Lorna Crozier on Poverty & Listener Mail

She grew up knowing she was poor and even today a successful professor, poet and author, Lorna Crozier is affected by the poverty she faced all those years ago. As she prepares, a special Friday edition of The Current on the 10-percent, those often-invisible but desperately poor Canadians, Lorna Crozier talks about life on the margins. Plus we share some of our mail from the mail bag.

Part Three of The Current

Canada's Poor - Friday Guest host Lorna Crozier

Tomorrow we are bringing you a very special edition of The Current. Award winning poet Lorna Crozier, will be in the host's chair for We are the 10%. She will bring us the voice of the invisible poor - people in this country who may have jobs but remain desperately poor. Lorna Crozier has been there. Today she is a new member to the Order of Canada and she joined us in studio.


Well, it's Thursday and you know what that means. Mail Day. We still have a few minutes left to read some of your letters. And The Current producer, Pedro Sanchez joined Anna Maria in studio to help do that.

Attawapiskat Crisis: The tiny, isolated First Nations community in Ontario's far north declared a state of emergency in September. With winter looming, the reserve's chief called for an evacuation because many of the 2,000 residents are living in tents and uninsulated sheds without running water or heat.

It took a while for the community to capture the nation's attention, but this week, a team from the Canadian Red Cross and representatives of the Ontario and federal governments descended on Attawapiskat. Yesterday, Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan announced that the federal government was ordering the reserve be placed under third-party management to get the situation under control. He also announced an audit into how reserve funds had been managed - including the 90-million dollars the Harper government says it has given Attawapiskat since 2006.

Tuesday on The Current, before all that happened, we heard from Dr. Heather Ringrose who described the conditions in the community. And we also heard from Colin Craig -- prairie director of The Canadian Taxpayers Federation. We read some letters regarding our part on this crisis.

The housing problems facing the First Nations community of Attawapiskat are not isolated. The community of Kitcisakik, Quebec not far from Val d'Or has faced similar problems. The community is not an official First Nations reserve, so its not allotted funds in the same way as others. But it still needed help. Enter Emergency Architects of Canada. The group typically helps rebuild in countries hit by natural disasters like Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Haiti and Pakistan. But a few years back, they realized that Kitcisakik - here in canada - needed their assistance, too.

Bernard McNamara is the founding President of Emergency Architects, and he was in Montreal this morning.

Keep those letters coming! You can email us/call us/tweet us or mail us.

Last Word - Singing Bus Driver

We've been talking today about stressed and abused transit drivers. Still, at least one managed to remain cheerful. Yves Roy was well known in the Ottawa Carleton transit system as the singing bus driver. Last month however, they put the brakes on his music. Some of Mr. Roy's passengers didn't appreciate the serenades on the way home and his supervisors asked him to stop.

Mr. Roy says he'll keep singing -- but only in the shower and at church. So most of us will never enjoy a singing commute with Yves Roy. Still, many of his passengers captured performances on their cellphones. We ended the program with a medley of his hits.

Other segments from today's show:

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