find a place to sleep). I happened to know that about & out of 10 panhandlers are using the money they recive from their actions to purchuse 1.) drugs, 2.) Alcohol, and/or 3.) Smokes.So why should we takwe the chance to give money to people who might potentally use it for drugs that will most likely end in their demise. Why do we not give to organizations that will get food, clothing, and shelter and help them get a job but these postes are just telling people to not give money to panhandlers I mean money has got to get to these people some how and it needs to happen fast but until we can solve the addictions problem it should not be given directly to panhandlers * unless they are buskers.

I appreciate your comments, Travis. To be clear, I am not advocating that people necessarily give money to panhandlers.

I take issue with the CDA dictating to me what I can and cannot do with my money.

More importantly, I take issue with the suggestion that addictions are at the root of the problems of the homeless and low-income. In truth, poverty kills people; certainly not generousity.

There are days that I find so stressful that all I want is - one, two and three - drugs, alcohol, and smokes. The fact that people can't even get social assistance because they have no address sounds over-the-top stressful to me.

My solution: Campaigns that are in the best interest of low-income Calgarians that advocate for structural change (i.e. social assistance programs) and that go easy on the victim-blaming.

Good luck with the outreach.


Article in today's Calgary Herald:

Seems like even the "agencies" the CDA are supposedly trying to help think the ads are over the top.

Anti-panhandling ads turn off social groups

The Calgary Downtown Association has launched a controversial anti-panhandling campaign that has upset some of the agencies it wants to help.

One has asked its name be removed from the association's donation website, citing the negative stereotypes portrayed in the ads, which are posted on public transit and in some downtown bars.

"It's a double-edged sword, because I agree don't give to panhandlers, give to agencies," said Stacey Petersen, executive director of the Fresh Start Recovery Centre. "But I don't agree with the image that's being painted.

"To me, the posters are an uneducated, stereotypical view of homelessness that would maybe come (out) of the '60s."

The three ads -- with the tagline "Your sympathy is killing me" or "Your generosity is killing me" -- show people imprisoned by bars made of coins, change spilling from an alcohol bottle and someone shooting up with coins.

It is part of the downtown association's bid to encourage people to donate to agencies that help the homeless or addicts, rather than give to panhandlers directly. The association represents about 3,500 businesses in the inner city.

On its website, the association has linked to a number of agencies it recommends donating to instead, including Fresh Start, the Calgary Homeless Foundation and Alpha House.

Terry Roberts, president of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, said he supports giving to agencies that work to defeat homelessness or addiction.

"But the images chosen lead to a misunderstanding of the problems of homelessness and panhandling," he said.

Roberts, Petersen and Dermot Baldwin, with the Calgary Drop-In Centre, said they were given early versions of the campaign and suggested it instead focus on solutions.

"We encouraged them to tone it down considerably," Roberts said. "Panhandling is a symptom of poverty. Address poverty, address the lack of affordable housing, address the lack of enough treatment facilities -- the underlying problems of panhandling."

Richard White, executive director of the Calgary Downtown Association, said the idea is to get people rethinking how they give money.

"We need a reminder that it's OK to say no to giving on the street," he said.

White said a survey of 400 Calgarians found a similar campaign last fall resulted in 30 per cent of people giving less to panhandlers.

Some of the agencies doubt that the person who doesn't give $1 to a panhandler will send the money their way.

Baldwin said he wouldn't want any money associated with the "dehumanizing" campaign anyway.

Just to clarify....the article is from May 4th

I have to admit you do look rather fetching in a suit :)

Are you kidding me?
Cant you really see what the Ad is trying to say? It is not saying that all these people are doing wrong,and it does not try to discriminate, and if thats what you are perceiving out of this, then that is your problem alone. In a way its an exemplified picture of what COULD happen if you were to give money to people that need it. It grabs the public's attention and makes them understand that it is not a good idea to give people in need money, as they will spend it on addiction, but that does not include all cases of course. It helps the government try to tackle the situation, by using that money that people would give to someone, into an organization that will distribute it accordingly. Im from a third world country and I have worked and seen people take money and put it to such bad usage, hurting their families, friends and in general all of society. So think about that when you bring such strong opinions out to the open. Its about making an educated opinion, not just an opinion in general.

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