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Too soft on squeegeers 

To the editor,

Poverty is not poverty when it is chosen. If you think that the squeegee kids at the Willow Tree intersection are an illustration of poverty, you should read global news. You have a lot of nerve to accuse the general population of Halifax of being judgmental and cruel and ignorant when it comes to the issue of squeegee kids. In your scathing opinion of one stereotype you have created another. I can speak on this issue---I am in the same demographic as these kids.

Your article cherry-picks information that fits conveniently into the completely inaccurate victimization of your subjects. I am shocked and disappointed with The Coast for this highly manipulated, inaccurate and nauseating portrayal of poor Danielle Talbot and other squeegee kids at the Willow Tree. I walk through that intersection every day. There is more than one recent incident of a squeegee person feigning injury in the intersection when someone declines having their windshield washed. And squeegee kids often swear at drivers who turn down their services.

Danielle Talbot has a lot of nerve to complain about how little she gets from welfare. The Halifax HRDC job bank has many jobs that pay more than $560 per month. There are apartments for two people in Halifax that are a lot cheaper than $850 per month (though I do agree that Halifax needs to address the affordable housing issue) but I guess if you want to live close to downtown, then you should aim higher than welfare. There are safe and more affordable apartments than what Danielle speaks of that are accessible by bus or foot if you don't mind some exercise.

I am the same age as these kids. I came from a family with no money and every social issue in the book. I support myself.

It takes everything in me not to punch these kids in the head when they call me a bitch because I won't give them money or a cigarette. That's an offer of friendship, is it,

Reverend Gary Thorne? Bill 7 should be addressing harassment. I barely have enough of anything for me. But I will give my last dollar to the crippled man in a wheelchair on the boardwalk who can't support himself, or the Halifax busker who was beat up and still goes busking with the machine to strum his guitar. I imagine he has a difficult time supporting himself. I'm sorry...why was it we were feeling sorry for Danielle?

If they like their lifestyle and freedom so much, they should stop complaining about it. If you choose it, don't feel sorry for yourself. If you feel sorry for yourself, do something to change it. I personally don't want to contribute my earnings to support Danielle.

I can't believe that your sickeningly over-dramatized front page photo is a sympathy plea for the squeegee kids. Consider the real-world issues of poverty that take place for the majority of the world's population everyday.

By Tara Smith


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