August 19, 2011

The Five Minute Challenge (Day 28 - August 19, 2011)

Peace dude!
Well that will freeze your Grandmother's preserves!!!  Seriously.  Ye ol' mercury dipped to the freezing point last night . . . 0C . . . 32F . . . 273.15K . . . no matter what you call it . . . it was cold.  At that temperature human beings should have shelter.  I'm extremely lucky as I have a tent.  Unfortunately, there are so many people that don't have that luxury.  I was actually warm inside my sleeping bag, blanket and hoodie . . . so much so that I did not want to get out this morning (see picture on left).

Guess what I just did?!?  I just wrote my Member of Parliament to ask him about what the Canadian government is doing to eliminate poverty in Canada.  It took me all of 15 minutes from finding his e-mail address to writing the letter to hitting "send".  That gives me an idea . . . a challenge for you!

Do you have 5 minutes to spare for the poor this weekend?  Good, I thought you might . . . because 5 minutes is easy.  Everyone has 5 minutes.  I challenge you to do one of the following two options this weekend - each will only take you 5 minutes.

OPTION #1 - Take 5 minutes to write to your MP and ask them about what the government is doing on our behalf to eliminate poverty.  While it took me about 15 minutes, it should only take you 5 minutes because I have done much of the work for you.  Simply follow these three steps (if you are in Canada):

Step #1 - Go to WACHOOKANDU and scroll down to the link to find your Member of Parliament.  On your MP's page take note of his or her e-mail address.

Step #2 - Cut and paste the following letter into an e-mail, and insert your information as noted:

I have a question that I would appreciate you looking into and getting back to me.
What is the Canadian government doing to eliminate poverty (a) in Canada and (b) around the world?
Allow me to provide some context for my question;
  • In the 1990's Parliament voted unanimously to eliminate poverty in Canada, but as far as I know the level of those in poverty in Canada remains at about 3.5 million Canadians (which includes 1 in 10 children);
  • There are almost 1 billion people in the world without adequate food, and yet the world produces enough food to feed everyone;
  • More than 9 million people die each year around the world due to hunger related causes and approx. 3.5 million die due water related reasons (which is most prominent with the poor) . . . this by far surpasses the number that die from AIDS, malaria, TB, natural disasters, and conflict COMBINED (which altogether totals between 5 and 6 million deaths) . . . and yet this is not publicized like those other plights; and
  • We live in a world that has the abundance and technology to eliminate poverty and ensure that everyone has food, water, basic schooling, access to basic medical services, and safe birthing experiences for women. Some studies show that the additional cost to do all of this is approximately equivalent to 5% of the world's military spending.
I think there is an excellent opportunity for Canada to be a world leader in bringing an end to poverty in Canada and around the world. The Canadian government, and all governments, should ensure that no one goes hungry or without their basic human rights met on its watch.
I look forward to receiving your comments with respect to my question at your earliest opportunity. Thanks very much for your attention to this matter.
Best wishes,
Step #3 - Hit "SEND"
OPTION #2 - If you are unwilling to do Option #1, then take 5 minutes to think about "Why?".
By the way, for those who choose Option #1, please feel free to let me know what your MP tells you.  I will let you know what my MP says.  And . . . for those who choose Option #2, please feel free to share your thoughts and insights from your time of reflection.
Hey!!  I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.


  1. Just a suggestion: You get a better response when your letter is handwritten. When MPs get reams of identical emails it's easy enough to just delete them. It takes a little longer but it's worth it.

  2. Sean D. Krausert, EditorAugust 19, 2011 at 4:18 PM

    Thanks Carrie. Good job! By the way, my MP is Blake Richards.

    Re the anonymous suggestion . . . You are absolutely correct, especially for large activist campaigns. However, for the purpose of doing something as opposed to nothing this works fine. Plus we're simply seeking information at this point. Good suggestion though if one has the time, it is better received.

  3. MA from Vancouver IslandAugust 20, 2011 at 10:40 AM

    The MP for Nanaimo and area and Port Alberni on Vancouver Island is James Lunney. or
    I have tried to get a response from him or his office in the past without success so hopefully this time it will be different.

  4. Hello MA . . . it's fine either way. If he responds we get the information requested, and then can proceed from there. If he doesn't then I note that in a letter to the PM's office. Good for you in letting your voice be heard!

    By the way, readers, based upon feedback I've received through other social media . . . these requests have gone out to at least 6 MP's in the last day. Good job! AND, if you haven't sent a letter yet, then please do because the more the better.

  5. done the third day u posted...!! it made me i sent a letter then...

  6. Sean I got a response! It is pretty long but I can copy and paste it if you like, let me know :) Some of it was obviously copied and pasted from other sources (the fonts didn't match) but they took the time to put together a response and provide information to answer the questions.

  7. Sean D. Krausert, EditorAugust 22, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    Hi Carrie . . . that's great! Yes, I would love to see it. Perhaps it would be best to forward it to me by e-mail ( Then, I will provide a summary overview of the responses once others are received, too. Yours is the first!

  8. Sean D. Krausert, EditorSeptember 19, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    Has anyone received a response from their MP? I haven't received an answer from mine yet, and will be sending a follow-up e-mail today.

    Carrie . . . did you send me the response you received? Could you please e-mail it to me again.