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Inequality on these streets

It is quite disturbing to notice the stark inequality that plays out between Rideau Street leading up to Parliament Hill. Observing the occurrences creates for me, a mental picture that perfectly depicts the rich who stay rich or keep getting richer versus the less fortunate who live in abject poverty. This picture is easily formed as you walk through Rideau street to Parliament Hill. If you walk on Rideau Street, you will journey through many needy citizens – some obviously under the influence of hard substance and some homeless, before you walk on further to Parliament Hill.

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This perfect picture of inequality (not the one above) is sad and unfortunate and the question that comes to mind is simply – Why?

Why is it that just across the road from the Hill where the people’s representatives debate and make laws, there is a street full of a people in desperate need for grace, for amelioration. Why?

Someone once told me that there had been an attempt to keep such under-privileged individuals away from the streets but then it seemed as though society was hiding it’s flaws and thus, not being honest. So, I guess that did not work out.

However, the dilemma here is not about hiding these people. No society is perfect and it is in accordance with democracy that flaws be made known, that representation of members of the society not be selective. The dilemma is in the sharp contrast between the occurrences on Rideau Street and those that take place on Parliament Hill, just walking distance away. This calls for concern as to what is being done to empower the vulnerable.

How is it that on one side of the road, there are people making thousands of dollars and on the other side, people are cheerful for just a two-dollar coin. The picture this paints is unimpressively perfect. It denotes the class struggle that is so commonly talked about across societies and which is possibly inevitably taught in political science classes. It is striking to the mind and shakes it. It spurs worry. I often wonder if the case with downtown Ottawa is as a result of the elected officials not doing enough … or then what? I find it hard to even accept the possibility that maybe ‘they’ just don’t really care. I may resist the urge to make that conclusion but this picture of inequality that comes to mind when I reminisce on my walks on Rideau Street and the surrounding area, begs for that particular conclusion to be the most attractive.

This picture is not an illusion. It is a reality. If you walk through Rideau Street, whether by day or by night, you will see a significant number of less fortunate people, some begging, some being loud, some just watching. Then, if you walk up to Parliament Hill, using Rideau Street as a sort of connection, the difference is clear. Still I ask – why? I do not know the answer to that but a suggestion to this predicament is the need for empowerment and engaging the less privileged in ways that will make them beneficial to themselves and to the society at large.

What are some inequality issues that you have observed in your own society? Please comment below.

Peace,

Chiamaka

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