Well, we do indeed live in interesting times as the headlines in our daily newspapers, news broadcasts between inane commercials, and the ever-growing chorus of mini online news outlets wash our minds “with news of fresh disasters.”
Every morning I mutter imprecations as the always busy gnomes of the national and provincial word factories clutter up my inbox with blurbs of little interest. But, alas, a news junky not yet old enough to know better, I scan the daily offerings and, once in a while, stumble over one which disturbs an otherwise comfortable retirement.
It was one of the smaller items in my daily dosage, just three or four paragraphs beneath a headline reading: “One Hundred Days And Still No Housing.” The 100 days being the last time any number of governments assured us they were aware of the crucial shortage of affordable housing from coast to coast to coast and were determined to do something about it.
It is, of course, a lie repeated not for just 100 days, but for a thousand years or more since the great industrial revolution that brought us the welcome comforts many of us enjoy – comforts so many more thousands are denied.
This leads me, nicely, to another breaking news story these past few days that has been attracting far more attention than “100 days and still no housing,” the great project so sorely needed but never affordable.
Pause and reflect on this story rampaging across our TV screens: A story of tumult; a story of bully-boy horn-blowing; a story of thousands of protesters thoughtlessly littering the streets with garbage, defiling the grave of a dead soldier and thinking it funny to make a joke of a statue tribute to an extremely fine human being named Terry Fox.
At the heart of this protest – billed “the Freedom Convoy” – is the amazing willingness of thousands of Canadians to back it with cash, the stuff we can’t find for housing, to the tune of $10 million and growing with every dollar raised via GoFundMe, legitimately and quite openly.
Just Google GoFundMe, and you can find the names of the people who run the show and what they charge for their services. Wikipedia confirms “payment processors collect 2.9 per cent plus $0.30 from each GoFundMe transaction.” GoFundMe’s home page and board of directors may surprise you.
Last Thursday, Feb.3, the House of Commons Public Safety and National Security Committee issued a call to GoFundMe to appear before the committee to explain what safeguards it has in place when it comes to releasing $10.1 million raised for the truckers’ convoy.
The committee says it is seeking assurance that none of the money will be used “to promote extremism, white supremacy, anti-Semitism and other forms of hate that have been expressed among prominent organizers for the truck convoy.”
GoFundMe has already paid $1 million to the truckers but, at this writing, had suspended the balance pending further investigation.
Strange, isn’t it? All that cash floating around out there with multi-millions up for Lotto grabs each week, other millions just waiting for a GoFundMe blessing – but not enough to build affordable housing.